By Steve Moran

Covid or notcompetition or not, your community can be full. You can have zero staff recruitment and retention problems.

I have talked to thousands of senior living leaders and heard every imaginable reason why their communities are not full: they can’t keep team members, they can’t recruit team members.

It is always something that is external and ostensibly outside the control of the operator.

But I am not so sure.

There are communities that are full (and have a waiting list). There are senior living organizations that are fully staffed and not struggling to find great team members.

Based on my experience and many, many conversations, here are 8 things you don’t need to reach the goals you have:

  1. You don’t need more experience. Some of those operators with the worst occupancy numbers and worst workplace cultures have decades of experience.
  2. You don’t need to be a not-for-profit organization. There are some not-for-profits out there that have terrible occupancy and are terrible places to work.
  3. You don’t need to be a for-profit organization. There are for-profit organizations that are crushing it and some that are not. For-profit or not-for-profit are simply tax status and ownership structures that have very little to do with success.
  4. You don’t need to be big. In fact, some of the largest organizations in the country have the worst turnover and occupancy.
  5. You don’t need better market conditions. Unless you are in a tiny little town where there are simply not enough older people to fill a community. There might be 20 communities in the entire country like this. There are enough older people who would have better lives living in senior living. They are there right now, living in your competitor’s community or staying home.

    You may need to be telling your story better, providing a better experience or something, but the problem is fixable. 
  6. You don’t need to be paying more money to your team members. Don’t get me wrong, more money would be great. But if you are in the range of what others are paying, it means people are choosing to work someplace else instead of for you. Figure out how to make your community the very best place to work and you will have a small churn problem and a nonexistent recruitment problem.
  7. You don’t need a better marketing department. Yep, a great marketing department makes it a whole lot better; they generate the leads and you close them. But if you don’t have enough leads, go out and find them. Meet people where they are. Ask your existing residents for recommendations and contacts.
  8. You don’t need a better location. While a great location can make it a bit easier, it is not typically the deciding factor. Get the experience right and you will have all the residents you need.

The point is this: It is easy to blame, but if you are resourceful you will beat the odds, serve more people, have more fun, and have better finances.

All of that is great!