The Staffing Guide, Part One: Enacting Change

Hop onto any forum with SNF Administrators and you’ll read about one of the biggest challenges facing nursing homes. Symptoms are as follows:

  • Staff members begin to exhibit passive-aggressive behavior.
    • “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it”
    • “That’s a waste of my time.”
    • “I’ve been doing this job for years, I know what actually needs to get done.”
    • Changes aren’t being implemented.
    • Administrator turnover is skyrocketing.

There’s a cycle that comes when a new administrator joins a team or is promoted. They think they’re going to turn things around, act on their ideas to improve customer service and make a real difference in patient lives. What they don’t know (and you don’t either), is that you may not be setting them up to succeed in this endeavor.

As a leader, you need to create a system that will support your staff. This isn’t a checklist of what they need to get done or what goals you’d like them to accomplish. It’s an action plan to resolve conflict so that your employees can work harmoniously to provide better care.

Keys to Enact Change:

To lead a team, an administrator must build trust. And to do that, they’ll need to sit down with the staff members whose jobs will be affected by any proposed changes—before that change happens.

  • Understand where your team is coming from. Ask your group (or individual staffers, whichever works best):
    • What do you think is the best way to improve your job?
    • What about this [Proposed Change] feels like it won’t work?
    • How will the [Proposed Change] affect your job?
    • What skills do you think are needed for you to complete [Proposed Change]?
    • How much time do you need to adjust to [Proposed Change]?
    • How can I make you feel supported during this transition?
  • Get buy-in on any changes.
    • Empathize with your employee’s concerns.
    • Explain why the change is being made and detail the intended results for the change.
    • Show your staff how the change will be beneficial to their jobs.
    • State your expectations clearly, and communicate how you’ll hold them accountable.
    • Discuss strategies to resolve employee’s concerns.
    • Create a follow-up meeting to discuss how employees are transitioning a few weeks after the change has been implemented.

Above all, employees don’t want to be discarded. They want to know that management has their best interest in mind and understands the hard work that they do. Having your administrator sit down to discuss these changes and ask these important questions might even be a much needed “reality check.” Maybe there’s a roadblock that hasn’t been thoroughly discussed. Maybe there’s a better idea from your staff that can help the business’ long-term goals. Management and employees need to find a way to connect.

These steps are just the start. In the coming months, I’ll be discussing common issues in team dynamics and what you can do to resolve them. Have any tips or personal? Leave a comment and lend your support.