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The boomers are coming to your senior care facility – will you have the staff you need?

Addressing standard work at continuing care communities is critical to stemming workforce turnover and preparing for an influx of retirees.

If you work in the senior living industry, you’re no doubt familiar with the coming wave of baby-boomers who will begin entering post-retirement care within the next 10 years. Some estimates put the number at over 76 million by 2025.1

That means the senior care profession will need 2.3 million more workers to care for that population.2 Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges currently faced by senior care communities is employee retention.3 And when your experienced staff leaves, they can take a lot of important information with them.

Top concerns of CFOs at senior living communities

 

Employee turnover can cost anywhere from $3,000 for support staff to upwards of $20,000 for registered nurses.4 In order to provide care for today’s senior population and those who will need care in the near future, it is critical to identify ways to recruit, onboard and retain staff more easily and affordably.

 

Onboarding begins with recruitment

After having spoken with dozens of leaders working in senior care, we’ve learned how it can be one of the most challenging and most rewarding careers to pursue. Whether a prospective employee works in maintenance, food service or healthcare, this isn’t like any other job they’ve ever had. It isn’t exactly hospitality and it isn’t exactly healthcare but somewhere in between.

Employees need to understand early-on that when they’re working, they’re not performing tasks, they are providing freedom from physical limitation and relief from loneliness. All staff need to be prepared to be held accountable to take responsibility for a problem that arises in their presence and know how to get to a resolution. 5

Because most people entering this line of work won’t have that understanding coming in, a solid onboarding process is an important first step in improving retention. “Industry watchers say the high turnover rate in senior living tracks directly back to the hiring process, especially those early days in which a new worker gets familiar with the senior living environment.” 5

So, it’s never too early to begin this conversation with prospective employees.

 

Training will stick if it’s repeatable

When you’re developing onboarding and training processes, try to establish a standard that can be repeated and revised uniformly. This will help you make incremental improvements over time. If you do it right, it will also align with the way your employees learn.

On our Acadia platform, you can outline information that is unique to a particular role, as well as information that cuts across all roles such as: safety, company policies and procedures, laws and regulations.

After onboarding training, it helps to make the same documents readily accessible during regular work. This will transform your just in case learning to just in time learning. Acadia makes daily tasks and technical routines available on any mobile device, so staff can do them accurately every time.

You can also quiz employees for comprehension, and turn procedures into checklists that they can take with them as they perform their work.

Providing tools for procedural work, frees your staff to focus their attention on what’s really important — the individual needs of residents.

For auditing purposes, policies can be assigned to specific employees and can require acknowledgements that are stored in a permanent record.

 

Engaged staff stay longer

Employees who are in tune with changes at their company and believe they are heard by management feel more invested and develop deeper loyalty to their organization.6

Throughout the Acadia platform, we provide multiple ways for your workforce to provide feedback. When an employee comments on a policy, procedure or task, the comment is organized and sent to you so that you can act on it.

Being responsive to employee concerns and suggestions will make them more likely to provide feedback in the future. These incremental changes will also improve your overall level of service.

As every little detail is lined up, some communities have found that turnover is significantly reduced and resident satisfaction is improved.5

 

Sources:

  1. The Age of Disruption: The Reasons for Growth
  2. What Will The Senior Care Workforce Look Like In 2030?
  3. Key Issues Outlook - Ziegler CFO Hotline - January 2018
  4. There Are Significant Business Costs to Replacing Employees
  5. Reducing the Learning Curve for New Employees
  6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T: The Key to Employee Loyalty

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