In hospice, your only product is service, and nothing is more important to that than proper staffing. No matter how powerful your mission statement is or how beautiful your facility, your people have to be service-oriented and fully committed to the work. Hospice doesn’t run on a nine-to-five, five-day week; it’s 24/7, and we can never be less than our best. We deal daily with the dying and the grieving, and that means that everyone, from the social worker to the nurses’ aide to the bookkeeper, has to be emotionally stable and mature enough to handle that.
What do you look for in a potential hire? My first priority in doing executive searches for clients today is the same as it was when I was hiring as an hospice Executive Director; I look for people who have a belief in something greater than themselves. I don’t mean religion necessarily, but faith in goodness, faith in humankind, faith in the rightness of the universe. People who are comfortable with themselves, who are curious, independent, confident and flexible are best able to adapt to the challenges hospice care can throw at them, because often we find ourselves caring for people in less than ideal settings and we’ve got to be able to project calm self-confidence no matter what.
What hiring practices should you have in place to ensure that the people you bring on board are the best possible fit for your organization? How do you support them once they’re there?