Ensuring fair compensation for healthcare workers is not just about financial remuneration; it’s a statement of value and respect for those who dedicate their lives to the well-being of others.
With bottom lines at facilities across the nation being negatively affected, however, competing on pay is becoming harder and harder to do. Along with these difficulties comes the task of keeping your employees happy in order to break the vicious cycle of losing workers, not being able to fill beds, decreased government ratings, and ultimately, decreased funding. Facilities are having to do more with less.
So what can you do to make your healthcare talent feel fairly compensated, valued, and respected?
The benefits that matter to healthcare talent
The key to making your healthcare talent feel fairly compensated is to give them the benefits that they value the most. In a recent survey by Purchasing Power, 44.5% of respondents indicated that benefits are just as important to them as a salary. Read on to learn three benefits you can offer to your employees that makes them feel appreciated and want to stay at your facility.
When you think of flexible work environments, you probably think of work from home options — but you know as well as we do that a remote nursing position just isn’t going to work for your facility. Thankfully, flexibility in the workplace doesn’t just mean remote work. A lot of today’s job seekers are looking for flexibility; in fact, in our 2023 State of Healthcare Hiring Report, we found that the leading reason (49%) respondents would accept a lower paying job offer if it provided them with the flexibility they wanted.
So what does modern healthcare talent want in terms of flexibility? Well, you could start with a schedule that works for them. You could let your staff have more say in when they work by allowing them to pick their shifts instead of having a manager create a schedule. By empowering workers to pick times that work best for them, you’re allowing them to schedule their lives outside of work in a more efficient manner, which is ultimately what flexibility is all about. You could also consider offering shorter or longer shifts based on what your employees prefer, so long as these timeframes are permissible within federal and state labor laws. Some folks would rather work their full 40 hours within four 10-hour shifts, while others would rather work five eight-hour days. Again, you’re allowing workers to choose the times to work that fit best into their existing schedules which is key to attracting and retaining talented healthcare employees — and can help them feel that they are fairly compensated for their time.
Career growth opportunities
There’s no singular career pathway within the healthcare industry, so it’s very much a “pick your adventure” type of career. This can make it difficult to provide your staff with a vision of where they can go within your organization, but there are things you can do to show your workers that there are career growth opportunities with your facility. What truly matters is that your workers have the ability to pursue the education they need to move their career forward to where they want to go — and job seekers aren’t afraid to tell you that. In fact, this was the second highest selected reason for why a healthcare applicant would accept a lower paying offer.
To empower your workers to prioritize their education and advance their skill sets, you could consider offering continuing education funds in their benefits package that they can use to take courses. How much you choose to offer could vary depending on the role they’re currently in; perhaps, for CNAs, you offer $1,000 per year stipend while Registered Nurses and managerial positions get $2,500 per year. These funds could be used by employees for approved and accredited programs that can help them achieve their next certification — and provide a talent pool for you to access when vacancies arise. This tactic is a win/win for you and your employees, as any sort of financial help for education is greatly appreciated and will help your staff feel that they are fairly compensated.
No matter how stressful a job may be, the people you work with can often make it better. And in a field as demanding, physically and emotionally, as the healthcare industry, a good culture can make all the difference in hiring and retaining the talent you need. While a good culture at work can’t always be quantified, it is enough of an incentive for a third of healthcare job seekers to accept a lower paying offer.
To enhance the culture at your facility, you should start with how you hire. Implement training programs for your hiring team to overcome unconscious biases; these are stereotypes about different social groups that exist beyond our conscious awareness and unfairly lead to biased decision-making in choices such as hiring. To overcome these biases, your training team should be taught how to overlook existing prejudices and how to judge applicants universally the same. This will be the first step to create a diverse and inclusive workforce. The second step is to create diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at your facility that exist for the sole purpose of making your workplace a great place to work. These programs encourage the representation and participation of folks of varying backgrounds so that everyone, no matter where they come from or who they are, feels comfortable on the job.
Healthcare workers are the backbone of society. They’re there when people fall sick, need care, or inevitably age. It can be hard to put a price on what these workers do for senior living facilities in particular, but by incorporating schedule flexibility, offering ways for them to further their education, and providing them with a good culture at work can help your team feel like they are fairly compensated for their time and efforts.