We’ve already made the case that better technology in your community can help reduce your CNA turnover rate. Today, we’ll take a closer look at some strategies you can implement to improve your ability to recruit and retain Millennial workers in particular (those born between 1980 and 1997).
Before we dive in, a few notes on why it’s important to recruit and retain Millennials at an assisted living or memory care community:
- Today, Millennials account for 35 percent of the US workforce, making them the single biggest generational group applying for jobs.
- Millennials tend to change jobs more frequently than their predecessors. Given the high costs of turnover, there’s a clear financial incentive to keep them around.
- Baby Boomers, formerly the dominant workforce generation, are now turning 65 (the traditional retirement age) at a rate of 10,000 per day – and that will continue for the next 11 years. This means the workforce as a whole is changing, so employers need to adapt to ensure that the new generation of workers is engaged.
How to Decrease Staff Turnover by Winning Over Millennials
One of the advantages of the Millennial generation is that it’s large and well studied. That means employers and recruiters have plenty of data about what matters to this cohort in the workplace. Here’s how those findings apply to residential retirement communities.
- Emphasize purpose. Millennials are known for wanting their work to mean something. This is excellent news for assisted living communities: jobs that involve having an immediate, palpable impact on people’s quality of life are about as purposeful as it gets. The Esquiline, a Caremerge customer and retirement community in Belleville, Illinois, found that it was able to get the attention of college students and other young workers by emphasizing the degree to which working at their community came with a sense of purpose and the ways employees brought meaning to residents’ lives. (Hear more about The Esquiline’s experience in this webinar.)
- Make room for growth. A Gallup study found that 87 percent of Millennial workers consider the opportunity for career development an important factor when they’re considering a job (compared to just 69 percent of non-Millennials). Even if you’re recruiting for a CNA-type role that doesn’t typically involve much of an upward trajectory, you can create growth opportunities like staff mentoring, team leadership for various projects, and financial support for employees who want to earn further certifications (possibly with the caveat that they stay with you for a certain period of time after receiving those certificates).
- Improve your technology. One of the benefits of low turnover is that it saves money, so it may sound counterintuitive to suggest spending money on tech to achieve that savings. But Millennial workers weigh a company’s use of technology when considering whether to accept a job. In fact, 20 percent say they’d turn down a job if the company’s technology wasn’t up to par. The good news here is that the most significant technology upgrade your community is likely to make is switching to an electronic health records system, and the benefits of doing that go far beyond improving your recruitment capabilities. (Bonus: transitioning is a major project and a great opportunity to give CNAs leadership opportunities to be go-to super-users who can help coach the rest of the team.)
- Allow flexibility when possible. The Millennial generation is used to being on the go, adapting plans at the last minute, and (in other industries) working remotely, at locations and hours that suit them. While some kinds of flexibility simply aren’t possible in long-term care settings, other types are. If, for example, you can offer self-scheduling options, that can help give younger employees a sense of autonomy over their work.
- Encourage relationships. Actually, this tip might help decrease staff turnover for all generations. Research on turnover in long-term care shows that people tend to be more engaged and stay in their jobs longer when they have meaningful relationships with residents, get to participate in care planning, have strong relationships with their coworkers, and feel recognized and supported by nurses and other supervisors. This is a powerful finding: encouraging and building relationships among your team is free and can be done without setting aside any major chunks of time. By simply being intentional about taking the time to offer positive feedback, smile and greet your direct reports, and otherwise explicitly and implicitly communicate that (non-disruptive) relationships are encouraged, you can improve the experience of everyone in your community.
The benefits of low staff turnover go beyond the immediate cost savings of not having to recruit and train new workers. When CNAs can form relationships with residents over time, those residents tend to be more satisfied with their care, which helps increase the likelihood of referrals and reduce the likelihood of move-outs, both of which keep revenue steady.
If you’re ready to explore how a technology upgrade might help you reduce turnover among your Millennial CNA staff or otherwise improve operations at your community, get in touch with us. We’d love to see how we can help!