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10 Workforce Trends for 2022. How Will You Adapt? By Julie Rupenski, Founder & CEO, MedBest Recruiting

From businesses to individuals, we have all been affected one way or another by the pandemic. We can't deny that how we work and the way we work has changed. For most organizations, including those in senior living, there's no going back. It's either adapt or get left behind.

With that in mind, here are 10 pandemic accelerated trends that will help to shape the senior living workforce in 2022.

-The Great Resignation Continues into Q1

The most discussed trend of 2021 has been The Great Resignation. The Great Resignation is the ongoing trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs in mass numbers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Forbes, 4.4 million people quit their jobs in September 2021. This trend will likely carry over into Q1 of 2022. The number one reason cited for quitting a job in healthcare and senior living is burnout.

-Staffing Shortages Intensify

Due to The Great Resignation along with losing staff to other industries where the pay is higher and jobs are easier, the staffing shortages in senior living will only intensify. Senior Housing News reported that a new survey from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), found that 77% of assisted living providers feel their overall workforce situation has gotten worse since June. Among skilled nursing operators, 57% reported that their workforce situation has gotten “much worse” since June, with 59% reporting high-level staffing shortages.

-Workers Want Flexibility

The pandemic caused all industries including senior living to rethink the way work is done. Many workers now crave the flexibility that companies implemented during the pandemic.  A large portion of workers would rather quit than go back to a traditional work schedule. Plus, many will jump ship to join organizations that allow them to stay completely remote or take advantage of a hybrid work schedule. The pandemic has given employees ample time to review and restructure their working lives how they see fit.

-Employers Place More Focus on Employee Well-Being

We've come a long way from subsidized gym memberships and fruit in the lunchroom. Employers are beginning to understand the importance of building employee wellness programs that include physical, mental, and financial health. Expect to see more paid time off, healthy eating initiatives, fitness challenges, accessible resources and tools to manage mental health and stress, more collaborative work environments, professional career development and training, etc. Organizations that value the well-being of their employees will become “Employers of Choice.”

-Diversity & Inclusion Top of Mind 

No longer are diversity and inclusion just good ideas but are essential initiatives. A diverse and inclusive workplace includes everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for the organization and makes them feel equally involved in all areas of the workplace. According to Great Places to Work, the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce include higher revenue growth, readiness to innovate, increased ability to recruit talent, and 5.4 times higher employee retention rates.

-Upskilling & Cross Training Ongoing  

The critical need for upskilling and cross training became obvious in 2020 & 2021 and senior living organizations will continue to place emphasis on both. Upskilling provides staff the opportunity for additional education and training in order to be promoted from within. Ultimately, it plays an important role in succession planning and staff retention. Cross-training is the process of developing new skills that apply across different senior living positions. Leadership basically matches workers with other organizational roles and activities. This way, staff is trained and ready to pitch-in during challenging times.

-Chief Culture Officer Title Gains Ground

All organizations across industries are aware of the importance of culture.  Enter the Chief Culture Officer. Per Indeed, the title of Chief Culture Officer (CCO) is growing in popularity. This C-level executive reviews company goals, values and day-to-day practices (including diversity & inclusion) and aligns them. A CCO most likely has a background in Human Resources or Organizational Behavior.  A strong and positive culture in a senior care setting can result in fulfilled residents and more satisfied team members.

-Infection Preventionists in High Demand

The demand for Infection Preventionists is higher than ever before. The Global Infection Control Market is forecasted to reach USD $31.99 Billion by 2027, per a report by Reports and Data.  Infection Preventionists have been on the front lines of addressing COVID in our senior care and healthcare settings and now have been asked to help out other sectors including, hospitality and entertainment. However, there aren't enough Infection Preventionists to meet the growing demand and currently, there's no straight career path to becoming an Infection Preventionist. Fortunately, many universities are looking into creating a degreed program and interest among students seems high.

-Need for Interim Talent Rapidly Growing

Many senior care and healthcare organizations need temporary reinforcement for heavy workloads, staff replacements, sudden vacancies, clinical consulting, etc. The need for interim talent has been accelerated by the pandemic as well as the current tight labor market. Onboarding Interim staff and interim leadership can calm the anxiety of workers as well as provide a safeguard when it comes to maintaining organizational stability and success.

-New Digital Care Technologies Continue to Emerge

The impact of COVID highlighted the pressing need to implement leading edge technologies and placed emphasis on training staff accordingly. Digital healthcare technologies are essential for improved healthcare and quality of life for seniors. New senior care technologies like real-time location systems and artificial intelligence-enabled cameras, can help providers in the areas of connectivity, infection prevention, emergency communication and response, contact tracing, and fall prevention.

ABOUT MEDBEST

MedBest is an award-winning national Executive Search Firm exclusive to the Senior Living Industry established in 2001.  We recruit and acquire exceptional senior care talent, permanent and interim executives, for the full continuum of LTC facilities across the US including Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Independent Living, Memory Care Skilled Nursing Facilities, and Home Health Care.

Contact us at 727-526-1294 / info@medbest.com, visit us at www.medbest.com and connect on LinkedInFacebook, Instagram, and Twitter @MedBestJobs.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Visit VALA's Health Alert Page for information from Virginia and federal agencies and organizations on the COVID-19 response for assisted living providers. 

Upcoming VALA Events

VALA is proud to offer upcoming events, webinars, and meetings for assisted living administrators, regional staff members, caregivers, nurses, and other staff members. Several of the events will offer a variety of continuing education credits dependent upon the topics (i.e. NAB, Nursing, Social Work). Check the VALA Events Calendar for upcoming opportunities.