Avoiding Staffing Pitfalls: Questions to consider for Staffing (and retaining staff) your SNF

If asked what their top 5 challenges are in their organization’s daily operations, SNF Executives would undoubtedly list staffing and retention as one of these areas.  If like many organizations this is a struggle for you, consider the following questions and compare how your organization is addressing these concerns.

  • What methods are you utilizing to identify and contact prospective candidates?

It is important to utilize a variety of resources when identifying prospective candidates.  Consider posting and discussing your openings with your current team members.  Your current employees can be a great source of referrals as they know your organization and the qualities that you value in an employee.  Offer referral bonuses to your existing employees.  Networking is also key.  Keep your interactions with others always professional and friendly.  Reach out to former candidates, former employees, various trade organizations and colleagues. Finally, social media has significant power in today’s environment post and update your positions often and on multiple sites.

Example:  Susie, high performing former employee, left our Company to work in a different arena.  Two weeks later, the recruiter checks in with Susie and asks how things are going in her new position.  Staying connected to Susie can be helpful for the recruiter who reaches out to Susie in the near future for connections/referrals.  This is networking – staying connected to others.

  •  What are the biggest mistakes that organizations make in the recruiting and hiring process?

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is being slow to respond to inquiries regarding an open position.  In today’s competitive market, it is crucial if the potential candidate meets your profile, to respond promptly upon receiving an application.  You want to make contact that day if possible and schedule an interview within a few days.  Speed and efficiency are key as even a day delay could result in losing a candidate to another organization.  If you are unable to schedule the interview upon that initial contact or another staff member will be scheduling the interview, be sure to have a follow up system in place to ensure that the process is progressing in a timely manner. Finally, if there must be a delay in progressing the candidate through the interview process it is important to communicate and provide an explanation when possible.  Most candidates understand the demands of the skilled nursing industry and will be willing to wait if they are clear regarding the delay and are provided with a reasonable timeline in which the interview process will proceed. 

Example: Joe, RN candidate, is ready to be interviewed. Joe is very excited and interested in the position.  There are over 50 RN positions posted in this market.   The administrator says that he is very busy and can interview Joe at the end of next week.  The interview is set up with Joe.  In the meantime, Joe calls within that week of the recruiter’s conversation to withdraw his interest saying that he was offered another position. 

  •  What are the onboarding pitfalls that could lead to difficulties with hiring/retention of employees?

A key area identified is insufficient or in some cases no training and or orientation.  Orientations that combine interactive training and take into consideration the various ways in which people learn including reading, watching, hearing, and doing tend to be the most successful.  Another area of concern identified is lack of follow up by the management team.  It is important for management to have a process in place to follow up with new employees to discuss any questions or concerns.

Example:  The new hire RN was a former MDS nurse and was recently hired as an ADON in a SNF.   The new hire RN has worked the floor and performed COVID testing for the past 3 weeks.  There has been no ADON training.  The new hire RN left the facility with no notice after working only 3 weeks. 

  •  What areas can lead to a resignation within the first 60-90 days?

It is important during the interview process to be honest regarding what the job entails as unclear expectations can lead to a new employee quickly leaving the position.  New employees must have adequate support and training and know who to go to if they have questions and concerns.  If their questions or concerns are not addressed by management, they may become overwhelmed leading to lack of performance and/or resignation.  It’s important that the management team and staff be welcoming.  A new employee wants to feel as if they fit in within the organization, that they are a valued member of the team, and that they have the support of their manager.  At times, a misunderstanding of benefits and/or salary can lead to someone departing.  It is important that these areas be clearly outlined during the interview process and that the candidate be given time to ask questions. Hiring and training employees is a timely and costly process so it is extremely important that the interview process be thorough and encompass each of these areas to ensure a good match for both the employee and the organization. 

Example:  A new manager was hired for a SNF.  The administrator conducted a video interview with this new hire.  The new hire had not met other team members nor toured the facility.  The first day on the job, the new hire manager was shown his office and computer and left to start his new assignment.  No orientation, tour of the facility or introduction to team members happened.  The new hired Manager left after a week working at the facility.    

Who in your organization is responsible for identifying potential candidates, interviewing these candidates, hiring and training new employees?  Are these individuals clear regarding your organizations expectations of prospective candidates, able to identify and answer prospective candidate’s questions regarding job expectations and benefits?  Do they understand the importance of prompt response time and quick follow-up in getting that candidate to move forward with an interview?  And finally, do they understand the importance of matching your organization’s needs to the candidate’s attributes, to ensure not only securing the hire, but the hire resulting in a productive contributing member of your organizations team. 

At Axis Healthcare Consulting, we can assist you in this process by assisting with your recruiting needs and or training your organizations human resource and management team in the key areas of recruitment and retention.