Thursday, July 21, 2022

Staff Retention and Workplace Satisfaction in Hospice and Palliative Care

By Ross Hoffman, MBA

“Always treat your employees
exactly as you want them
to treat your best customers.”
–Stephen Covey

Covey was on to something. In hospice and palliative care, our patients are important to us and our company. We also know that our employees drive the measure of success regarding the care each patient receives. So how do we increase the care we show our employees to help them be successful? With increases in the cost of living, a changing pandemic environment, and growing tensions regarding social and political issues, staff retention and employee satisfaction deserves more attention than ever before. The way we did things ten years ago just doesn’t work, and a dollar raise with a pat on the back isn’t enough. We are finding that employees are looking for more than a job; they want to know that they are working for a company that cares about its employees, their families, and about the concerns of the public. They are looking for purpose in what they do, and they want to know that they’re with a company that will keep up with their needs during these challenging times. 

How do we approach this shift? Well, we need to get to the bottom of what goes on in our organization. Having 100+ employees with different needs is a lot to tackle, but it can be done. How can we find out the root cause, or causes, of our current situation on a large scale? And how can we do so anonymously, so that employees can tell it like it truly is? We may not always like what we find out, but it’s the only way to get on the path to retaining great, hard-working team members, keeping them not just satisfied, but hungry for more.

Can a survey help with this? Yes, it can. Surveys have helped world-class organizations steer in the right direction to remain the very best. But they did so through intentional action, considering and implementing their employees’ suggestions and ideas, and swallowing their pride by getting rid of unwanted, outdated practices. Surveys can transform raw feedback into actionable data. 

What can we measure with surveys? One of the biggest online survey companies, Survey Monkey, states: “[Companies] can measure satisfaction with benefits, compensation, work environment, opportunities for growth, and other topics related to employee morale. By using a survey and guaranteeing anonymity, employees are empowered to answer truthfully. Feedback obtained from an employee satisfaction survey can be used to improve conditions in the workplace, shape policies, and provide a benchmark for future satisfaction surveys.”

In hospice and palliative care, our employees work in sensitive situations with patients and their families. The greater the employee satisfaction, the more our teams will be able to focus on the things that matter most. They’ll know they work for a company that cares about them as individuals. This, in turn, will drive them to provide the best possible experience, with a positive attitude that patients can see and feel.

The words of Stephen Covey above mean more to us because we know that every single one of our patients deserves the very best palliative and end-of-life care. That means that every one of our employees must be heard. Gathering real feedback so we can make better strategic decisions will ultimately translate into the world class medical care we promise our patients.

The Next Generation Leadership Council’s intergenerational sub-committee has created this survey to gather valuable feedback to help strengthen relationships within the hospice and palliative care workforce. The sub-committee will be using the data collected here in many ways and plans to present some of its findings at NHPCO’s 2022 Interdisciplinary Conference. 

Please take two minutes to complete this survey.

Once you’ve completed the survey, check out NHPCO’s lineup for the 2022 Interdisciplinary Conference, and be sure to register if you want to learn even more strategies for employee recruitment and retention. 


Ross Hoffman, MBA is the Director of Operations at Hoffmann Hospice, Bakersfield, CA and serves on NHPCO’s Next Generation Leadership Council