Blog by Tim Alderdice, Director of Business Development, Fort Wayne, GrandView Pharmacy

Few will argue against the fact that the workforce development of staff is one of the biggest challenges facing the long-term care administrator today. However, a consensus of how to resolve this crisis is much harder to reach. It is easy to surmise that effective retention of existing employees will solve the problem and eliminate the need for robust recruitment. The fact is that the use of the word “retention” handicaps an administrator’s ability to face the real problem of employee satisfaction. By the very nature of the definition of retention, “the continued possession, use or control of something,” we denigrate our most valuable resource. Talent. Let us look at a different approach that may help. (115)

First, line workers in the healthcare field should be hired not so much for their prior professional abilities, but instead on their passion and willingness to serve. Tasks can be taught. However, a good personality cannot. One might ask, how do you define or measure the servant heart in an interview? First, begin by asking questions that focus on a person’s experience. For example: “Can you tell me about an instance in your life when you went out of your way to help someone?” Or you may ask “Will you give me an example of how you made someone’s day while on the job?” The answers to such questions will illuminate much about the applicant’s character. Secondly, leadership would be wise to note the speed of the response and tone of voice when answering such questions. Further, when a prospect for a position seems aptly suited and highly motivated, an eye should be given to their future professional goals. A dialogue should be created to ascertain how you might help them to achieve milestones towards the accomplishment of these goals.

After hiring an outstanding individual, the question should not be how to retain that person. Instead, ask yourself how the culture you have established in the building would help to foster and develop the character and attitude of that person. Further, ask yourself, “How well do my managers lead by example?” Managers are leaders in the way that they motivate, support and serve team members. Have you ever witnessed an admissions director assisting a housekeeper clean and prepare a room for an unplanned admission? Or have you seen your social services director deliver a meal to a resident? One might argue that these are not the functions of these managers and that they should simply delegate these tasks to the line staff. On the contrary, by walking alongside their employees, managers are valuing the line staff and demonstrating the inherent value of their work. In turn, when led in this manner, your new hire will feel welcomed, appreciated and inspired. If this approach is adopted successfully, employees will be quick to emulate their supervisors. Thus creating a synergy of passion and talent.

About the Author

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