By Steve Moran

When I think about this question, it gives me one of those “head exploding,” “pound the ground with both fists,” “scream at the sky,” “howl at the moon” kind of headaches.

Only 3 Answers

There are really only three possible answers to this question:

  1. You don’t know.
  2. You do know, but you don’t think you can do it.
  3. You believe it is out of your control and/or that it can’t be done.

Right Now

Right now, today, I believe there are enough people who have the aptitude to work in senior living and would love to work in senior living even at the wages we pay. (I am assuming you are paying a fair wage for your market. If you are not, I have no help.)

There are senior living communities and even large senior living organizations that have every position filled.

And at the very least, there are enough ready, able people working in your marketplace to at least keep your community fully staffed; otherwise, all your competitors would have no workers at all. But in truth, these people don’t actually see working in your community, working for your organization, as being any better than working for your competition. And you have 100% control over that problem.

The 3 Answers

First, I believe that if you as a leader put your heart and soul into it, you can have low turnover, even if you work for a crummy organization. I 100% BELIEVE IN YOU.

  1. If you don’t know (I know this sounds trite), figure it out. Learn from people who have figured it out. The one consistent truth is that great executive directors have lower turnover (and higher occupancy) 100% of the time. If you are a regional or corporate leader, figure out how to hire the right people. Or better yet, turn your not-so-great people into great people.
  2. If you know but don’t think you can do it, this is your opportunity to stick it to the world and show them you are better than anyone (including yourself) believes. Figure it out (see #1). Get some help. Find or hire a mentor or coach who can help you be the leader you think is out of your reach and that you only dream of being. It can be done. I normally don’t go this deep personally, but when I run into people who knew me in high school, they are amazed at what I am doing, because I was that kid who was never going to make anything of himself. I scraped through high school and only graduated from a party school because a professor died so an incomplete that should have been a fail was turned into a C.
  3. If you believe it is out of your control and/or that it can’t be done, I think you should get the hell out of the business. You are hurting residents, you are hurting team members, and you are hurting the entire industry. There is no shame in getting out — not everyone is suited for every role — but there is shame in staying where you are and continuing to give people a life that is less than they deserve.

So how about you: Do you know?