6 Ways To Encourage Senior Living Employees During COVID-19 Pandemic
Times are tough. And while we know that better days are ahead, chances are you’re focused on the here and now. You’re keeping residents healthy, trying to keep families up-to-speed on what’s happening with their family members (and maybe even accommodating video chats between families), and running your senior living facility all in the midst of a global pandemic that hasn’t been seen for 100 years plus.
Maybe you need some encouragement. Maybe your team needs encouragement. If we know one thing about building culture at senior living facilities, it’s that your team needs to feel the love all the time, but even more so when times are tough.
Encourage With Words
Mother Teresa said it best, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
Start by speaking kindly to your team. Give them an “atta boy” and thank them for the hard work they’re doing now. Thank them for spending hours in the same PPE and for dealing with families who want to be able to visit with their loved ones, but can’t because of new regulations to keep everyone safe.
It’s a long running joke that the way to a healthcare worker’s heart is through their stomach. And let’s face it: who doesn’t love a good treat every once in a while.
During times like now, when parents suddenly find themselves without childcare or schools and their schedules are turned upside down, try serving your employees a good meal. Offer breakfast for when they’re at work and send home treats that their family can enjoy.
The happier your team the happier they are at work. Offer to buy passes to local parks that they can get out and walk at or take their family to. While many things are canceled, getting out and getting fresh air isn’t.
Maybe buying everyone a park’s pass isn’t in the books right now. There are other ways to encourage happiness.
Start by creating a pleasant work environment. Remind team members that they’re valued and offer opportunities for personal development. Individuals on your team are likely highly stressed. Consider providing a list of teletherapy options that they can use to help process what’s happening.
Make Scheduling Easy
Swapping shifts, asking for overtime, accessing one’s schedule. All of this should be super simple. I remember when my mom worked at a senior care facility she would oftentimes have to call in to the facility to ask about open shift opportunities.
It shouldn’t be like that.
Now more than ever is the time to simplify your scheduling, manage overtime, and ensure your team can quickly and efficiently fill open shifts that arise on the schedule.
We’ve talked before about keeping an open door policy. It’s important people know they can come to you as a leader. Even more than that, it’s important they know that you’re like them. Share with them struggles you might be going through (perhaps childcare is an issue or you can’t visit your aging parents as you used to). In doing this, you’ll find that they’ll begin to share with you.
Most people just want to be heard and if you’re listening to what your team is experiencing right now, they’ll remember it down the line.
Pick Your Battles
This should not only go at the top of this blog post, it’s something you should remind yourself in every relationship. Pick your battles. You’ve heard it time and time again. But what does it mean?
Here’s the thing. Picking your battles doesn’t mean that you’re letting people step all over you or surrendering your authority. It simply shows that you’re not going to let the little things bother you and even more than that, that you’re willing to extend grace to those around you.
Picking your battles shows that you can take a step back and trust that your team is doing what is best for the organization (barring any health code, moral, or ethical violations).
Your team needs to know you’re there for them and that you have their back. Simple, sustainable changes like those above can do that. Need help with scheduling or team messaging? Instant Nurse can help. We’re committed to helping senior care facilities manage their schedules and build culture using our intuitive and affordable scheduling software.