Staff Turnover, Person-Centered Care and Regulations

Following my recent article on person-centered care (PCC) regulations, a question asked on my thoughts on the challenges of providing PCC considering the staffing challenges facing the industry.

There is no doubt that PCC is much more easily provided when there is a sufficient number of consistent staff.  PCC is at its core relationship based, dependent upon staff getting to “know the person.”  PCC is near impossible when staff turnover is high.  In addition, new regulations regarding staffing is adding fuel to this fire.

Sadly, the industry tends to believe that there is nothing to be done about staff turnover.  And that is NOT true.

What I think I know about reasons given that nothing can be done:

  • Staff turnover is simply part of the business
  • Staff turnover can’t be changed
  • Everyone has high turnover, it is just to be expected
  • Addressing staff turnover will take too much time
  • Solutions to staff turnover are too costly
  • Leaders are not sure how to reduce staff turnover
  • Again and again, nothing can be done

What I know I know that can be done:

  • High levels of staff turnover are too high to achiever PCC
  • Goals and initiatives are near impossible to attain with high turnover
  • Single, individual programs or incentives are like “throwing darts”
  • Staff stability requires an organizational approach
  • Many leaders/administrators want to address turnover, but are unsure how to do so
  • Experienced leaders/consultants are available and can make a difference
  • Money saved far exceeds the money spent
  • You CAN change staff turnover

I know that every facility is perfectly designed for the results it gets.  If you want a different outcome – you have to do something different.

Employee satisfaction is like customer satisfaction.  Customer satisfaction is defined by HBR as, “… the sum – totality of how customers engage with your company, not just a snapshot in time but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.”  Simply replace “customer” with “employee.”

Staff satisfaction and retention is also reliant on the total experience.  Consider how staff are selected, treated, prepared and valued.  Think about how leaders communicated with staff and include them in decisions related to their work.  Are staff cared for and nurtured, and celebrated throughout their employment and by all parties?

Research on what drives employee satisfaction has not changed in several decades.  Employee desires are clear and can be met by improving satisfaction and retention, thus reducing turnover.   However, it takes a plan and sustainable systems.

In this era of increasing regulations and competition, the ability to succeed will be dependent upon knowledgeable and consistent staff like never before.  For many leaders, there is little time for the immense amount of work to develop and implement systems to address the continuous staffing turnover and issues.

We have guided many organizations who have successfully implemented programs and systems, decreasing turnover as much as 50% in one year, with savings calculated as high as a million dollars.  Staff retention is the process of implementing specific systems and processes that change the beliefs and experience of staff, thereby affecting satisfaction and turnover.  It requires commitment and patience, as it does not happen overnight.  However, our experience in doing so indicates that improvements can begin and are evident in less that 3 months.

The decision to invest and tackle staff turnover is what separates the successful organizations from those who continually struggle.

Not sure where to begin?  For those who want a different outcome, we’re here to help.

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