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Getting Creative with Staffing for Long-Term Care

We in the industry know that working in long-term and senior care presents many opportunities for a long and rewarding career. From marketing and administration to nursing and direct care, our space offers a variety of career paths and growth opportunities, and let's not forget, there are plenty of jobs available.

A study published by PHI on direct care workers in the U.S. cited that there will be a total of 7.4 million job openings in direct care from 2019 to 2029. ShiftMED's CEO, Todd Walrath, recently said, "I know that before COVID, there were 500,000 openings for nurses, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics just came out last week with a stat that says that number is now up to 1.8 million."

Long-term care organizations are constantly competing for staff, especially nurses, amongst themselves and other healthcare sectors. The question is, how do we attract, foster, and retain talent from not just the existing pool but the new generation as well?

Here are some of the ways that senior care organizations are upping the ante:

  • Partner with local schools: Don't just think college; take this to the high school level. Most young people don't wake up one morning and say, "I think I'll work in senior care!". Most don't know the opportunity exists. High school enrichment programs are a great way to provide career direction at an early age and offer students the chance to complete Nurse Assistant Pre-Certification Training, home health aide courses, and internships.

  • Flexible Scheduling In today's world, employees have their own idea of when they want to work. Giving staff a choice to decide when they want to work can be the deciding factor between choosing to work for you or your competitor. It also indicates that employers care about the well-being and preferences of their staff.

  • Staff Referral Programs: Long-term care is a tight-knit industry, and who doesn't want to work with those they know and trust? Offering a bonus for qualified referrals incents employees to recruit candidates from within their networks.

  • Entry-Level Positions with Paid Education and Career Pathways: Fewer kids are going to college because they say it costs too much. At least, that's what an article this year in CNBC noted. The article goes on to say that "High schoolers are putting more emphasis on career training and post-college employment." Offering entry-level positions and tuition reimbursement allows employees to work while building a career path through education and work experience for a future in long-term care.

  • Retention Benefits: We've seen an ongoing trend in sign-on bonuses but building a solid benefits and recognition program focused on retention pays for itself. There are ways to get creative beyond the standard retention bonus after 'x' months. Take a look at employee expenses and perks. The employee-paid portion of health insurance premiums is a great example. Time in title discounts on this can go a long way toward incenting employees to reach employment milestones.

  • Staff Utilization: Attracting and retaining staff is essential but efficiently utilizing staff creates a stable talent pipeline within your existing organization. Real-time visibility into staffing resources is the first step. Having a detailed knowledge of your staff's core competencies, availability, and personal needs is key. Track certifications and licenses so you can instantly identify employees who are suitable to fill critical positions based on their competencies. Implement internal staffing pools by hiring employees to work at multiple buildings. Flexibility is not just for scheduling. Nimbly managing existing resources can go a long way toward staff and resident satisfaction.

There is no one strategy to combat the staffing shortage, but creatively approaching the challenge could make your organization more attractive to a prospective employee and could be why employees stick around.

So how can we help? CareWork gives teams automated tools to increase quality, control costs, track compliance, manage labor, reduce waste, and get jobs done faster. The best part is, we integrate with the systems you already use and give operators a straightforward way to manage operations in one place strategically. We make care work easier.

Ready to operate efficiently? If so, contact us today.

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