8 Approaches to Build Employee Culture Without Breaking the Bank

Posted by Annie Keough on March 21, 2021


Attracting and retaining qualified employees has become increasingly difficult for senior living organizations. With senior care workers facing under appreciation, burnout from high workloads, and low wages, retaining existing employees is hard enough, let alone drawing in new ones. Many of these senior living organizations attempt to attract employees with an increase in monetary incentives. While effective, financial incentives are not possible for all communities, particularly in light of COVID-19’s effects on many communities’ financial positions.

Providing staff with non-monetary benefits was shown to be a greater motivator in long-term engagement than financial compensation. While monetary incentives come with the benefit of cash, some employees simply desire rewards that make them feel heard and valued. In the senior care field, communication between employer and staff is key in achieving this, and through technology, it can be attained both onsite and virtually.

Value ideas’ are benefits given to the employee that are of greater value than the monetary costs to the employer, making them preferable to more expensive bumps in direct compensation. Here are some examples of value ideas that could be used to benefit employees:

  • TaskRabbit / Upwork Credits 

Too much work on an employee’s plate can result in burnout and a decrease in productivity. Encouraging employees to ‘outsource’ the aspect of their job they dislike doing the most allows time to focus on core tasks and promotes growth within the workplace. Providing a monthly discretionary budget for certain employees to hire freelancers or contractors through TaskRabbit is a step towards easing employee’s workloads and decreasing stress.

  • Book / Continuing Education Credits  

Allowing employees to continue their education is a benefit for both the employer and employee. Providing a monthly budget for employees to continue their professional development and education via books, networking events, or courses allows them to fine-tune their skills and develop new ones, effectively improving performance. Supporting employee’s education also makes them feel valued, which increases the likelihood of retention.

  • Seating Exchange 

While it may seem simple, changing workplace seating every few months can come with multiple benefits. When employees are free to trade their desks amongst themselves to set up a more comfortable seating arrangement for everyone, it causes a positive change in the workplace. Changing the seating arrangements every few months increases productivity, encourages collaborations between teams, and improves energy levels among staff.

  • Awards  

Highlighting employee’s hard work is one of the simplest ways to make them feel appreciated and seen. Implementing awards in the workplace satisfies an employee’s desire to be recognized and appreciated for their contributions, and also fosters a fun, creative, and more collaborative work environment.

Awards like “Rookie of the Year” or the classic “Employee of the Month” are good places to start. Even highlighting ‘silly’ awards like “Mistake of the Month,” “Best Work Mom/Dad,” or “Workplace Prankster” are unique ways to personalize the award and make them more memorable.

  • ‘Hackathons’ 

‘Hackathons’ are short periods of time - hours or days - in which employees are split into small teams, receive a problem or prompt to solve, and begin collaborating to rapidly prototype a solution. 

  • Hackathons give employees a break from their usual workflow and encourages them to be creative, resulting in innovative sourcing, improved workflow, higher rates of recruitment and retention, and developing stronger bonds with coworkers. They can be structured as competitions with each team competing to provide the best solution, or each team could be asked to focus on different small subsets of the Hackathon’s overall problem or prompt.
  • Date Night Child Care  

Some employees have to go from providing care at work to caring for their children at home, which gives the sense of working 24 hours a day. Providing free childcare one night per month for employees allows them the break that they deserve to rest, and gives them something to look forward to.

  • Referral Program

Creating a referral program comes with many benefits for both employees and employers. Employees hired through referral programs are shown to stay with that company longer and work harder than those who are hired by other means. Referral programs are also more cost-effective by cutting down on recruitment costs. 

  • By putting the power of finding the next hire in the hands of the employee, they are more likely to feel empowered and trusted by the company. Employees will enjoy the reward of a bonus for referring other associates to join their workplace, which motivates them to continue bringing in more hires.
  • Credits to Campus Amenities 

Most communities already offer residents amenities like dry cleaning, salon & spa, or restaurant access, and providing these benefits to staff is an easy way to make them feel excited to go to work. Allowing employees access to these amenities will make for a more positive work environment and make them feel like their efforts were valued. Another way to implement amenities is by partnering with nearby business owners for common services, such as car washes.

General Wellzesta Marketing Assets (30)Wellzesta Elevate 

Wellzesta’s Elevate platform is designed to combat employee turnover in senior living communities by increasing job satisfaction among all of your teams. Empowering associates and making them feel heard is a top priority in employee retention.

Elevate allows communities to provide additional benefits to staff by focusing on holistic wellness, streamlining communication across campuses, and making work fun.

Valuing your team goes beyond monetary compensation, and sometimes all an employee wants is to be recognized and appreciated for their hard work. These value ideas will allow communities to show that appreciation towards staff and simultaneously fight employee turnover by making work a fun place to be. 

Wellzesta Elevate makes it easy for you to get started by offering a large library of events, templates, and ideas.

Click here to learn more about Wellzesta Elevate, or get in touch with a member of our Sales team.