As anyone who works in the senior living industry knows, one of the biggest challenges that communities face is attracting new hires and then keeping them for the long term. This has always been the case, of course, but over the last three years the problem has become even more acute. The COVID-19 pandemic hit senior living communities harder than any other industry, which contributed to massive staff burnout as employees had to worry about the health of residents, their own health, and the wellbeing of their families at home. It was a perfect storm for people to leave their jobs, and many communities were not able to replace them in a timely manner - or at all.
The so-called “Great Resignation” saw tens of millions of Americans simply quit their jobs during the pandemic without having a backup plan. And while this was inconvenient in many sectors of the economy, it was devastating in the senior living industry because many elderly people simply didn’t have access to the care that they needed. And as we moved past the initial phases of the virus, the “Quiet Quitting” movement saw many millennials and Gen Z workers prioritizing their own well-being and not taking on additional projects and assignments. In the face of all of this turbulence, how can senior living facilities ensure that they remain fully staffed? This is where technology can play a huge role in aiding staff retention and improving job satisfaction.
While the pandemic fundamentally changed the world starting in 2020, the shortage of qualified employees in senior living predates COVID. Back in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the industry needed to recruit and retain 300,000 new employees by 2026. Needless to say, as an industry we are far below that target. The latest executive survey conducted by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care revealed that while shortages have improved, staffing is still a major concern. As a result, operators of senior living facilities are casting a wide net and implementing new ways to attract and retain staff.
In the wake of a prolonged shortage, how can senior living facilities stay ahead of the curve and keep their staffing levels at acceptable levels? As it turns out, integrating their HR systems with their corporate technology platforms can play a major role in keeping headcount up.
People who go into senior care do so because they have a passion for helping the elderly, but all too often they leave their jobs – or exit the profession entirely – because of the immense pressures and demands that they face. And one of the biggest issues is scheduling. All you need to do is spend a few minutes on Reddit to read personal stories of people who are forced to work for weeks on end without a break and are pressured into giving up their days off to cover shifts for other workers. This is a recipe for disaster; but something that can be fixed before it becomes so problematic that employees walk out the door.
More and more, senior living operators are turning to software to improve staff productivity and reduce the time they have to spend on documentation and paperwork. While technology makes the workday easier, it can also be a valuable tool in making sure your staff isn’t overscheduled.
In many senior living communities, work shifts are organized by shift leaders, meaning that executive management has no visibility into how employees are being scheduled. This is a massive problem, because by the time a burnout situation escalates to the point where employees are unhappy and quitting, it’s too late. By integrating scheduling systems into operational platforms, management can see and correct issues before they become intractable. For example, alerts can inform management when a particular employee is working more than five consecutive days or is asked to cancel days off. Software can also track and determine if managers are allocating work equitably and to the right people without overscheduling them. Data can also point to areas where more staff is needed.
The Glennis Solutions Advantage
The Resource Balancer feature of Glennis Care was created to help fine tune schedules to ensure that staff members aren’t overworked, labor costs are contained, and residents receive the best possible care.
• Assess Workloads at a Glance. An intuitive, color-coded heat map gives a complete picture of how your staff is allocated for every shift and pinpoints times when caregivers are overscheduled or underutilized.
• Forecast and Fine Tune. Reschedule or reassign tasks to ensure that 100% of scheduled time is optimized and that every task and room is assigned, without overloading individual caregivers.
• Align Staff with Resident Needs. Adjust times allocated for tasks or staff assignments to deliver the best individualized care for your residents.
• Keep Your Budget in Check. Glennis integrates with your workforce management software to track scheduled and actual work hours against budget.
Tools such as this give you the insight to meet your residents needs without going over budget or overscheduling your staff.
There is no single magic bullet that is going to fix the acute staffing shortage that the senior living industry faces – and is expected to face for years to come. But by deploying modern technologies to monitor and improve how staff is utilized, organizations can give themselves on edge when it comes to keeping team members happy. Because in an industry with critical labor shortages, employees are in the driver’s seat, and they know that there are dozens of other companies that would love to have them on board. Don’t give them an excuse to start sending out resumes.
To learn more about how Glennis Solutions can help your senior living community achieve an even higher level of performance get a free demo.