Strong employer-employee relationships lay the foundation for success for almost any kind of enterprise, and senior care homes and other assisted living setups are no different. In fact, it can even be argued that owners should always put this aspect on top of their list of priorities, considering the lingering issue of low staff retention among a decent number of senior nursing homes.
It can also be argued that almost all the essential factors for an assisted living community’s success hinge on communication. Think about its immense influence on performance, productivity, and morale, and you will without a doubt agree as well. Indeed, staff engagement lies at the core of these factors, one that can greatly determine your endeavor’s long-term success.
Of course, adopting an effective communication strategy is easier said than done. Many owners aren’t that gifted with reaching out to others. Fret not, though, for you don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert to achieve this. Simply consider and keep these proven effective guidelines in mind so you’ll know where to start.
5 Effective Tips for Owners to Communicate with Senior Care Employees
- Adopt a more transparent and trust-oriented approach from the outset or as soon as possible.
If you haven’t been very open to your employees about aspects like how you assign staff schedules, payrolls, or even finances, then it’s high time to start being more transparent about it. It’s important to create this culture built on trust as soon as possible if you want your facility to have the synergy and harmony it needs to achieve its goals.
There should be no shred of doubt, as much as possible, especially when it comes to sharing crucial information like scheduling practices and payroll accuracy, as any “irregularity” (at least in the staff’s eyes) in them can deliver a permanent blow to trust.
One great way to maintain this is to conduct regular group meetings. Think of it as a sports huddle where you can discuss the goings-on in your care home, any potential major shifts in direction, or even ask them about their own feedback or opinions regarding your shift assignments, facility protocols, and future events you may want to host in your care home.
- Never underestimate the power of regular interviews and surveys.
If you really want to connect with your employees, then you don’t need to look further than what interviews and surveys can bring about. You don’t have to conduct these interviews yourself, of course, though it definitely won’t hurt to do so every once in a while. It just takes too much time, making it a largely unviable route.
The best solution is to simply print out surveys and come up with your own list of effective questions to ask as a form of a pre-made interview, which you can then print out or share digitally with your employees. You can, of course, ask questions about their overall work satisfaction, what they think about your scheduling practices, and other pertinent staff-related topics.
Good, old suggestion boxes can still do the trick, too. But always be open to anonymity to encourage staff to truly express their feedback and sentiments.
- Evaluate the ways that you use to relay your message and feedback.
Should you have reservations that your message is not making an impression or even reaching your audience, then it’s time to look out exactly how you’re trying to send it.
Do you tend to just release generic emails of “support and appreciation” to them? If yes, can you really state straightly that you mean what you’re saying? Are you being genuine, in short? More often than not, you only need to put yourself in the shoes of your staff, who will be the ones reading them, to know the answer to these questions.
One effective strategy for crafting reasonably engaging messages is to focus on brevity. Get to the point as soon as possible, regardless of whether you’re sharing good news or bad news.
Also, when you’re giving your own feedback on performance, keep a balance between positive and negative as much as possible. Always acknowledge your staff’s efforts and, more importantly, recognize excellent work; you can even do this consistently or out of the blue for which it would most likely be met with a delightful surprise.
- Reward your staff for taking the time to share feedback and communicate with you.
One good way for you to show that you are taking your staff’s input seriously is to give them a bonus for it. This should effectively remove any other qualms that may have for not speaking up or opening up to you.
In a way, think of their opinions and inputs as contributions to the community, even if you end up implementing only a few of the most viable and noteworthy. In fact, this is one good way to brainstorm ideas that can unlock profitable routes for the care home — just be sure to express your gratitude by giving a bonus that is commensurate to the said idea shared by the staff.
- Always remember that technology is always on your side.
If you need assistance in implementing mediums through which you can foster your facility’s communication system, then know that there are practically close to inexhaustible options to choose from.
Solutions for internal communication, in particular, are very many and digital signage is just one technology that a lot of senior care homes have been vigorously utilizing for its ability to widen your communication coverage easily.
With digital signages, you can relay information about emergency shift changes easily and even share motivating and funny messages through them. Again, it’s all about keeping staff engaged.
The facts laid out above underscore the need to pay as much attention and exert as much effort in connecting with your staff as they do with their respective subjects (or most residents). After all, both activities point to the same ideal result: better long-term quality of care and a very satisfied community of caregivers and residents.
And all of these solutions, in turn, point to one thing: making a consistent effort to reach out to your staff. We can safely say that this is the key to fostering that much-needed atmosphere of harmonious teamwork in the community that you are trying to grow.