As challenging as the future of nurse staffing might look, the foundation of a sustainable post-acute nurse staffing strategy is quite simple. It’s something we call, “the 3 C’s of Hiring”—Compensation, Communication, Community—and if you stick to this framework, you’ll find that a lot of the answers to today’s and tomorrow’s hiring challenges simply fall into place. So let’s take a look at the 3 Cs approach and how it can improve employee retention and fiscal health.
Compensation is the Start
Nursing team leaders in long-term care are tasked with working out sustainable compensation plans—plans that attract and retain dedicated talent, but that also align with fiscal goals. As you refresh your approach to compensation, keep these three C’s in mind.
Competition: Acknowledge that you’re likely competing for talent
Wages for nursing professionals are pushing upwards just as nursing has become more dangerous as a profession—in the month before 8/21/22 more than 100 nursing home staff died from COVID-19. And still, burnout looms as an issue. Your task isn’t just to pay better than the facility across town. You’re now also in competition with work in other fields that compensates workers for their personal risk.
Catch Up: Shift your mindset on nurse compensation
“I think the pandemic highlighted the nurses’ value and now we’re asking to be paid that value.”
This statement is from Emily Bloom, a nurse who organized a rally outside Florida’s Capitol building in early 2022. Nursing professionals aren’t just asking for higher compensation—they’re realizing just how valuable they are to the healthcare community, meaning that you’re playing a game of “catch up” to the value nurses now know about their contribution as healthcare workers.
Communication: Think bigger about compensation packages
Your prospects and staff might not realize the full value of their package in terms of wellness, benefits, variable compensation, continuing education and upskilling opportunities, and the environment you offer them. So outline and state the value up front and with periodic reminders.
Action point: Make use of software with dynamic pricing. Offer health and wellness benefits that are competitive with not only other options in healthcare, but also other fields that your nursing staff might be interested in leaving the profession for.
Communication is your Fuel
Modern nurse staffing strategies require ongoing and direct communication. This is a key factor in building strong leadership in nursing. Keep the 3 C’s of good communication in mind as you work out your staffing strategy.
Clarity: Know what you want your long-term care staff to understand
Good communication requires planning. You’ll need a solid plan for what you want to say and the ideas you want your staff and prospects to walk away with. Keep your messages distinct and try not to include more than three at one time.
Conciseness: Keep messages short as possible
Your nursing professionals and prospects are busy and inundated with information. Few have time or the emotional energy to sift through huge walls of text. Keep sentences simple, paragraphs short, and ideas straightforward.
Consistency: Have a plan and stick to it
Communication shouldn’t come as a surprise to your staff. By getting on a solid cadence, using repetition and reinforcement, and making sure your values are clearly reflected in your communication, your audience will learn they can trust and depend on you.
Action point: Communication should be a feedback loop. Make sure you’re routinely surveying your staff and prospects about their experiences and satisfaction levels.
Community is the Culture
Building a strong sense of community is one of your most effective weapons against high turnover, burnout, and a poor clinician experience for your staff. As you build a community mindset for your nursing professionals, keep a few things in mind.
Clarity of purpose: Know what your team is trying to accomplish
Common purpose is going to be the thread that connects all of your staff, from full-time to contract and per diem, so having a distinct purpose can be incredibly powerful, especially for nursing teams. Your nursing leaders should be talking about team purpose whenever they can, and when appropriate, tying it to the individual purpose and goals of nursing team members.
Continuing education: Foster stability with better offerings
Offering continuing education and upskilling opportunities isn’t just a way to attract and retain talented nursing professionals. According to Rosalind Sloan, MAEd, BSN, RN-BC, program manager/nurse planner for The Center for Continuing Education and Professional Development at the American Nurses Association (ANA), “employers who invest in the professional development of their nurses by offering the time, resources, and funds for CE courses often see increased job satisfaction among their staff and lower turnover rates.”
The takeaway is that offering continuing education can help foster the stability and workplace well-being that is the foundation of a healthy nursing community.
Culture: It isn’t just your full-time staff
Your culture is a concept that flows not just from your employed nurses, but also through contract and per-diem workers, as well as your residents, caregivers, and the rest of your care community. Treat all of your nursing professionals as part of a team dedicated to fulfilling your purpose and serving your residents, and you’ll begin to see the true impact of the culture you’re creating.
Action point: Cultivate community among flex staff by making them feel like a part of the team. For example, invest in training flexible staff on your facility operations and standards.
The most important point to remember when applying the 3 C’s of hiring, is that your strategy isn’t happening in a vacuum. To learn how all of this ties to your organization’s decision making in the face of an economic downturn and the rise of the gig economy, set aside a lunch break to sit down with this incredibly informative webinar, Will the Recession Be Good Medicine for Your Business?
Megan is a business writer with over 15 years’ experience in healthcare enterprise technology. She holds an MBA and B.S. in Healthcare Administration. She now keeps an ongoing eye on the latest developments and successes in healthcare admin technology and the people who use it to build a better world for providers, patients, and their care communities.