One of the most common human resources challenges faced by assisted living facilities is that of high employee turnover. According to Dr. Kimberly Perkins, writing for the Houston Chronicle, assisted living facilities often witness high turnover rates due to the demands of the job, which can be both physical and emotional in nature. Furthermore, pay for caregivers in assisted living facilities tends to be on the low side, compounding stress and employee burnout.

High turnover rates carry a number of negative consequences for assisted living facilities: The problem can be costly, in terms of both staff morale and the bottom line. Indeed, according to an article from David Peasall, writing for McKnight’s, research has indicated that the cost of replacing just one employee can amount to around at least $2,500, if not more. Consequently, it is in the best interest of all assisted living facilities to take steps to curb high employee turnover.

If your assisted living facility is struggling with this issue, you’ll be pleased to know that there are steps you can take to help remedy the issue. Read on to learn more about some of the most effective approaches.

1. Promote a culture of respect
According to an article from Fortune magazine, one of the major reasons why people leave their jobs is due to a dislike of their managers. It is common for staff to feel as though they are being spoken down to, treated without respect, unfairly reprimanded and so on. It is important, therefore, to take steps to ensure that negative employee-manager relationships do not form in your assisted living facility. As explained by Susan M. Heathfield, writing for The Balance, this means training managers to treat junior employees with compassion and respect at all times. It also involves listening to staff members – encourage staff members to open up about any work-related issues they may be having and then help by implementing tangible solutions. If workers feel as though they can reach out to upper management with questions, concerns or grievances, they’ll be less likely to leave their roles.

Finding ways to keep employees engaged is key.
Finding ways to keep employees engaged is key.Finding ways to keep employees engaged is key.

2. Hire carefully
An effective way to reduce staff turnover is to pay more attention to the hiring process, an article from The Wall Street Journal explained. If you take extra steps to ensure that you have the very best candidate, both in terms of skills and personality, you’ll lessen the risk of that employee leaving. Paying more attention to hiring involves crafting a perfect job description, conducting more than one interview with prospective clients and ensuring that you ask candidates the most effective interview questions. Putting in extra time and effort at this important stage can help save you money and headaches in the long run. It’s also important to keep in mind that an HR outsourcing company such as AlphaStaff can handle this crucial task for you, cost-effectively, if your team is unable to find the time.

3. Create goals
Setting clear and achievable goals for all staff members is an effective way to keep them focused and dedicated to the tasks at hand. But as Emily Study explained, writing for Senior Housing News, goals are only effective if employees receive acknowledgement when they meet them. After all, as detailed, a major contributor to low staff morale and high turnover is a feeling of not being appreciated among staff members. Study interviewed a training specialist at an assisted living facility, Kristi Terronez, who elaborated on this important point.

“A lot of times what we hear is, ‘I love working with the residents.’ The employees feel their work is meaningful to the residents but not necessarily in the eyes of their leaders,” she explained. “So opening up those communication lines and having it really start with the leader letting them know that they’re supporting their goals is key.”

There are a number of ways to reduce employee turnover at your assisted living facility.

There are a number of ways to reduce employee turnover at your assisted living facility. There are a number of ways to reduce employee turnover at your assisted living facility.

4. Help employees manage work load
If your employees feel overworked and you continue to pile on additional responsibilities, it can quickly lead to burn out. That’s why communication is again key. Dorie Clark, writing for The Huffington Post, advised communicating with your staff regularly and asking them if they need help managing their workloads in terms of priority. With open communication between you and your staff, you’ll notice that your team is able to achieve more with less stress.

5. Try to be flexible
A major contributing factor to employees stress and unhappiness is the feeling of a poor work-life balance, involving long-hours at irregular times. Given the assisted living facilities require staff round the clock, offering your workers flexibility to make their own hours can be a challenge that seems virtually impossible. While it’s true that you won’t be able to afford your staff the flexibility and freedom that is available in other industries – as Heathfield explained, flexible start times and end times are possible in some work settings – it is still important to try and be as accommodating as possible, to show your employees that you respect their lives outside of work. Perhaps this means offering a rota wherein staff work only alternate weekends and only a set amount of holidays.

6. Offer room for growth
It is common for employees to leave roles if they feel as though there isn’t room for professional growth – they want positions where they can learn more and work their way up the professional ladder, Study detailed. Be sure to open up paths for advancement for all junior workers, as well as offering routine training to help employees learn new things and consolidate their skills. If your staff members are able to see that you care about their education and professional growth, they’ll be more inclined to stay and invest time in your organization.

7. Offer room for socializing
Don’t underestimate the power of a staff lunch or after work drinks to strengthen professionals bonds and improve morale. As The Wall Street Journal explained, a more social atmosphere can improve organizational culture and help retain employees, as your staff will actually look forward to coming into work.