Workforce Crisis: A Sign of the Times and Real-World Advice

10/19/2022 Written by: Marcus Pitts and Nicole Taylor

As we know, communities nationwide are struggling to hire and maintain full staffing levels for numerous reasons. Communities are experiencing significant turnover, more so than pre-pandemic and these issues are not going away anytime soon. 

How do we get in front of this accelerating problem and begin to slow the revolving door? Competitive wages are a common answer, but are they enough? One may think another answer is vision casting - sharing your goal or mission and sharing it often. This is a simple and tried true approach; a mission statement is a good starting point, but the discussion should not stop there. It’s more imperative than ever to create collaboration and broaden our focus on culture in the workplace, place value on employees, and invite inclusion. Culture is a shared experience and it’s the tacit social order of an organization. The workforce culture at large is pushing for more empowerment, autonomy, and transparency. 

New prospects are at an advantage in today's workplace market. They are weighing and evaluating options and reacting to whether the culture is empathetic of employee needs. This idea of well-being relates to all aspects of working life, from the quality and safety of the physical environment, to how staff feels about their work, their working environment, and the organization. Managers and administrators need to prioritize their team’s well-being and create an environment that is not only competitive in the marketplace but elevates the employee’s experience and allows for long-term development. In this day in age, this means doing some deconstruction of our prior mindset that promotes the individual contributor over collaboration and teaming systems.  

Consider Bill Campbell, affectionately named a “Coach of Silicon Valley” who collaborated with some great entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Jack Dorsey, and rejected the idea of “command-and-control” leadership. He’s quoted as saying, “Your title makes you a manager; your people make you a leader.” The real challenge... managers and staff members don't always know what it looks like to go from being an individual contributor to collaborating and teaming. It requires taking a healthy look at ourselves and letting go of our egos to adopt new behaviors and habits.  


Lead the Way… 

Managers and Administrators Build Trust: Get to know each employee. Let them know you. Holistically care and invest time in them to learn their goals. The time commitment of doing this can be challenging in today's environment, but consider the time saved in retaining even a single employee. Rewards almost always outweigh the cost when time is invested in an individual, and the positive work environment they create can inspire more outcomes. 

Set People Up for Success: Assign members to items that align with their interests and motivations. This is inspiring, energizing, and invites born leaders to pursue leadership opportunities. Find opportunities for collaboration by including different employees of different levels in projects. Accident reviews and safety committees are an example, maximize the value of these processes and build in a team effort.

Upscale and Cross-Training: Look for opportunities to promote from within. Provide opportunities for additional education or ways to develop skills. Methodically planning development plays a role in succession and staff retention. Cross-training activities across various roles promotes leadership and builds-in necessary supports in challenging times. 

Promote an Incentive Culture: Get creative in benefit perks and ask your teams what is best for them. Consider gas and grocery cards, day care options, transportation, etc., positive recognition on social media networks, or real-time rewards for good work or contributions toward set goals. Consider earned opportunities for paid time off or employee appreciation functions.

The beauty of it all, no one person has to attack this alone. Your employees have a wealth of knowledge and many ideas. Solicit their thoughts and provide the opportunity of a trusted space and ear. Vulnerability and empathy are fundamental skills in understanding someone else’s perspective. It's not only broadcasting your mission statement that will retain employees, it's demonstrating, empowering, and delivering the message that your employees matter and are part of a collaborative team. 


Our Senior Living team of experts is here to assist with your goals and needs, including helping to retain staff and other solutions. Contact us today to learn more.

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