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Are Your Recruitment Strategies Up to Date?

June 1, 2006
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How the job interview, the salary/benefits package, and the working environment add up to staff-appeal by Danielle Costello and Laura Vercler, MA, CPHQ
Are your recruitment strategies
up to date?
by Danielle Costello and Laura Vercler, MA, CPHQ
The answer is important to continued customer satisfaction with and referral to your facility

An interesting fact that was documented recently: Nine of the top ten items correlated with residents' likelihood to recommend your facility are related directly to their interactions with frontline staff and management (see "Benchmarks of Resident Loyalty"). We also know that as the baby boomers come closer to age 85 (beginning in 2031), long-term care becomes a very real possibility for them, but nursing homes may not be adequately staffed to accommodate them.1 And, finally, we know that job dissatisfaction, while a general term, encompasses more than discontent with money or schedules, but also frustration with the environmental culture of the facility.

Three interrelated factors are vital to the development of a facility that staff are both drawn to and committed to: a thorough and impressive interview process, accommodating basic needs of the staff, and a work environment in which employees can truly enjoy their jobs.

The Interview Process
Many organizations are so worried about the quantity of their job candidates that they often overlook the good ones sitting at their doorsteps. Even so, being impressed by an individual is of little consequence if that candidate is not impressed with his or her first formal encounter with the facility: the interview. The key to the interview process is to understand that both sides-the candidate and the employer-are "auditioning" one another. That means one must both buy and sell when interviewing a candidate.2

Peer interviewing is also vital to the hiring of an employee, as it allows both sides to get a taste of what the other offers. Employees, one-on-one, are more likely to give honest expectations and previews of the working environment, offering invaluable information to the candidate and observing his or her responses. An orientation program is a selling point to many candidates and should be highlighted in the interview.3 Therefore:

  • Study the applicant's rTsumT before the interview and formulate individualized questions. Familiarize yourself with organizations that the candidate was previously involved with to avoid surface questions and obtain more information.
  • Use peer interviewing. Make sure that each employee allows the candidate to ask questions, allowing that employee the chance to note the candidate's concerns and motivations.
  • Highlight all orientation programs available for new employees-do not allow candidates to leave the interview feeling as though they will be thrown into a job they are not familiar with. Offer mentor or preceptor programs, and introduce candidates to an employee who is or has served as a preceptor. Bring seminars, workshops, and other orienting events to the candidate's attention to emphasize the importance you place upon the smooth integration of a new employee.Meeting Basic Needs: Health, Schedule, Pay
    Maintaining a manageable schedule between work and home life is of primary concern for those in the nursing profession, as the staff shortage has meant vast amounts of overtime in recent years. Schedules must be developed with employee input, or managers will be at risk of last-minute "no-shows." Flexible scheduling is also vital to staff retention. These concerns have led some organizations to reconsider the standard 8-hour day/40-hour week. Thus:

    • Offer nontraditional shifts. Options such as working seven 10-hour days followed by seven days off,4 working two 12-hour shifts as opposed to three 8-hour shifts, and having nursing staff work two 16-hour weekend shifts and being paid for 40 hours are among alternatives.5
    • Provide a positive incentive for the staff member and beneficial outcomes for the facility with sign-on, referral, and retention bonuses (some facilities offer a dual sign-on/referral bonus that is split between the referrer and the referee).
    • Improve benefits for employees and their families, or offer reduced costs for outside services to assist them with maintaining their lives outside of work. Offer dry-cleaning services, workout facilities, and day care facilities, for example, at a reduced cost; these have been shown to increase satisfaction and decrease turnover rates.6
  • Benchmarks of Resident Loyalty
    In a 2003 Harvard Business Review article, Frederick Reichheld asserted that assessing customers' likelihood to recommend is the only way to measure customer loyalty, regardless of the industry. Correlating each individual item below with residents' likelihood to recommend indicates those areas that have the strongest relationship with residents' loyalty to the facility.8
    For more information about nursing home resident satisfaction, read the Press Ganey 2005 Health Care Satisfaction Report, available at: Creating an Environment in Which Employees Want to Work