By Steve Moran

Workers in the United States, likely the rest of the Western world, are forever changed. If you embrace this change, your staffing challenges will diminish, and if you resist, it could crush your business. 

On the last day of the year (2022) the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Your Coworkers Are Less Ambitious; Bosses Adjust to the New Order,” which lays out the new order of the world when it comes to today’s team members. 

  • People are simply less passionate about their careers and their companies.
  • Ambitious career-track professionals and executives are no longer willing to work weekends and late into the night.
  • When salaried team members are being asked to do more work, they will only do it for more pay.
  • Fewer people have big career ambitions. They are a lot more interested improving the quality of their life off the clock. 
  • More workers are taking all of their vacation time and even taking additional time off without pay.
  • Workers are demanding more money — enough to live a comfortable life. 
  • Workers are demanding more flexibility in when and how they work.
  • Many more workers are comfortable simply staying at the job they have and working for the company they have always worked for. 
  • According to the U.S. government, labor productivity — meaning how much a typical worker gets done in an hour — has fallen 5.9% in the first quarter of 2022, and it fell another 4.1% in the second quarter.
  • “Many workers see little connection between working hard and being rewarded.”
  • Most don’t believe working harder will actually improve the quality of their life.
  • Many workers would be glad to take a pay cut to have a better work-life balance. 

Good News for Senior Living

If we are honest working conditions for senior living team members have not been great, are not great.

  • Hourly workers don’t make a living wage, many being forced to work all the overtime they can get, or work a second job. 
  • Department heads make a bit more money but still struggle to pay their bills.
  • Executive directors who work 40-hour weeks are considered to be slackers.   
  • Regionals work long hours and spend most of their lives traveling and the rest on phone or video calls. They own responsibility for the bad stuff that happens and rarely get credit for the good stuff that happens.   

Here is the good news. … What if senior living leaders embraced the new reality that team members are a lot more interested in work-life balance? Working in a way that makes sense to their outside-of-work lives? This might mean actually paying frontline workers more money. It might mean making a commitment to having a system where executive directors really only work 40-hour weeks and get three or four weeks of vacation a year.

If You Did This

If you did this, every single person working in senior living would want to work for you and for your organization first. And only if they could not work for your organization, they would work someplace else. You would also have team members who loved coming to work every day. 

And with all that, your communities would be the happiest senior living communities on Earth, and you would be filling all your units with ease and at premium prices.