Ethical business practices and strong leadership are keys to employee retention and satisfaction, according to hospice organizations on Fortune Magazine’s annual list of “Best Workplaces in Aging Services.”
Fortune collected insight from more than 243,000 senior care health workers across 4,220 locations nationwide.
Fortune annually surveys workers from a range of industries on their perceptions regarding their employers. The survey is based on a “Trust Index” that includes 60 statements using a 100-point scale as well as open-ended questions.
California-based Butte Home Health & Hospice ranked seventh in the “At-Home Care” workplace category. It was also recently named among Fortune’s “Top 100 Small Workplaces.”
Among the key areas in which the hospice organization has stood out is their management approach, according to Robert Love, executive director, Butte Home Health & Hospice. The organization’s staff ranked its leadership in the top 100% for two metrics: competent business management and honest and ethical business practices.
“We believe it’s good to be brutally honest about our performance as managers and of the perception of our organization,” Love told Hospice News in an email. “We make sure we understand what drives our team members and what ignites their passion for why they got into health care in the first place. Then we put them in a position where they see more of this.”
Established in 1984, the nonprofit home health and hospice provider employs more than 100 interdisciplinary professionals who serve patients across Butte, Glenn, and Tehama counties in the Golden State.
During the last four years Butte has refocused their approach to recruitment and retention, starting with bringing in leaders who have strong communication skills and understand the value of demonstrating appreciation for employees, according to Love.
“This agency started almost 40 years ago, but we completely reformed and restructured the organization just about four years ago when we formed a new management team,” said Love. “It’s a real process to build the right environment, and I don’t believe we would have done as well on our survey during the first year. We have technology tools in place so that we have channels to communicate [with staff].”
Important concepts in Butte’s “playbook” for forming an efficient and ethical management team include hiring leaders who will work towards employee, patient and family satisfaction, and those who focus on growth and reputation in the community, Love said.
Careful and selective hiring practices are also crucial to creating a positive and sustainable work environment, according to Love.
“It’s a difficult time to recruit clinical staff, but I’d avoid the temptation to hire someone just because they have the basic requirements of a clinical license,” Love told Hospice News. “You really have to bring on the right people, because they’re the ones who ultimately make up who you are as an organization. If they aren’t contributing to creating a supportive atmosphere for everyone else, then it’s going to prevent you from being great.”
The one factor that Fortune’s best workplace agencies had in common is that they all “put their team first,” according to Love.
Other hospices named among Fortune’s best workplaces included California-based Apex Home Health & Hospice and Florida-based Avow Hospice.
Apex ranked fourth in the “At-Home Care” category. In addition to home health and hospice, the company’s continuum of services include skilled nursing, physical therapy, nutritional guidance, durable medical equipment, and pharmacy. Since Apex was established in 2005, its employees have served more than 20,000 seniors across Orange County in California. The company currently has 53 employees.
Similar to Butte Home Health & Hospice, Apex’s employees ranked the company’s management in the top 100% for competency in running the business, along with honest and ethical business practices. Other top scoring categories were management approachability.
When polled, 100% of employees indicated that Apex was “a great place to work,” according to the company. Apex also ranked 25th for the “Best Small Workplaces” category.
Most Apex employees agreed with the statement: “My leader is a unique individual who cares for her employees as well as the community we serve. Everyone here shares the philosophy of keeping our patients safe and happy,” according to Fortune.
For Avow Hospice, providing staff with “educational support, engagement programs and creating a culture of caring” are keys to developing a great place to work, the company indicated on its website. Avow’s staff provide pediatric and adult palliative and hospice care to patients and families across Southwest Florida.
Apex Hospice and Avow Hospice did not respond to Hospice News’ requests for comment.
Avow offers benefits packages that include bereavement leave for the loss of family and pets, an employee assistance program, in-house continuing education opportunities, tuition reimbursement and discounted memberships at local fitness centers.
Ongoing educational and career development opportunities are significant factors in employee satisfaction and retention, according to Butte Home Health & Hospice’s Love.
“Staff really appreciate educational opportunities, and these investments in our team makes us a better agency,” Love told Hospice News. “You can’t forget this is a people business, and it’s all about the team, the patients, and their families. If you take the focus off the team or patients, then you’re not going to reach your potential.”