This article is sponsored by Pinnacle Quality Insight. In this Voices interview, Senior Housing News sits down with Chris Magleby, CEO of Pinnacle, to learn about some of the top staffing pain points facing owners and operators in the current senior living landscape. He explains why the first 100 days of employment are critical to recruiting and retention in senior living, and he shares 3 best practices that providers can follow to navigate those 100 days. He also delves into Pinnacle’s “Retain” product and discusses the different ways in which it can help providers mitigate the current staffing challenges.
Senior Housing News: What career experiences do you most draw from, in your role today?
Chris Magleby: Having run a survey company for the last 20 years, I’ve gotten pretty good at listening, and I’ve learned a lot by meeting with operators, frontline employees and residents. Through all of the different surveys we’ve conducted, the most important takeaway is that customers value human relationships.
They value kindness, they value communication and they value how care providers make them feel, and to no surprise, employees value the same things. If providers want their residents to feel a certain way, they need to make sure their staff feels that way first. Every stakeholder wants kindness, communication, dignity and respect, and through my listening experiences, I’ve learned that optimal senior care boils down to a shared human experience across the entire continuum.
What are some of the top staffing pain points facing owners and operators in the current senior living landscape?
One of the top staffing pain points today is staff tenure, and in senior living, specifically, there’s a direct correlation between average length of stay and staff tenure. As average staff tenure increases, the average length of stay increases simultaneously, and vice versa. It affects many different aspects of the business.
Staff tenure impacts the bottom line, quality of care and even the resident experience because the correlation between tenure and length of stay has a compounding effect. Average tenure is a KPI worth tracking and the first 100 days of employment should be the starting point for any provider interested in improving this metric. The first 100 days is a critical period of employment, and it’s where the highest turnover occurs as well.
Why are the first 100 days critical to recruiting and retention in senior living?
These jobs are intrinsically rewarding, and people choose this line of work for their mission and purpose. Senior living professionals get fulfillment from caring for others, but the difficulty of this work can overshadow the sense of fulfillment in the 100 days. At first, the job might be a little harder than it is rewarding, but as new staff members get more comfortable, the job can become more rewarding than it is challenging. It is critical to ferry new hires through those first three months because that’s when they’re most at risk of leaving.
Once new hires make it past those 100 days, our data shows that they become more comfortable with the job, so extra support during that window is absolutely necessary. In this industry, about 40% of all turnover happens within the first 100 days, and after that, turnover decreases dramatically.
What are some best practices senior living providers can follow to navigate the first 100 days with new hires?
There are three key steps that providers can take to successfully navigate the first 100 days: be intentional, communicate and implement a systematic feedback process.
First, providers have to be intentional with their retention efforts, which means establishing KPIs and goals to retain more than 40% of new hires. These efforts need to take into account the different needs of each individual, and providers should map out the timeline and expectations as such, especially with respect to challenge-versus-reward.
Second is communication, and that coincides with being intentional. Providers should check in with their employees, see how they’re feeling, and get feedback about training and onboarding to make adjustments as needed.
That leads to the third practice, which is to create a systematic feedback process for those first 100 days. New hires who respond to a new hire survey are 50% less likely to leave before day 100, according to our data. Establishing communication is very important, and systematic feedback is probably the easiest way to establish an open line of communication.
What is Pinnacle’s Retain product, and how can providers use it to combat the current staffing challenges?
Retain is an employee feedback platform designated to help providers take that critical step of creating a systematic feedback process and open line of communication with new hires. Retain offers annual engagement surveys, check-in surveys and exit surveys, but its real superpower is helping providers usher employees through those first 100 days by monitoring their feedback at key milestones.
We send new hires a welcome message when they start the onboarding process, then we check in on Day 15, Day 30, Day 60 and Day 90. Based on that feedback, we can let operators know which employees are likely to make it through those first 100 days, which of them need help if they’re going to make it through those 100 days and which of them are unlikely to make it.
A lot of interesting data comes from systematic feedback. For example, we just completed a review with a fairly large provider, which revealed that new hires who skipped all of the new hire surveys left at a rate of 45% before Day 100. The employees who answered at least one survey, and who answered it positively, only turned over at a rate of 15% before Day 100. And finally, the people who took at least one survey, and who answered it negatively, were flagged as “at risk,” and they left at a rate of 33%.
Based on how new hires are engaging and responding to the surveys, providers can optimize their staffing efforts and improve the customer experience. The software coaches operators on what to do with the feedback and how to work with people in each of the three buckets.
Talk about some of the top questions, data, and/or takeaways from recent employee surveys.
Of all the questions we ask new hires, the question, “How’s training going?” has the highest correlation to staff tenure. The more positive their answer, the more likely they will stay for the long term.
The correlation between staff tenure and training shows the significance of an organization’s first interactions with its new hires. That’s one of the things Retain helps evaluate, which I think is very useful because you can see how it drives revenue across the organization.
Another critical takeaway from our data is that when somebody’s at a high risk of leaving, there is a direct correlation between the amount of manager interaction with that employee and the employee’s likelihood to leave before Day 100. The more manager interaction there is, the less likely an employee is to leave when they’re not responding well to the first interactions with an organization.
That is so important as the workforce shortage continues because it often feels like there’s no remedy. The truth is that a lot can be done to retain staff. Our data shows that the more an organization listens to its staff members, and the more managers act on that data, the more likely those employees are to stay. And even though this workforce crisis is very difficult, providers can rest assured that there is a certain degree of control over employee retention.
Finish this sentence: “The senior living industry in 2023 will be the year of…”
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Pinnacle Quality Insight helps senior care providers improve the patient experience and retain their employees through different types of customer and employee survey platforms. To learn more, download “5 Proven Ways to Keep Your People.”
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].