Becoming an Employer of Choice by Katie Piperata, Interim Solutions & Leadership Development Trainer
Attracting and retaining good employees to work for your senior living organization has always been challenging. Then add the disruption of a pandemic, and the subsequent “Great Resignation” and senior living organizations are now faced with severe staffing shortages and fierce talent wars.
While there isn't a quick fix or a single solution, job candidates tell us they're attracted to organizations with great cultures, stellar reputations, concern for their safety and well-being, and offer fresh new employee-centric ideas and programs. In other words, they want to join an “employer of choice.”
What will it take to be an employer of choice in 2022? Here are a number of suggestions and some out of the ordinary:
- Daily Pay. Struggling to attract workers as the virus drags on, many nursing home organizations are offering an uncommon benefit to attract job seekers…daily access to their pay. Nursing homes are among early adopters. Many are now offering employees the option to withdraw money from their paychecks after finishing their shift using smartphone apps such as DailyPay or Dayforce Wallet or Branch. CBS News reports that nurses have given positive feedback. Of 30,000 nurses, about 21,000 use the paid daily option.
- Weekly Paychecks. In a very competitive industry such as senior living, weekly paychecks may help you compete with contract staffing agencies in your area. For most senior living hourly workers, the more frequently they get paid, the better. Employees like the cash in hand when needed and the consistency. Weekly pay shows employers care about the financial wellbeing of their employees.
- Flexibility. Many long-term care facilities are now offering shorter and flexible shifts. Today's candidates are seeking a work schedule that fits with their lifestyle. Employers have found that by advertising their job opportunities with “flexible hours” right in the headline receive twice as many inquiries and applicants.
- Uninterrupted Time Off. Getting some physical and psychological space from the demands of work brings many rewards including reduced stress, clear thinking, physical and mental restoration, increased energy and productivity.
- Guilt Free Time Away. Senior living residents demand 24/7 access to leadership and this can weigh negatively on our employees if they can't refuel and experience stress recovery. We have talked to enough candidates that tell us it would be nice to hear their bosses encourage them to take some time away; it almost feels like they are giving them “permission” to take time off without feeling guilty. Furthermore, a boss that will actually cover for them when they are off is even more appreciated.
- Creative Benefits. Some senior living organizations are getting creative with their benefit offerings. For example, one is offering educational assistance, $1 meals for all employees, cash rewards, and reward trips. Another is offering childcare or a monthly stipend to cover childcare costs.
- Supportive Supervisors. Supportive leaders are needed now more than ever. Senior living professionals want to be heard and understood. They want leaders to know them both personally and professionally. They look to their supervisors for encouragement, kindness, and empathy.
- Employee Recognition. Give credit where credit is due. Employee recognition is essential to company culture and employee morale. There are many ways to recognize employees including giving a reward for accomplishments or time spent with the organization. Make sure to recognize individuals, teams, and on a company-wide basis.
- Growth Opportunities. Give your employees opportunities to learn, grow, and cross train. It doesn't matter if they're a new employee or someone who has been with you awhile. Creating a culture of learning is an important part of becoming an employer of choice. In addition, developing new leaders with formal programs is critical in senior living since we have lost so many tenured leaders throughout the pandemic.
- Proper & Thorough Onboarding & Remote Onboarding. Immerse your new hires in the culture of your company and provide them with the tools necessary to succeed. Whether you use face-to-face, e-learning, mentoring, coaching, etc., if you want to be an employer of choice, make sure you commit 100% to each person you hire and properly onboard them.
- A Mission That's More Than Mere Words. Mission statements should not be just hung on the wall or slapped on a website. Your leaders should be living it daily by modeling behaviors expected of their employees and teams. Missions should be integrated into the culture, operations, and employee experiences.
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.