By Juanita Nyce, Vice President of Mission Engagement and
Jane Rogers, Recruitment Coordinator
Have you been able to recruit new staff during this pandemic – if so, how are you doing that? Anything that is working well in particular?
Peaceful Living has been able to recruit new employees during the pandemic. We continue to test marketing strategies, including expanding outreach and job posting channels, communicating what we can do for the potential employee, inviting current employees to refer applicants, and emphasizing opportunities for meaningful work. Our job ads are working well for us right now. We attribute this to sponsoring positions on Indeed, listing the site location rather than our home office, increasing the hourly wage at medically intensive homes, offering a sign-on bonus, and implementing intentional engagement and follow-up strategies. Multiple personal touches from our Recruitment Coordinator throughout the interview and onboarding process help Peaceful Living stand out in the marketplace.
Any tips that you’re learning on how to onboard or orient in distance/online modes?
Peaceful Living continues to onboard team members using Zoom. While our Training Coordinator seeks participation, we recognize that new employees do not enjoy the same experience as those oriented pre-pandemic. We’ve found that getting the full team involved – Executive Team, Directors, Managers – helps new employees feel part of something bigger and have context for their role. The pandemic has coincided with evaluating and refining our recruitment and onboarding process. Along with welcome reminders by phone, text, and email ahead of orientation, our Recruitment Coordinator emails every new employee immediately before their online orientation begins with a personalized welcome that includes their name, position, site, supervisor, and all necessary contact info. In addition, we have increased the frequency of check-ins after orientation. Peaceful Living is continually evaluating our onboarding process with an interdisciplinary team to learn how we can engage new employees even better.
Are you experiencing more staff turnover now or less?
Peaceful Living is experiencing more staff turnover now, primarily with employees hired since March 2020. 66% (23) of those hired post-COVID have been employed less than 3 months, so the full impact is unknown at this time. We are presently evaluating our recruitment and onboarding strategies in order to increase retention. Overall, the new employees who are staying are devoted, qualified, and aligned with Peaceful Living’s Core 5 values.
What do you attribute that to?
We are trying to understand more about this trend. We wonder if some people we hire are just looking for “a job for right now” rather than looking for “this job”. We also wonder if the positions employees are accepting are more difficult than expected as the bulk of our current openings are at one of our most medically intensive homes
And finally, in general, how are your staff doing and how has Peaceful Living adapted to the pandemic challenges? Peaceful Living’s team has risen to the occasion and is thriving. A COVID-19 taskforce was key to this success. Our current employees have adjusted well to the protocols and procedures necessitated by the pandemic. Peaceful Living has not had layoffs, providing security and alleviating anxiety for team members. We are fortunate to be in a strong financial position. The organization has been able to award appreciation (hazard) pay to recognize the dedication of front-line employees during the pandemic. Team members who work in programs with mandated closures were able to work in Residential Services. Staying connected through virtual Zoom all-team meetings and weekly check-ins, which included time to honor front-line employees, have been well received. Frequent, calm communication based on facts enables employees, individuals, and families to adapt as needed. Employees have been appreciative of the ability to work remotely whenever possible as well as access to the tools and resources needed to do their work in a new way. Peaceful Living has adapted very well and continues to pivot in an evolving landscape.