With labor representing from 60-70% of the operating costs in senior care, it is no wonder that improving human capital management is in the spotlight for 2015.
With labor representing from 60-70% of the operating costs in senior care, it is no wonder that improving human capital management is in the spotlight for 2015. OnShift [a Senior Housing Forum Partner] and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News partnered to conduct a survey about workforce issues for providers of senior care. Over 600 participants responded.
Providers recognize the impact that workforce quality and stability have on all aspects of their organization. But some challenges faced in senior living include:
Finding qualified candidates
Retaining, engaging, and satisfying staff
Scheduling staff to meet residents’ needs
Staffing with the right mix as acuity levels rise
Reducing turnover that is 35-40% in assisted living; 44% in skilled nursing
Allowing for a good work and home life balance
Mark Woodka, CEO of OnShift noted senior living organizations that create the best-fit schedules – those that meet the needs of both employees and community residents – will experience higher staff satisfaction. “Happy, engaged employees deliver the best care and service and they and stay with the community longer,” he said.
According to the research, providers need to hire seven employees per month per community since high turnover rates perpetuate a vicious cycle. Despite this issue, most providers are reactive in their hiring practices. Half of skilled nursing facilities and continuing care retirement communities surveyed said they wait until an employee quits to trigger the hiring process; while 69% of assisted living communities wait.
Employing best practices and innovative technologies can address key challenges of recruiting, hiring and scheduling, as well as drive efficiencies and build a consistent and engaged workforce. However:
59% of respondents described their company’s procedures as a mix of modern and outdated methods;
33% stated they could improve some reactive, old-school, and time-consuming practices;
while 12% said their procedures were streamlined and innovative.
“Clearly there is an opportunity to improve staffing practices in senior living and technology can help. Look for systems that are predictive — so corrective action can be taken before the issues occur — are easy-to-use, and offer up data that can be easily accessed so more informed decisions can be made,” stated Woodka.
Meaningful Staffing Improvements
Survey participants agreed that scheduling processes, preventing overtime, sharing open shifts equally, and flexing staff based on resident census and acuity are ways to make meaningful staffing improvements. They also view consistency in scheduling as a key component to greater organizational performance.
The experts at OnShift recommend that senior living employers leverage the best practices and technologies to develop a workforce that leaves a lasting impression on residents and the company’s bottom line.
Read more in the full report, “Workforce Insights: Get Ahead”