Throughout the residential treatment world, including Calo, one of the top concerns of parents and administrative staff is managing, and, when possible, slowing down staff turnover. Justifiably, this reality is frustrating to parents, students, and fellow staff yet it remains a fact of life when working in an intense helping profession such as ours.
So that frustration regarding staff turnover may swing to understanding, I would like to explain a few of the reasons it occurs (in no particular order):
Front Line In any company, not just in the helping professions, front-end staff experience high turnover. Most of the turnover at Calo is in fact with our front-line/residential coaching position staff. In fact, Calo has had very little turnover in administration, clinical, and academic departments.
Burnout Front-line or direct care staff usually experience the highest rates of burn-out or compassion fatique in comparison to other departments. Most employees experience burn-out from time to time but residential staff often experience it with greater intensity and with more frequency. While some episodes may be a result of personality style and life experience the most common themes are related to the sheer amount of time and energy these staff spend with students compared to other departments getting their time with students in scheduled chucks. Every minute of every shift our coaches are in the mud with our students and although its rewarding, its also very difficult and draining work. Quite frankly, few have the patience and compassion to do this work year after year after year. Most RTCs are satisfied to have front-line staff last for a year. Calo exceeds a one-year average for residential staff.
Entry Level By design, a fair amount of our residential staff are college age young adults. Many of these great folks have come to work at Calo passionate about blessing lives and looking for a way to translate this aspiration into a career. Continuing higher education in psychology, education, social work, and education are the eventual goals of several of our coaches. Once accepted into college, many coaches move on from Calo as reaching their potential and furthering their career requires full-time enrollment and dedication. Most staff, even if they are not looking to advance in a helping profession career, dont accept a residential coaching position as a terminal position. In other words, while the job is very rewarding, it is not a job most folks end their careers with.
Scheduling Our front line staff work long and difficult schedules. Not only are their job descriptions tough but most coaches work five days with eight+ hour shifts that either require being at Calo before 6:30 AM or leaving Calo after 10:00 PM. Most coaches, at best, have every other weekend off.
Thankless While the parents of our students feel gratitude for those who care for their children, most staff often dont hear or feel a lot of this thankfulness. In short, our staff are required to give a lot but get little in return. Calling it a thankless job is not a stretch. At Calo we attempt to show gratitude to our staff but most coaches and therapists give so much emotional and physical energy to our students that they will never hear enough appreciation.
Limited Growth Those looking to quickly advance in a company would find difficulty doing so in the residential treatment world as a residential coach. The opposite is true for non-residential staff. Why? Because most leadership or higher paying positions require specialized degrees and/or training that is only offered at accredited universities and schools. We have tried to buck this trend at Calo by doing some intense in-house training which allows for residential staff to progress from residential coaches to shift lead levels I, II, and III. We also offer a very competitive wage to our staff, provide great benefits and require paid time off so our current staff feel taken care of and we can continue to attract a wide pool of applicants to be selective with at hiring time.
If you are a parent of a student at Calo, please accept this invitation to express gratitude to the staff taking care of your student. You show trust and support in Calo by having your child remain in our care but taking an extra minute to say Thank you goes a long way to re-charge the human spirit.