By Steve Moran

This is a comment/story posted in response to a Senior Housing Forum article titled: “Sucky First Impressions Cost Real Dollars”.

“I had this experience at a 10-year-old property I once visited. It was in good condition, nicely appointed, nice decor — welcoming.

But the person behind the desk was . . . not good. It was a woman in her 20s. I asked if she had a brochure, something I could take with me. Her response was that everything was online. 

I asked her if there was a model unit or something I could look at. She said there was no model unit and photos were online. 

She was not pro-active or helpful in any way, shape, or form. Then I went to their website and there was nothing there. 

At the time that property was 95% occupied . . . that property almost certainly saw its occupancy drop. Either management did not train her properly or she didn’t care. Either way, she cost that firm a lot of business . . ..” (lightly edited for readability).

The Real Cost . . .

I assume she was being paid, according to her pay stub, $10-$16 an hour. But if your receptionist is costing sales, their real pay, or more accurately their real cost, could very well have been, maybe not $100 an hour, but likely $50-$80 an hour. People who work hard for slightly more than minimum wage are wonderful people who do some of the most difficult work in the world. But it is very likely that people who would work for $20 an hour but not for $14 will work harder and more efficiently. They will create better resident and family interactions.

And if you make the wrong decision, or they don’t work out, you will be offering up the most coveted front line jobs allowing you to have the pick of the crop.

A number of months ago, we published an article where I suggested we could solve the staffing crisis with a starting pay rate of $25 an hour. The number of people who even bothered to read the article was depressingly low. I assume because people saw the article and thought, “yeah yeah yeah . . . nothing worth reading here”. I continue to believe this is not the only solution but could be a way to solve all staffing challenges.