Beyond Salary: Four Best Practices From the Fortune 500 for Attracting & Retaining Your Best Workforce

 In Reducing Employee Turnover

What Do Fortune 500 Companies Know?

With average turnover in the Fortune 500 in the single digits, they’re doing something right and  it’s not only about pay. Transcend Strategy Group CEO Stephanie Johnston, who spent more than 18 years working with the Fortune 500, shares four best practices senior care providers can use to turn the tide on turnover.

The Problem

With turnover in the senior care industry at 82 percent and most new employees leaving within six months, recruiting and retaining your best workforce is the most pressing challenge you’ll face. It’s a challenge Fortune 500 companies, especially those in manufacturing, have faced for more than a decade.

Start at the Root; aka … Money is a Temporary Solution

In the manufacturing world, it’s called Root Cause Analysis. Basically, root cause analysis asks “what’s the problem we’re REALLY trying to solve so we can fix it the first time?” One root cause analysis technique is called the Five Whys, and it is exactly what it sounds like. You ask Why five times to get to the root of why something is happening.

Regardless of the technique used, the turnover problem needs a serious dose of root cause analysis. Let’s look closer at what the data tells us on why people choose a job:



Research consistently shows that people leave a senior care job because of other people. Either the culture isn’t good, their current boss isn’t growing them, they don’t have a great relationship with their boss, they don’t believe patients and families are being treated well, or they’re not being developed and grown by the people around them.

If people are the reason, then why is money typically the first lever organizations pull to attract or retain talent? Well, because it’s the easiest one, the most visible and the easiest to monitor and benchmark. Also, because senior leaders spend much of their time thinking about money, it’s top of mind. That’s why it’s often referenced in exit interviews, too. It’s an easy reason to give.

Getting compensation right IS critical. Monitoring team member pay relative to market trends is a must or you will lose good people if you aren’t valuing them appropriately. Numerous compensation benchmarking tools exist, so you can compare local and regional salaries. But, if you’re serious about reducing turnover, you’ve got to dig a whole lot deeper.

Getting to and addressing the root cause takes time, but it’s well worth the effort. Understanding the root can have powerful implications for your brand, your service model, your HH/CAHPS scores … all of the service-oriented aspects of your organization. That makes it well worth the time to work on.

Meet the Four Best Practices

In essence, there are four practices top performing companies use that go beyond salary to attract and retain talent:

  1. Define, communicate and cultivate a unique value proposition
  2. Set and communicate a vision, and your strategy to get there
  3. Planfully and visibly develop people, teams and culture
  4. Establish, communicate and consistently follow a problem-solving framework

Over the coming weeks, we’ll unpack each one of these best practices in detail, giving you tools you can use to turn the tide on turnover.

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