In a collaborative effort with Argentum, OnShift has entered into a 3-year agreement to find the solution!

By Steve Moran

Over the last few months James Balda, the CEO of Argentum, has been talking to senior living leaders about what they see as the biggest challenges and opportunities between now and 2025. The first work product from that effort was recently published in a document titled Getting to 2025: A Senior Living Roadmap that can be downloaded for free.

It is clear from this work and other research that the scariest, “keep you up at night” problem senior living is facing is how to find and create enough qualified workers from line-staff to leadership positions.

In a collaborative effort with Argentum, Senior Housing Forum Partner OnShift has entered into a 3-year agreement to work on this problem. This past week I had the chance to interview Mark Woodka, the CEO of OnShift, about what this means and what it will look like.

An Approach to Business

Before I get to the interview I want to talk for a moment about how OnShift has approached their place in the senior living ecosystem. In case you don’t know, they provide a cloud-based platform for staff scheduling, hiring and workforce analysis specifically for post-acute care and senior living. You will find OnShift at dozens of trade shows every year.

But here is what is really cool about OnShift . . .

They have figured out that beyond having great technology, which they do, they, more than anything else, need to take a thought leadership role in the workforce arena. You will find Mark and others speaking at events across the country, you will find a wealth of really helpful resources on their website that will help leaders lead better. While they for sure want to sell their product, they are even more concerned about helping the industry get better, and figure that if they do that one thing the business will follow . . . and it has.

The Collaboration

The goal of the collaboration is to promote workforce excellence in senior living. Our industry is in a very unique position right now where we have lots of “customers” and the customer base is certain to grow over the next two or three decades. On the other hand, it is much less clear where we will get workers to provide the care and services they need.

The issues that the industry are facing include:

  • A shortage of caregivers

  • An almost inevitable likelihood that a $15.00 hour minimum wage with become the new standard, which will then trickle up requiring  higher wages for department heads and perhaps even for property leaders.

  • A shortage of trained and qualified leaders (executive directors, marketing and sales people, regional managers).

  • A large number of C Suite leaders who are approaching retirement age.

A Path to Solutions

As OnShift and Argentum begin to work on this critical issue here are the initial areas of opportunity:

  • Making senior living communities and organizations workforce centric as much or almost as much as they are resident centric today.

  • Creating meaningful realistic career paths for entry level workers (and really for workers at every level).

  • Figuring out how to attract the right people.

  • Developing methods and ways of holding on to team members once they have been hired.

  • Finding innovative ways to deliver services more efficiently.

Figuring It Out

OnShift is in this unique position of being able to see what works — and what does not — across thousands of senior living communities. They have the data that will allow them to spot trends, both good and bad, in staffing and hiring in the industry.  

I asked Mark when we will begin to see some work product from this effort. He noted that this is a 3-year on-going effort and added that we will begin to see some early fruit in the next couple of months.

You will have the opportunity to explore some early results and ideas at the Argentum annual meeting that takes place in Denver this coming May.  You might also want to check out OnShift’s whitepaper on Attacking Workforce Challenges in Senior Living.