Is it true that, more than anything else, senior living employees want to feel appreciated for their work?


Two things we have found to be universally true from 15 years of surveying senior living employees:

  1. Recognition and praise for a job well done is the number one driver of engagement and intention to stay for employees working in senior living communities.
  2. While feeling recognized is critical to the happiness of senior living employees, they consistently report lower levels of satisfaction with recognition than other areas.

Now for the good news.  This insight is not just academic.  It can be used to make practical and meaningful changes in your senior living workplace that result in a happier, more productive team.

Sensight Surveys recently talked face-to-face with a large group of employees working in a senior care environment.  We wanted to know what recognition at work looks like to them and what their bosses can do to become better at providing it.

We discovered that recognition comes in two basic forms:  formal and informal.

Examples of formal recognition include things like pay raises, bonuses, employee of the month plaques, employee anniversary parties, and on-time performance appraisals.

Informal recognition occurs in the moment.  It includes simple gestures like a pat on the back, a spontaneous thank you, being called out for good work by peers, or a supervisor who asks a coworker to assist when s/he sees an employee who is overly busy.

These discussions taught us that senior living employees truly appreciate both kinds of recognition.

Now for the really good news.  We have mounting evidence that providing formal and informal recognition to senior living employees positively impacts their engagement and retention levels.

Check out the two charts below that show employees are more likely to feel engaged and less likely to think of leaving their job than their coworkers when they believe management is making an effort to improve recognition at work.  These outcomes are based on responses from approximately 4,000 senior living employees surveyed in 2015.  The beneficial outcome we hope to see when these same employees are surveyed again in 2016 is higher retention, better customer service scores, and less effort and spending on hiring and training new employees.

Engagement Recognition

Retention Recognition

What has worked for you when it comes to improving employee recognition in your senior living environment?  We want to know!