It’s no secret that the senior living industry faces significant challenges regarding staffing recruitment and retention. According to Senior Living Works, the senior living industry will need to recruit an additional 1.4 million workers in the next 4 years. To fill all these open positions with quality candidates that will last, senior living communities should be aware of the most effective places to post their available jobs. Before we dive into recruitment, let’s explore the various ways that high staff turnover can affect a senior living community.
Causes of High Turnover
High staff turnover is a red flag for prospective residents. Prospects may hear from unsatisfied staff around town or even ask you about staff retention directly on tours. A reputation for high staff turnover shows prospective clients that something isn’t quite right in your community. Especially in smaller communities, maintaining a reputation for satisfied staff can directly impact your move-ins.
Quality of care
High staff turnover directly impacts the care your community can provide for its residents. New staff requires in-depth training before being trusted with the sensitive work of caring for residents. When learning any set of skills, it can take time to become effective. Additionally, if your community is constantly training new staff, this may distract and limit existing staff from providing high-level care.
The shorter a staff member spends in your community, the less time they have to form strong connections with residents. For your community to really feel like a community, residents should feel a connection with your staff that goes beyond simply providing for their daily necessities. The relationship between high staff turnover and poor resident experience can be cyclical. Residents can get stressed out by a constant stream of new faces, and behaviors from stressed-out residents can further contribute to unsatisfied staff.
Another destructive effect of low staff retention to consider is the financial impact. A constant barrage of new staff means more time spent on fielding candidates, processing HR intake forms, and training. All of this costs time and money, cutting into the time you could be focusing on your residents and prospective move-ins.
Staff retention and recruitment are strongly intertwined. Disgruntled former employees are more likely to be vocal about their experience with others. If someone had a negative employment experience in your senior living community, they might not hesitate to write about it on the job boards where you are trying to recruit new employees. A couple of job boards, like Glassdoor, offer former employees the opportunity to review every aspect of their employment experience. Working in a community with high staff turnover can be very challenging, and is something that may raise concern for new candidates.
Next, we’ll explore creative ways to address staffing issues at the source- recruitment. While additional factors affect your employees’ success and longevity, one way to combat high staff turnover is to reach strong candidates from the beginning.
where to post your opening
1. Job boards
First on our list is the tried and true method of reaching new employees. There are countless online options nowadays, but we recommend sticking to a few tried and true sites. These job boards make it easy for employees to advertise all relevant aspects of the job and to conduct an initial screen of applicants. The easier a site makes it for applicants to apply the larger your candidate pool will be. Each of these job boards has its own flavor and target demographic, so it’s helpful to explore the pages first and get a feel for how other companies are engaging and what type of applicant each might attract.
Also consider posting within groups or to your network on social media outlets as a way to reach more potential candidates, especially those specific to senior livng.
2. University Bulletins
Your community should also consider marketing your senior living job to students in relevant fields. College and university departments often have bulletin boards available for relevant opportunities. Your hiring coordinator could set up a meeting with professors in departments like psychology and nursing to reach students who are about to enter the workforce, and who have applicable knowledge and skills.
Consider partnering with a local university for internships or with universities with gerontology, social work and nursing programs as a way to find relevant candidates.
Another great source of applicants is referrals from current and former employees. The benefit of referrals is that you already have a working relationship with someone who knows this person’s character and can vouch for their ability to work well in your community. Current and former employees know what it takes to be successful in your community, and can provide names of relatives or friends who may also be a good fit. To encourage referrals, consider offering staff an incentive for referring new hires who complete 6 months of work in your community.
Some communities have also found success by reaching out to former employees and maintaining strong relationships with those who may have left.
4. Other Industries
A Gallup report examining workforce trends revealed that 21% of millennials had changed jobs in the past year. Since the pandemic, the rate of inter-industry movement has only increased. Unlike previous generations, millennials feel more open to changing career paths multiple times. As a result, your senior living community has an opportunity to recruit talent from other industries where applicants have transferable skills like social work, housekeeping, nursing, etc.
5. Social Media Postings
Our final recommendation is to utilize social media outlets to market your open position. Just as with the job boards, each of these outlets has its own style and target demographic, so consider this when crafting your post on each.
You may consider posting your open jobs on a separate page of your social media so that families of residents looking for updates on their loved ones aren’t constantly faced with job advertisements, which may send the wrong message.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the job market has changed dramatically. To craft an effective recruitment strategy, your community should pay attention to current employment data and trends. Job seekers have a lot of options these days, so it is not enough for your community to simply post one bland job post in a single place. To increase your chances of reaching strong candidates, consider taking the time to craft a thoughtful and engaging job post and publishing it across various platforms.