In your organization are you finding it difficult to hire the right people and, that having difficulty hiring. is having a negative impact on the quality of care being provided to your residents?

Last month CareerBuilder published the results of a nationwide survey of healthcare hiring managers.  The most important insight from that study was that 59% of the surveyed hiring organizations said that difficulty finding and hiring nurses and allied health workers hurts the quality of care that patients (residents) receive. Here are the top five areas of impact:

  • Employee morale is lower because staff is overworked — 36 percent
  • Patients get less attention — 20 percent
  • Higher voluntary turnover — 11 percent
  • More mistakes in administration of patient care — 10 percent
  • Increased lawsuits — 4 percent

What these HR professionals indicated was that it is taking them on average 6 weeks to fill allied health positions (non-nursing) and 12 weeks to fill nursing positions.  A separate CareerBuilder survey looked at why it takes so long to fill these positions.  Here are the top reasons:

  • Applicants do not have any relevant experience — 47 percent
  • Applicants have salary requirements that are too high — 42 percent
  • Applicants have less than 3 years relevant experience — 40 percent
  • Applicants don’t have the proper education or training — 39 percent
  • Applicants have poor communication skills — 38 percent
  • Work schedule/hours are not desirable — 38 percent

The survey results did not offer a breakdown between acute hospitals and long-term care facilities, which would suggest this is a real problem at both levels of care.  While assisted living was apparently not included in the survey, it seems likely the results would have been similar.

Impact on Senior Housing

We need to be paying particular attention to anything that impacts resident care.  While this has become more obvious with all the public scrutiny of assisted living, in truth quality resident care should be our first priority and anything that impacts quality should become priority one.

Making It Better

There are two things operators can do to make it better, the first is creating a killer work environment and the second is hiring right. A Killer Work Environment  –  To have a killer work environment takes a bit of effort and may cost you a tad but of money (only maybe though, because turn-over is costly and sub-optimal resident even more expensive).  It starts with paying a fair wage and providing decent benefits.  It then moves on to making your community a nice place to work which means:

  1. Providing little goodies, food, snacks, a nice break room.
  2. Hiring nice people and if it turns out that someone is a jerk, no matter how good they are at their assigned job, getting rid of them.
  3. Most importantly of all it is all about getting to know, becoming friends with your team.  I would argue that if there were ever a place you need to hire for likeability it is senior living.

Hire Right 

Be smart about your hiring process and decisions.  Make sure your applicants understand the work load, the work environment and work hours.  Do things like have your resident’s interview your candidates.  Take every candidate on a tour of the community and pay particular attention to how your candidates interact with residents and other staff. Finally, make predictive hiring decisions with the help of behavioral assessment software.  Healthcaresource’s Staff Assessment will help you find employees who will compassionately care for your residents. If you want a more detailed look at how behavioral assessment software makes a difference in over 2,000 healthcare organizations, read a client case study or watch a product tour. Do staff vacancies impact the quality of your care? What are you doing to reduce turnover?