This drives me nuts!

By Steve Moran

This drives me nuts!

Over the last year, I have read and heard countless times that staffing, recruitment, and retention is the most pressing problem facing senior living. It has become so much “the thing” that no leader would dare say it is not the most pressing problem. But I don’t believe it.  

Making My Case

Here are the 4 reasons why I don’t think the industry really believes it is the most pressing problem:

  1. When we publish articles at Senior Housing Forum on how to lead better, to build better cultures, to treat team members better, the readership is much lower than when we publish sales and marketing articles.

  1. When I look at how readily senior living organizations spend money on marketing and sales efforts it is vastly more than is spent on leadership development and training, particularly at the local and regional level . . . scratch that, at all levels.

  1. Four years ago my good friend Bailey Beeken launched a new senior living conference for human capital leaders in the senior living industry. After 3 years it simply could not hit critical mass though she had a nice group of really great organizations that joined each year. At least for this year, it has been postponed and I suspect when human capital becomes the real biggest problem it will be back with a vengeance.

  1. You might call this one self-serving and I confess that at some level it is, but only sort of . . . Denise Scott and I are sponsoring a one day Talent Innovation Summit on August 30 in Chicago that will be very different. First, it will be small, around 40 senior living leaders. Second, because we believe the industry has some really smart people who are doing amazing things, it will be all about conversations among peers. Because it is small it is not so cheap at $850.   

    I thought . . . we would have such an overwhelming response that we would need to do it twice. I was wrong. Don’t misunderstand, ticket sales are fine, we have just a tiny number left and have some of the best organizations in the industry joining us, including Sunrise, Benchmark,12 Oaks, Brightview, Century Park Associates, Christian Living Communities, MBK, Milestone Retirement, Ohio Masonic Homes, Presbyterian Senior Care, Primrose Retirement, Senior Star, and United Methodist Communities.

Thinking About the Why

I have thought about why talent development is not really the biggest problem and here is what I have come up with:

  • It is in fact not really the biggest problem. The reality is occupancy is the biggest problem . . . an opinion I actually agree with. Though I do believe solving the human capital problem is the key to solving the occupancy problem.  

  • Senior living organizations don’t really think the problem can be fixed.

  • Senior living organizations don’t really believe senior living is an amazing place to work.

  • . . . I actually have no idea.

It may not be the real biggest problem today but unless we do things differently it will be.

We would love to see you in Chicago on the 30th and even more, we look forward to reporting back on how that one day moved the needle for the organizations that attend.