Employee Intent to Stay: Ideas on Retention from the Front Line

Room: Commonwealth 1

Retention of a high-quality workforce is essential for residential treatment programs as it enhances outcomes for children and their families. Retention of workers has long been a concern in residential treatment due to low pay and high burnout. Turnover is particularly critical issue in this field, as it is not only a burden to the employer but can also disrupt the treatment trajectory for the children and families receiving services. With the addition of the stresses of a global pandemic and resulting health and safety measures, combined with an open job market, there is an increasing need to understand the most relevant factors for retaining staff. Much of the research on staff turnover and retention focuses on why people leave, but there is far less examining the most critical factors that motivate staff to stay. To address this gap in knowledge, we conducted interviews with staff who have remained employed at LaSalle School for more than five years. These interviews explored what had motivated staff to remain employed at LaSalle School longer than average and provided an opportunity for retained staff to provide suggestions for increasing intent to stay for other staff. It also examined what impact COVID has had on their intent to stay. We will highlight the most relevant themes for retaining residential treatment staff and summarize opportunities for enhancing intention to stay for the workforce. We will also provide recommendations for organizational changes to increase retention based on the feedback of the long-term workforce of LaSalle School.


Camela M. Hughes, PhD

Assistant Director of Performance and Quality Improvement , LaSalle School

Email: hughes@lasalle-school.org

Dina McManus, LCSW-R

Director of Clinical Services , LaSalle School

Email: DMcManus@lasalle-school.org