How Happy are Your Employees? How to Boost Staff Morale
Here in the homecare industry, we know how important it is to work hard.
But how many of us realize the importance of happiness at work?
An extensive research program completed by the iOpener Institute found that:
Happy employees stay with their companies four times longer than their unhappy counterparts.
Employees that are happy in their organization commit twice as much time to their tasks than those who aren’t happy.
Happy team members have 65% more energy than unhappy employees.
In a time where caregivers are short and turnover is at a troubling 65.2%, providers simply can’t afford to have unhappy employees. Here are actions you can begin taking today to build a positive work environment.
#1 – Examine your hiring process and make adjustments where necessary.
Caregiving is tough work, and it’s not for everyone. The ideal caregiver is compassionate, trustworthy, reliable, and possesses a strong sense of responsibility.
When interviewing a candidate, try to ask in-depth interview questions that offer a glimpse into their true personality. Additionally, see if you can find their “why” – that is, why they want the job. Sure, we all need a way to pay our bills, but if a caregiver has a real passion for making a difference in a patient’s life, odds are they’re going to perform the job better – and be happier doing it.
If you’re short-staffed and pressed for time, it can seem burdensome to thoroughly screen every potential employee. But it’s worth it in the long run. The average caregiver costs $2,600 to replace – a steep price to pay for a hasty hiring decision.
#2 – Set practical work schedules.
While regular overtime can benefit a caregiver monetarily, it can have the opposite effect on their health and well-being. If a caregiver is exhausted, their mood will be poor, and their work may suffer along with it.
Educate your staff on the risks of burnout and ensure they know the signs to watch out for. Encourage at least one day off per week and give practical suggestions for rest and relaxation.
#3 – Remind them that self-care isn’t selfish.
Caregivers are often so busy taking care of others that they forget to care for themselves.
When constructing a training plan, be sure to incorporate tips for self-care as well. Afterall, if your aides are going to be successful on the job, they must also take the steps to keep themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy.
Self-care doesn’t have to mean buying expensive candles or indulging in weekly mani-pedis. The most impactful self-care is often free. For example, getting an extra hour of sleep, writing in a journal, or taking a walk outside can all work wonders for the body and soul.
#4 – Build an incentive program.
Even the most driven aides can use some extra motivation once in a while. Incentive programs are a great way to engage your employees and create positive momentum among your staff. Small rewards such as a gift card to the movies or a local restaurant, or a wellness basket (filled with healthy snacks, a water bottle, herbal tea, bath salts, etc.), can make all the difference.
Find out what motivates your employees and build the incentive program around that.
A point system is an ideal place to start. For example, for every visit an aide is on time, they get one point. Each time they accurately observe and track a patient’s condition, they get two points. The more points they earn, the better their reward.
#5 – Check in with your staff.
As providers, it’s easy to get bogged down with clients’ demands and forget to take a moment to check in with staff and ask how they’re doing. But this is something every manager should note on their to-do list. You don’t need to clear time for a lengthy conversation—just knowing that their employer cares enough to consider their well-being can be enough to lift their spirits and boost morale.
If one-on-one chats aren’t your thing, consider conducting an employee satisfaction survey. By keeping the survey anonymous and confidential, staff may feel more inclined to express how they’re really feeling, and you can ensure you’re receiving honest answers. Once the responses are in, take an objective look at the feedback, and do your best to make improvements where necessary.
#6 – Reward caregivers who go the extra mile.
Even the most selfless and humble caregivers like to be recognized for a job well done. A handwritten thank you note expressing your gratitude for their hard work can be very impactful. You can also consider giving those star employees shoutouts on your social media pages, or a brief spotlight in an internal newsletter.
While a simple “thank you” always means a lot, try to reward staff who are really going above and beyond monetarily, if possible.
#7 – Empower your workforce with the right tools.
Without the right tools, it can be impossible to do a job well – let alone be happy while doing it.
Investing in your caregivers by giving them access to innovative tools – and taking the time to train them on those tools – can make them feel valued, boost their confidence, and encourage them to be more engaged on the job.
For example, HHAeXchange offers a caregiver mobile app that automatically prompts aides at the time of clock-out with pre-defined questions regarding the patient’s condition. Caregivers can add non-diagnosis-related observations to track changes such as a patient running low on medication or a malfunctioning medical device.
The app also allows a caregiver to express interest in a broadcasted shift; if they are selected, the visit is automatically added to their schedule. When a caregiver can pick up an extra shift that may be local to them, it’s a win-win.
All Metro Health Care, a provider of homecare services in New Jersey, New York, and Florida, trained their caregivers on the HHAeXchange app and later surveyed them to get their feedback. All Metro’s aides reported that they felt more confident in their work, and that the tool improved their knowledge of expectations regarding the quality of care required for their patients. Many also reported that it helped them enjoy their work and involvement with their clients more.
Even in the homecare industry, where our purpose is to provide the best possible care for others, it can be easy to overlook our staff’s well-being. But the value of a healthy workplace cannot be overestimated. When you take the time to check in with your employees and do what you can to maintain or boost their happiness, everyone succeeds.
It’s simple: happy caregivers = happy clients.
Here at HHAeXchange, our goal is to empower caregivers by giving them the tools they need to provide better care to every patient. Learn more.