Why Investors Should Care About Retaining Senior Housing Staff

Why Investors Should Care About Retaining Senior Housing Staff

In a recent roundtable (click here to view video Q&As from the event), we noted the key role that operators play in the success of investments in senior housing. In turn, those operators need competent, long-term staff to provide both quality care and outstanding customer service to residents to maintain high occupancy levels. Staffing stability is an essential element to success.

A white paper from healthcare software and service provider OnShift offers a closeup look at today’s senior care workforce as well as tips on how to facilities can retain their employees long-term.

According to OnShift, millennials are entering the industry in droves. OnShift cites a survey that found nearly 70% of new hires in senior care are millennials, who have different expectations than you might be used to.

Of course they’re interested in a good salary, but they also are “looking for career growth opportunities, involvement in process improvements and recognition for their contributions,” according to OnShift EVP Peter Corless.

In fact, a 2015 Glassdoor “Employment Confidence Survey” found that 79% of U.S. employees would prefer new or additional perks over a pay raise.

Among OnShift’s advice:- Celebrate the Employee

– Reward Good Performance
– Increase Financial Wellness
– Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
– Encourage Professional Development
– Create Work-Life Balance

Within those headings, the white paper, titled “The Big Book of Perks,” offers more than two dozen perks to help senior care operators attract, engage and retain employees.

Here’s a sampling:

– Roll out the red carpet – literally. “One senior living organization literally rolls out the red carpet and has staff line up to applaud new hires as they enter the building on their first day. A welcome like that will not soon be forgotten and starts things off on the right note,” the white paper says.

– Give cash for consistent contributions. “Whether it’s cash, a gift card or a bonus in their next paycheck, thanking your high performers for all that they do is crucial for employee engagement. And you don’t need to spend a fortune to demonstrate that you recognize their contributions to your organization. In fact, you might be surprised to see just how meaningful a $15 gift card is to an employee for a job well done.”

– Supply new uniforms. “Offer free uniforms or give employees a stipend to buy themselves new scrubs. This helps employees feel good about what they do and how they look. Plus, it helps ensure that employees are dressed and ready to work each day.”

Provide education assistance. “Employees will only be invested in employers who are invested in them. Providing financial assistance for continuing education is one of the best ways an organization can show just how invested they are in their workers. Whether it’s providing tuition reimbursement or paying for continuing education classes, that level of commitment to an employee’s career growth will help attract and retain staff.”

Try shorter shifts. “Think outside of the typical 8-hour shift and utilize your on-call staff for shorter, 5-hour shifts when residents require extra care. This relieves stress for employees who might be overwhelmed and ensures you’re properly staffed to provide quality care.”

Celebrate senior staff. “Let your most tenured employees play “hooky” once a year. Send the group to a baseball game, museum or other local event to connect away from work.”

Think about it: that’s good advice for all operators, no matter what generation is represented in your workforce.