Second only to our residents, our team members are a vital part of our communities. Helping them to be successful, supporting them and understanding the problems that face them in this industry are all things that we can do create a culture of care of our team.
The biggest issue facing our teams today is burnout. This is defined as when a worker, a caregiver in this instance, leaves their industry. This is not someone that leaves one facility for another. They leave the industry for a new career field. Why burnout occurs can be attributed to a few root causes. Like with our residents it may not because of the pay, the benefits, or the etc. etc. etc. I believe the contributing factors are these three things: anonymity, irrelevance, immeasurement. Anonymity because their story isn’t known, irrelevance because they feel the work they do doesn’t matter, especially if its the same thing over and over again without getting better results (Einstein’s definition of insanity) and immeasurement because they do not have a way to measure their success or know what winning looks like.
Teamwork becomes key and one way we can measure success is did you set your team mates up for success? Is the next shift coming after you set and ready to take the baton of a clean facility, engaging conversations and interactions with the residents?
Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs applies to your team too. When they come to work for you they are looking at the base needs being met: can they pay their bills, buy food, have gas money and rent covered on the wage you are offering is what they look for along with how stable is their position and your company which provides for their safety and security; the basics. If that is satisfied, then good. Next comes the feelings of belonging, friendship and needs to fulfill their esteem; i.e. achievement.
Most of us have systems and I would ask, are your systems being used or ignored? If they are being ignored it may be because they are unclear or overly complicated or not relevant. We have a saying at Legacy: To be clear is to be kind. We want to make sure we are direct with our communication and that everyone understands. We do not leave the conversation if people do not understand what is expected of them. Your systems are a form of communication and need to be thought of in the same manner. Your systems need to have a purpose, an expected result and the steps it will take to make the result a reality. In addition plug in the resources they have for that system and the tools as well.
Additionally we have clear expectations for the team and again to be clear is to be kind. Giving them the ratings for how to measure their work meets their need for measurability and takes the personality out of conflicts when it comes to reprimands, course corrections, and even terminations. You point them to the system and the expectations not your personal desires or whims, as these can change easily. This creates an accountability system that everyone else is held to regardless of position or title, including yourself.
With systems that have purpose we meet the need for the work to be relevant, attacking the plague of irrelevancy. With clear, consistent expectations that have measurable outcomes we again counter the plague of immeasurement.
Yet all of this requires engagement: proactive, intentional and focused engagement on your team. Get to know them, find out who they are as people and not as employees will be a key factor as this destroys the plague of anonymity. Being invested in your team, to know them and their struggles, praising them for their efforts and achievements creates a tie and a culture of camaraderie and team work. Your team will be ready and willing to take on more responsibility to grow and become better leaders themselves.
Reality is this: creating a culture of care for the residents and our team requires there to be relationships built and relationships involve risk. Risk of being rejected, not accepted, turned down, taken advantage of. But as John Maxwell said, that is our responsibility as leaders. If we do not make the first move, then no move will be made. And if no move is made then no relationship that has meaning will be developed. And without those deeper relationships of camaraderie, teamwork and the like, we cannot create the third culture.