Seek Them

Lesson 2: Topic 1 of 21

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What’s the main challenge in long-term care – census or staffing? Forty-five per cent of the operators say finding staff is the biggest challenge, and related to that, 18% say the greatest challenge is staff turnover…. Only about 26% said low occupancy rates were their organizations’ main challenge. 

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In a contracting economy, some employers reduce staffing, but the healthcare sector can’t do that. But when you do need help, the trap to avoid is hiring out of desperation. Settling for a warm body is going to eventually hurt you, especially if it’s someone who rejects your organizational values, causes friction with the rest of the team, or won’t or can’t really do their job, pushing the workload onto existing employees. There’s no long term payoff for the damage that’ll be done hiring people like that. Look for someone who’ll fit; don’t look for just education and experience. 

Sadly, some hiring managers make this mistake again and again. It’s easier in the short-term to hire the first marginally suitable candidate, but this practice can cause extraordinary headaches. Make it a priority instead to ensure your recruiting and hiring process is efficient and effective. The better your organization understands the position, the better you can seek someone to fill it. 

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In a perfect world, before hiring anyone you’ll have developed an Employee Value Proposition (EVP). It’s part of your brand (note that developing an EVP is not a function of your HR department, it’s on you, the leader). In simple terms, you outline what value you offer to current/potential employees in exchange for the value they bring to you. Gone are the days when you could count on great employees who work solely in exchange for a steady paycheck. 

An anecdote: A long term acute care hospital (LTAC) that I consulted with was struggling with hiring and retaining Aides. I pointed out that a large retail store which was one mile from their building was hiring urgently, offering a dollar more per hour than what the Aides were earning, plus benefits beginning the date of hire rather than 90 days out. Also, a famous and popular gas station chain was offering three dollars more per hour with amazing benefits and a ‘fun’ environment. Either opportunity meant a job with more money and a lot less stress. I told the owners these two businesses, not merely the nearby hospitals, were real, in-the-moment competition for staff. The owners ducked the responsibility to evaluate what they were doing and design an EVP; instead, they said, “We just need to find people who are passionate about healthcare, and hire them.” They would not answer the question, “How, exactly, do you find these passionate healthcare workers?” To describe their stance as unrealistic would be charitable.