Please read additional disclaimer at the end of this article.
When you find an employee who wants to work, appreciates the mission of the company, and cares enough to bring concerns to your attention, you've got a treasure! And if you have several treasures like this as part of your organization, it is wise to recognize how to keep them with you for a long time. Employees who are passionate about their job might tolerate a lot. But if you lose sight of your company's mission and ignore the warning signs of discontent, be prepared to lose big! Your employees are not just the people you have to pay to do a job. They are your source of life. They will inadvertently market your program without you ever knowing it. Every time they are on their way to a shift and stop by the Dutch Bros. or Starbucks for their jolt of energy, you are being reviewed. Every time someone asks them where they work, you are being reviewed. Every time someone on social media asks for a reference of places to apply for a job, you are being reviewed.
Working in a health care setting is especially challenging. Patients come in with various concerns such as trauma responses, substance abuse, suicide attempts, and medication adjustments. The ages range from young children all the way through the life span to geriatrics. Additionally, they are tasked with keeping everyone safe, fed, and provided with activities throughout their stay. Although it takes a patient and empathic heart to do the job of a Mental Health Tech (MHT), these amazing individuals are often underpaid and overworked. Many programs continue to accept patients even when staffing is short; this places everyone at risk and subject to potentially unsafe circumstances.
Mental Health Techs and Nursing staff in mental health facilities have been known to get hit, spit upon, kicked, and sustain injuries to include concussions, bloody noses, lacerations, bites, and broken bones. There is no hazard pay. Handle with Care Training to minimize these types of injuries is provided but is no guarantee. Learning to de-escalate agitated patients is a part of the training and always the first choice. The pay for these positions is low, given the acuity on some units. Considering the amount that gets billed to insurance companies and the salaries of some CEOs, it is unconscionable that employees are not better compensated for their skills and experiences. (Check out Indeed.com positions and read the reviews. Salaries might also be available for viewing on this site.)
Instead of investing in current employees and considering how to improve pay for them, some companies chose to ignore this element of staff retention and continue to support the revolving door of new employees. When current staff talk with new staff, they inevitably discover that new employees get hired at a higher rate of pay than loyal and dedicated staff members. Additionally, new employees are being offered a "sign on bonus" when current staff cannot get a decent pay raise. Adding pennies to an hourly wage is insulting and will never be equitable when compared to what newer, often less qualified staff members are offered.
Article sponsored by: Purple Trail.com
Keeping valuable employees is critical to the success of Mental Health Hospitals! Your community talks. Read those online reviews and stay in touch with social media. Listen to your employees. If they bring concerns to you that draw awareness to patient care and safety, pay attention! Ignoring or minimizing these concerns is poor management, a potential nightmare when state is notified by a patient's family member, and a great way for your marketing department to look like liars when what they promise and promote doesn't match the reality of your facility. You can't fake it forever.
Here are ten guaranteed ways to chase away amazing employees who work for a mental health hospital:
1. Underestimate their skills and abilities.
2. Assume your employees won't discuss their salaries and compare them to new hires.
3. Complain to your employees in a staff meeting that you don't know why people don't stay and ask them for ideas on how to encourage people to stay. (After staff has already made you aware of the reasons.)
4. Ignore unsafe work environments and continue to increase census through staffing shortages.
5. When an employee is injured/exposed to illness on the job, take their time off to recover out of their PTO.
6. Ignore those work order requests that would help maintain a facility.
7. Make up stuff that looks good on your website even though the reality of your patient's experiences will be very different...and not in a good way.
8.Do not clean the carpets or walls. Keep the writing on the furniture that includes every curse word known and unknown to humans. And make sure that all those penis illustrations on the shelves and under the desks in patient rooms stays there as long as possible so future patients can enjoy them.
9.Create a need for "treasure hunts" every shift so your staff has to search for the supplies and snacks needed to provide services to the patients.
10. Minimize concerns that staff presents to you. The same staff that could save you $ by pointing out flaws in your contracts for linens and other supplies will become frustrated and annoyed that those in charge are "too busy" to address these concerns. Especially after being told that there is no money in the budget to provide a decent cost of living increase.
Article sponsored by: Purple Trail.com
And if you want to know how to retain your treasured staff, just review this list of ten and do the opposite. Thank you to all the amazing mental health workers who continue to have patience with their patients...and all the administrative BS that accompanies this career choice. We can and need to do better for the patients in our care and for the staff.
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