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Employment Supports Are a Retention Strategy

By Kezia Scales, PhD (she/her) | August 15, 2018

Editor’s Note: This excerpt is from Growing a Strong Direct Care Workforce: A Recruitment and Retention Guide for Employers.

Despite their commitment, direct care workers may face significant obstacles to remaining in their jobs, such as challenges with childcare, transportation, housing, immigration, or health care. Employers can bolster retention rates by supporting workers in managing these issues.

Here is what you can do

  • Implement a process for continuously learning about your employees’ needs, and cultivate contacts with community agencies to help meet those needs.
  • If possible, hire an on-site counselor or job coach who can connect workers with community resources and assist them with their job-related questions.
  • Let employees know about existing supports and services, and train managers, supervisors, and peer mentors to make referrals when needs arise.
  • Support employees through short-term emergencies that might disrupt their abilities to conduct their work. For example, connect them to emergency loans or car repair funds, when necessary

Cultural and Linguistic Competence Is Essential

Cultural and linguistic competence can be defined as recognition and respect for the range of factors that inform each person’s values, beliefs, and practices and shape their opportunities and experiences. In broad terms, it is rooted in an understanding of the harmful effects of discrimination and inequality, and requires targeted strategies for supporting individuals and communities to overcome barriers to success.

Among individuals, cultural and linguistic competence requires self-reflection about one’s own experiences and assumptions, and skills in cross-cultural communication and interaction. Recognizing the extensive diversity among direct care workers and their clients, it is critical to embed cultural and linguistic competence in every recruitment and retention strategy, including training methods and content, employment supports, and supervision.


How can long-term care providers improve their recruitment and retention? Read our new guide, where you can also find a list of citations.

Kezia Scales, PhD (she/her)
About The Author

Kezia Scales, PhD (she/her)

Vice President of Research & Evaluation
Kezia Scales leads PHI’s strategy for building the evidence base on state and national policies and workforce interventions that improve direct care jobs, elevate this essential workforce, and strengthen care processes and outcomes.

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