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Boost Employee Retention with Employee Mentoring Programs


We all knew it was coming, and it came. New CMS rules will affect the Medicare five-star ratings of 10% to 16% of SNFs, according to an article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Nursing and administrator turnover are now considered in the rating process.

This comes when the industry is already in a staffing crisis, and although the five-star changes affect skilled nursing, issues with turnover affect all of senior living - everyone is struggling to keep employees. Added to this, unemployment is below 4%.

The Numbers are Sobering

According to a study from Home Care Pulse, the caregiver turnover rate for 2020 was 65.2%. Don’t blame it on the pandemic, either. The 2019 caregiver turnover rate was 64.3%, and we had yet to hear the word “pandemic.”

Another Home Care Pulse study found that over 57% of these caregivers departed in their first 90 days of employment. Christian Living Communities, with CCRC facilities in the Midwest, reported in an article in LeadingAge that it cost them as much as $10,000 to replace an employee. That kind of hit to your budget is unsustainable.

How can you stop this flow of employees departing your facility? One tactic might be to start an employee mentoring program.

Does Employee Mentoring Work?

It does, according to Christian Living Communities. Nine years after introducing a mentoring program, their retention rate among CNAs is 87%, up from 49% in 2012. A Deloitte Millennial Survey found that those employees who intend to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor than not (68% vs. 32%)

It gets better. Other facilities report that mentoring programs are an excellent way to provide senior employees with a promotion track. It keeps these veteran employees energized. Being a mentor adds some variety to their position and affirms that they are appreciated by management.

It works at all levels, too. Both front-line workers and administration workers benefit from these programs.

Best of all, it saves your facility thousands of dollars.


Tips for Developing a Great Mentoring Program


Mentoring programs don’t happen by themselves, though. They need to be carefully structured.


1. Establish the objectives.

Why are you developing a mentoring program? If employee retention is your goal, great. Establish some targets. Where do you want employee retention to be in a year? Two years? You might have some other goals for the program, too. Do you want to standardize training? Develop morale? Encourage extraordinary performance? These are all great goals but have priorities. Remember that you want to retain employees, first and foremost.

2. Find someone who is bubbling with enthusiasm to spearhead it.

Look for a veteran employee who knows your culture. Give them some skin in the game. Establish bonuses if the program hits its numbers.

3. Give the program some structure.

Christian Living Communities set up a structure that enabled the mentors to make as much as $500 per year if the mentee remained with the company for that entire time. The money was paid out as mentors and mentees reached predetermined milestones. Mentors worked with two or three new employees at any given time. The money paid to mentors outweighed the money saved by not having to look for new employees.

4. Establish requirements for selecting mentors.

You should also have a system for matching mentors and mentees. Some facilities set up mentorship programs as part of management training. This is true in the senior care area and many other businesses.


5. Track the results.

Set up some parameters and watch your results. Do you see improvement?

6. You are in this for the long haul.

It will take a while to know if the program is working. In the meantime, don’t let this program gather dust. Make sure the person running it matches new hires with mentors and follows up on evaluations. It may take as long as a year or two before you see tangible results.


Introduce an Appreciation of CareWork and Data into the Mix


It is not the job of every employee to work with the data, but many employees will have an opportunity to report information that ends up as part of that data. If everyone is instilled with an appreciation for how important that information is, then more care is given to the quality of that data going into the system.


CareWork is the only operational platform designed specifically for skilled nursing and senior living providers. We help make the most out of the systems you already use and tie your data together to streamline operations in one place. Through a single login, care, financial and operational teams have access to descriptive analytics using combined data and the ability to tailor data gathering with custom forms and work flow. CareWork automates turnover and retention reporting down to the department and position level making it easy to track progress.

CareWork saves time and gives your staff the insight they need to do a great job. Management and leadership can connect the dots and make intelligent decisions. Carework is the future for data-driven and seamless long-term care and senior living operations.

Call us today or visit our website.


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