Consistency is extremely important for individuals with special needs. I know for my grandsons changes in routine can really throw them for a loop. Unfortunately, changes in staff sometimes happen frequently. I read a quote from Richard Branson this week which stated “Train people well enough so they can leave…. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” This really had a ring of truth to me. In September my mother started living in a long term care facility. They recently have had a great deal of turnover in staff, which makes mom feel nervous and unsafe. When individuals feel unsafe behavior issues often increase. For example, mom’s list of complaints grow, the food is horrible, she discovers new bumps or rashes on skin, and her roommate keeps it too hot, the list can go on and on. The bottom line is her favorite nurse left and a stable replacement has yet to be found. I think the Branson quote can be a key to helping build consistency in the human service field.

First individuals who feel equipped and trained to handle situations that arise feel comfortable and safe in performing the job. Just like the individuals we serve feeling unsafe in a situation increases stress, anxiety and our reactions to the situation. That is the reason we encourage the level of training that we do. It is also important to debrief after an incident, discuss what we did well and what can be done better the next time. This helps uncover areas that need more attention during training.

Second, when quality time and money is put into training an employee, we should treat them well. Treating people well is not just about the amount of money given. Yes, paying enough that people can live is important, but showing appreciation for a job well done is also key. Sadly, all too often we constantly call upon our best employees to fill in the gaps, cover extra shifts, until they burn the candle at both ends and burn out.

Strive to build consistency for the individuals we serve through quality selection and training of staff. Then create a work environment that makes them never want to leave!! According to Steve Jobs “The only way to do Great work is the Love what you do!!!”

Randel Goad – Mandt Faculty Supervisor