With all the financial pressures faced by the hospice industry these days, it’s refreshing to hear news that doesn’t have a large price tag attached to it. The high turnover rate for home health workers is a big problem, but a job satisfaction survey shows that keeping them happy doesn’t have to cost a thing.

In 2015, the US Department of Health and Human Services released the results of its survey: “Predictors of Job Satisfaction and Intent To Leave Among Home Health Workers: An Analysis of the National Home Health Aide Survey.” The survey asked 160,720 home health workers about their job satisfaction and whether they intended to leave their current jobs. Not surprisingly, the survey discovered a direct correlation between job satisfaction and a worker’s intention to leave. Survey respondents said that respect was more important than wages when it came to their job satisfaction. So hospice and palliative care administrators, take heart, not all problems have an expensive solution. There are three no-cost ways to keep your home health aides happy, boost their job satisfaction, and reduce staff turnover.

1. “I Respect You.”

The home health workers survey revealed that job satisfaction depended heavily on feeling respected by a supervisor. It doesn’t cost a thing to encourage supervisors and hospice nurse managers to make sure that their workers feel respected. Telling aides, “I respect you” is a good start, but you can also show respect with regular contact, taking the time to touch base, and listening to their concerns and suggestions. In the survey, aides who reported feeling respected by their supervisors all had lower intentions to leave.

2. “You Are a Valued Member of Our Team.”

The survey responses highlighted the importance of feeling valued by the organizations they work for. Telling an employee, “You are a valued member of our team” is another no-cost way to boost their job satisfaction. Foster a culture of celebrating achievements and giving positive feedback. Providing a few minutes of positive recognition of an employee’s performance once a month can dramatically increase their job satisfaction. If your aides feel that they are valued members of the team, they will be less likely to leave.

3. “You Are Involved in Challenging Work.”

Those who were happiest and had higher job satisfaction felt they were involved in challenging work. The long hours, stressful environment and the emotional demands of the job can be rewarding, but can also lead to compassion fatigue, burnout and high staff turnover. Hospice administrators and nursing managers need to remind staff that they are engaged in important work – providing quality end-of-life care and emotional support to patients, families and caregivers. Taking the time to acknowledge that they are involved in challenging work is going to result in greater job satisfaction for your staff, but will cost you nothing.

By implementing these three no-cost strategies – showing respect, emphasizing value and acknowledging the challenging yet rewarding work they do every day, hospice professionals can protect against high staff turnover rates and ensure higher job satisfaction among their staff.