How Senior Living Communities Can Support Staff During COVID-19

How Senior Living Communities Can Support Staff During COVID-19

As senior living operators continue to employ best practices to provide care for residents, communities should also be focusing on the best ways to support their staff during these challenging times.

Your employees are dealing with increased personal and professional demands, including greater financial insecurity, so it’s paramount their employers do whatever they can to keep them from burning out. This means developing a communication strategy that highlights trust and transparency while acknowledging and addressing the very real fears your employees are facing. Here are some tips to get started.

Maintain communication with employees

According to greatplacetowork.com, Horizon Therapeutics is one healthcare company that has created an effective communication strategy during COVID-19, what it describes as “Virtual Leadership Visibility.” This includes weekly messages from the CEO on the state of the business, followed by a Q&A session; regular town hall meetings and coffee chats with employees; weekly leadership webinars to support managers; and regular employee surveys on leadership decisions.

Actions like these serve to increase good will among your employees. By enacting such a plan, you are demonstrating the sort of openness and transparency that not only puts employees at ease and creates a dialogue but fosters trust in how the company is handling the current situation.

Address staff members’ legitimate concerns

What you do now to support your employees has the potential to affect their future behavior, including engagement, productivity and loyalty, for years to come, according to Forbes. While it’s important to inform your employees of concrete measures you are taking to protect them and their patients against the virus, remember that many are also dealing with personal financial concerns in their households, such as a spouse who has lost his or her job.

It’s in your company’s interest to do what you are financially capable of doing to alleviate that pressure, even if it is only a small gesture. Forbes recommends connecting staff with your company’s employee assistance program, if you have one, as well as community resources that might help them navigate these new stressors.

You might also consider turning to outside experts to assist your staff. Pivot has been engaged in supporting communication staff at several communities during the pandemic, as more administrators and leadership realize their employees are being pushed to the limit. We’re told that staff members appreciate having such guidance to prioritize their workload and keep families, staff and referral sources informed while in-person visits are limited.

Create morale boosters and anxiety busters

More than four months of social distancing, fear of illness and economic unrest has taken a mental and emotional toll on Americans and will continue to create anxiety and stress going forward. That’s why you should consider offering your employees access to amenities like in-house, socially distanced yoga and meditation sessions, or sending out periodic links to free mental health websites like Mindfulness Exercises. You can also encourage your employees to take walks outside during breaks and to schedule socially distanced coffee breaks with their team members.

Finally, as suggested by McKnight’s Senior Living columnist Dr. Eleanor Feldman Barbera, employers need to remember to give their employees credit. Said Feldman, Managers who take time to acknowledge the efforts and emotional burdens of workers can help bolster their spirits and increase employee satisfaction going forward.

Pivot Communication has supported senior living organizations with their marketing needs for more than 20 years. Give us a call at 303.499.9291 if you need any support.

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