Deciding to place a beloved family member in a senior care facility is challenging. It's a decision no family member wants to make, but they trust you and your staff to offer them the best care possible when they do.
However, if employee communication in your long-term care facility falls short, it can be a chaotic and frustrating experience for your senior care staff, residents, and their families. This can lead to families moving their loved ones to a different facility and employees leaving their roles to find work elsewhere — and in a worker shortage, it's unlikely you can spare staff right now.
Effective communication is the foundation for any successful relationship, and your assisted living facility is no different.
Now is an excellent time to start if you haven't prioritized employee communication in your senior care facility.
Why Employee Communication is Important
No one enjoys being left in the dark, including frontline workers at your senior care facility.
Imagine learning a new resident is arriving, but the appropriate employees don't know and aren't prepared. Or two employees didn't show up for work that day, so it's all hands on deck. And your organization has changed payroll services, but half of your workers missed the memo, so they're scrambling at the last minute to receive their pay.
Trust erodes when there is a consistent lack of communication, and employees feel like they can't properly executive their job. And a breakdown in trust leads to unmotivated and disengaged workers.
This then spirals out of control to include poor service, quality of care for residents, and clients taking their business elsewhere.
Your long-term care employees need you to show them you value them enough to keep them in the loop with regular communication. In fact, improving frontline employee communication is one of the best things you can do to increase engagement and productivity among your workers.
Five Tips to Improve Communication with Senior Care Facility Employees
People who work in assisted living facilities play an essential role in our communities. They carry the heavy burden of caring for their patients, helping maintain the facility, and liaising between residents and family members.
They work hard and deserve to work in a senior care facility that places high value on communication.
Ask Employees for Feedback
As the administrator or owner of a senior care facility, there's a good chance you're far removed from daily routines. Because frontline workers are 'in it' every day, they have a perspective that you don't, and their feedback is invaluable.
Your employees can offer insights into more efficient ways of doing things. And allowing them to provide feedback will go a long way in making them feel like a trusted team member.
Tell Your Workers You Appreciate Them
One thing you can do to quickly improve the environment at your assisted living facility is to regularly tell your employees you appreciate them.
Sending periodic messages of appreciation will make your employees feel valued and raise the morale of your facility. Sending a birthday note, a thank you for being an awesome team member, and recognizing your staff on International Health Worker Day will go a long way.
In fact, letting your employees know you appreciate and value their contribution and loyalty can help with the following:
- Better employee productivity
- Increased employee retention
- Improve your facility's reputation
- And build trust with your staff
While you may think hiding information from your frontline workers protects them, a tight-lipped culture can have the opposite intended effect.
Transparency builds trust. Be open with your staff about how you assign shifts, manage payroll, and even finances. Transparency also opens the lines of communication and lets your employees feel like they can share freely.
Send Timely Messages
Learning some important news about the organization you work for on social media can quickly make any employee feel like they are just another number.
And emails that don't get opened in time (because health care workers rarely have downtime during a shift) send a message that your workers are an afterthought. There's nothing worse than learning about the staff Christmas party the day of because you never got the email.
Finding an effective way to send messages to your workers will drastically improve their employee experience. Letting them know they are worth your time and effort to keep them up to date on important issues will set the tone for more positive workplace culture.
Evaluate Your Current Communications Strategy
Whether or not your facility has a human resources department that handles communications, it's always a good idea to evaluate your communication strategy or lack thereof.
Assisted living facilities are busy and dynamic. Schedules change constantly, residents come and go, the protocol can change quickly, and there isn't always time for a quick meeting between shifts.
It's too easy for important messages to get overlooked in an environment like this. An effective internal communications strategy will help to reduce the number of frustrated employees and ensure that everyone in your organization gets included in the conversation.
Use a Texting Tool To Improve Employee Communication
Better employee communication is the portal to a successful business. When communication is open, regular, and effective, employee engagement is higher, which translates to more satisfied and productive workers.
If you're still relying on outdated tools like email or a community pinboard, it's time to explore a more effective communication tool.
Considering that 98% of Americans own a cell phone, it makes sense to use a texting tool as your primary mode of communication. It's an excellent way to improve the employee experience and is inclusive — administrators, nurses, and environmental services will all most likely own a phone (even if it's a flip phone!).
These days, employees are often encouraged to bring their phones to work as a cell phone can help them perform their job. And why texting your frontline staff is the fastest, most effective way to communicate with them.
Unlike many app-based tools, a texting tool like goHappy is at no cost to your employees and has zero learning curve — everyone can text!
Using it is so effortless that any HR department or office administrator can quickly and easily send texts to your entire workforce. Need to let everyone know there's a flood in the games room? Send a one-liner to everyone currently on shift.
If you have multiple locations, it's easy to segment your staff by geography, so you only send messages to the correct employees. You can even segment by job role if you only need to update shift supervisors.
Ready to learn how you can enhance your senior care employee communication with goHappy? Book your demo now!