Skilled nursing lags senior care in employee engagement, Fortune magazine research finds

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Employees in senior care facilities are more engaged than their skilled nursing counterparts, an indicator of potential future success, according to initial research into Great Place to Work applicants.

The senior care composite average benchmark is 77 (out of 100), while SNFs scored 75. 

When further carved out, skilled nursing employees in majority-skilled nursing facilities (77) lead those in continuing care retirement communities (75) in positive workplace perception. Skilled nursing workers in other settings pulled down the overall skilled average, noted Jacqueline Kung, Ph.D., the CEO of Activated Insights, which has overseen data collection for Great Places to Work and Fortune magazine.

“This is a score that's been shown through lots and lots of research as being both co-relative and predictive of organizational performance,” Kung told McKnight's. “It relates to revenue growth, lower workers comp injuries and higher customer satisfaction scores.”

Overall, she said, the numbers are good for SNFs, which registered both some of the highest and lowest scores at the individual employer level. The tabulations are part of the first-ever “Best Workplaces for Aging Services” list to be published by Fortune on Sept. 27.

Aging services' average composite score for its top performers is expected to be closer to the national benchmark of 86 for Fortune's Best 100 Companies to Work For, Kung observed.

Employers vying for a spot on the aging services list had their employees take Trust Index surveys from November until June 18. This month, data analysts are running results through algorithms that have been used on other Fortune “Best Places to Work” lists, Kung explained. Finalists will be notified in mid-August so they can prepare media and marketing materials, but they will not know their specific list standing until Sept. 27. A wide gamut of aging services employers, not just those in long-term care or senior care, are eligible.

Kung said skilled nursing operators from 37 states took part, blowing away her personal forecast. Overall, senior care operators in 46 states, plus the District of Columbia, took part in the process. About 150,000 employees filled out a 75-item survey gauging how they viewed their workplace, giving Kung and her team a rich body of research.

“There have been so many regulatory pressures, and the number of SNF beds has been going down, so the assumption is that the nursing home sector is not doing well,” Kung said. “But [in the research] you see some really thrive and are wonderful places to work, and when you look at their occupancy, it's good. We're really excited about bringing positive recognition to aging services.”