Data reveal an engagement paradox in the nursing department.

Wrightsville, PA. – June 27, 2019. In a new finding released from Holleran, engagement data highlights a large disconnect between employees who believe they will be working at the same organization in three years, versus the actual level of engagement felt by employees who have been employed between one and three years. This data comes from the Holleran National benchmark, from over 400 communities and nearly 60,000 cases.

The firm’s analysis shows nursing department employees who have been employed between one and three years are, on average, the least engaged demographic within an organization. However, they are most likely to rate the Holleran survey statement, “I think I will be working here in three years” significantly higher than other departments.

This finding is significant for organizations who are facing hiring and retention challenges. Employees are hired with the anticipation of being a long-term employee, but after their first year of service their engagement level can drop by 7.5%. It is at this critical point that organizations must focus their attention on maintaining the engagement level felt by first year employees.

“Where we hear the most challenges occurring among nursing staff, are in areas that can be fixed with increased communication. Nurses consistently feel as if their opinions don’t count or they don’t receive positive recognition for work they do. Both low scoring issues have a simple solution – increased communication,” states Jennifer Leo, Senior Research Analyst.

Julia Ross, Senior Project Manager for Holleran suggests a few best practices which have helped organizations increase communication and positively impacted engagement over time. “A simple thank you at the end of a shift, providing clear, concise information regarding organizational changes, or arranging space and time for your staff to confidently share their thoughts are all immediate changes an organization can take to increase communication,” recommends Ross.

Holleran’s work consistently shows that the team members that interact with residents the most, such as nursing, environmental services, and culinary employees, are also the most likely to be disengaged. This is especially troublesome because residents often rely on these employees for not just caregiving, but also social interaction. An employee’s perception of their organization can easily rub off on the residents they serve, creating a feedback loop that can be difficult for leadership to break. That’s why it’s so very important that senior living leaders work to not only engage their newest team members, but also create opportunities for engagement among veteran staff.

Thanks to Holleran’s proprietary benchmark, which includes the opinions and views of more than 59,660 employees, all surveyed within the last 24 months, Holleran’s researchers are able to find correlations that both reinforce commonly held beliefs and shatter preconceived notions about living and working in a retirement community.