Most of the industry discussion is about the lack of qualified frontline staff; however, an equally alarming challenge is the need to find great leaders.

By Steve Moran

I was recently talking to Katie Piperata, Julie Rupenski and Leslee Lacey at Medbest, a senior living executive recruiting firm and Senior Housing Forum partner. They recently did some research on the number of new senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities being opened this year compared to the year 2012.

As you look at these numbers keep in mind 2017 is just half over.

  • In 2012 there were 480 articles about grand openings for news skilled nursing facilities. In 2017 there were 890 articles.

  • Looking at grand openings for senior living communities (IL/AL/Memory Care/CCRCs), there were 490 articles about grand openings in 2012 and 970 articles in 2017.

  • In 2012 there were 1,233 advertised job openings. In 2017 there were 4787 advertised job openings

In addition, wages and salaries are going up for team members at all levels. These numbers are sobering.

Finding and Retaining Great Leaders

As I talked with Katie, Julie and Leslee about human capital issue, it is clear that most of the industry discussion is about the lack qualified frontline staff. While not arguing this is not a problem, an equally alarming challenge is the need to find great leaders.  

There is a notion that mostly what happens is that while there are some great leaders, there is this pool of not so great regionals, executive directors, marketing folks and nursing staff that just float from one organization to another; that this group needs to be replaced with higher calibre leaders.

Why Leaders Leave

While recruitment is important. The first thing any senior living organization needs to do is hold on to the great talent they have. Today, if you are not happy with your senior living leadership position, it is pretty easy, in most markets, to find another and hopefully better position.  

We spent some time chatting about why people leave and here is what they are hearing:

  1. They almost never leave because they are not being paid enough money. This is consistent with what all of the research data shows.

  1. They don’t like their job, which almost always means they don’t like their direct report. Though, when talking to executive directors and regionals, it is sometimes true that they like and respect their direct report but are deeply disillusioned with that managers manager.

  1. They feel like they have no growth opportunities. While some leaders find their life calling to be the position they are in, many . . . maybe most . . . would like to grow, taking on bigger responsibility and bigger challenges . . . and making more money. If they feel like they are stuck, it impacts their happiness.  

  1. They feel like they are not being heard. Being a great leader means having great ideas and great ways of leading that are unique to that leader’s personality and unique situation.

  1. They are worried about the company or community selling which ultimately translates into worrying about the financial health of the company.

While the pros at Medbest would love to recruit for your organization they feel very strongly that the first step is to make sure you are doing the things you need to do, to keep the great talent you have.   

Finally if you have a onetime or on-going recruitment need, they would love to chat with you. And, if you looking for a new position, they have some great opportunities. You can access their website HERE.

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