Cara Silletto

Now that most of us have given up on our initial New Year’s resolutions, perhaps it’s time to set some more realistic expectations for the year. Don’t worry; we can do it together.

At this exact moment, our staff at every level are so incredibly overloaded, overwhelmed, overburdened and over everything. Now’s a good time to stop and take a look at the situation from their perspective.

Over the past few months, while staffing challenges have heightened, we’ve worked with several leadership teams to prioritize their retention efforts, and it’s come to my attention that what is on fire on their plates as managers tends to get the most attention at any given time. And while all the managers we know are doing the absolute best they can in this chaos, more staff continue to leave because they don’t feel the managers truly care about them. They don’t have time to show it.

Because this is so pervasive, we’ve been asking leaders from coast to coast to put themselves in the staff’s shoes and consider whether their team members would agree or disagree with these ten statements right now. Not three months ago, but right now.

Get ready! It’s your turn to take this mini retention audit.

Your Mini-Retention Audit

How would staff score the following on a scale from 1 (Disagree) to 5 (Agree) right now?

1. Our staff feel their managers are effectively communicating.

2. Our staff feel our onboarding is effective.

3. Our staff trust one another.

4. Our staff feel their workloads are manageable.

5. Our staff feel our managers listen to their team members. 

6. Our staff feel they are given flexibility with their schedules.

7. Our staff feel their compensation is appropriate for their current role and responsibilities.

8. Our staff feel their managers are adequately trained for their current leadership roles. 

9. Our staff feel advancement opportunities within the organization are accessible within a reasonable time frame.

10. Our staff feel the organization’s technology (hardware & software) is sufficient for their needs.

Anything stand out at you as what might be pushing new hires or seasoned staff away on a daily basis because it’s not scoring well on your campus?

How’d you score?

Before we go into scoring results, we are well aware that depending upon your role within the organization, some of these areas of the business are within your control, and some are not. Executives must reassess compensation and technology, for example, while managers must work to stay connected with their staff to understand and mitigate the day-to-day frustrations. Don’t point fingers, just do what you can do.

If you scored 40-50 total points with mostly 4s and 5s, you’re in a very good place right now compared to others. Or you are an uber optimist who only sees the good from your seat, and it may be time to talk to your people more often to hear how they are really feeling.

If you scored 30-39 total points, you likely had a fairly realistic combination of scores ranging from 1-5. At this point, you can either choose to work toward making the lowest 1-2 scores not so low, or you could try raising the middle 3-4 scores higher if the low ones are out of reach at the moment. With your plate so full, quickly think about just two items within your control that could be improved from this list with minimal effort. Those are now your small-step priorities that can make a big difference. And you likely already know how to fix them; they’ve just fallen onto your back burner and haven’t been given the attention they need.

If you scored 29 or lower, it’s time to solicit (or demand) help. How can you possibly prioritize when all these areas are mediocre at best? 

For those who like benchmarks, most individual leaders we’ve audited in the last four months have scored 22-35 and we see that range even among leaders who serve on the same campus. Managers can make the difference.

What now?

In our last McKnight’s article, “Down at Halftime: Immediately Actionable Retention Strategies,” we shared how critically important communicating your expectations and appreciating any job well done are for making staff feel more seen and heard, and to make them more effective in their more difficult roles. Hopefully, you’ve already been working on those two strategies this past few weeks. 

Your new micro-challenge this month is to review your mini audit scores and work to make just minor improvements that can make a big difference to your staff. 

Workforce thought leader Cara Silletto, MBA, CSP, works with organizations of all sizes to reduce unnecessary employee turnover by bridging generational gaps and making managers more effective in their roles. She is the author of the book, Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave & How to Keep Them Longer.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.