Practical support At Pathway to Living, everyone was in- structed to “cover, clean, and distance” at home as well as in the workplace. “Our responsibility to ourselves, our team

members and residents is to realize that how we behave and act at home matters too,” says Mike Ulm, vice president of culture and brand loyalty at Pathway to Living. “We wanted to establish with our team

that this will probably be an ongoing stan- dard for senior living.” Communities can offer practical support to associates struggling with logistical chal- lenges. Childcare assistance is one popular option. Another is providing free meals or sending food home for associates and their families. Measures like these help people stay on the job and feel more appreciated.

Creative approaches Today’s competitive recruiting environment requires operators to use multiple approach- es in the search for new talent. When Pathway to Living needed to fill

newly created temporary positions, they began by asking existing staff if they had a family member or spouse who needed a job. Next they reached out to laid-off hospitality workers on job boards and social media. Ulm called the general managers of large hotel chains to invite their furloughed workers to apply. Pathway found additional workers by taking advantage of digital communication technology. They collected resumes from applicants through Indeed, then invited qualified candidates to attend a virtual job fair using GoToMeeting. “People entered the video environment in

a main lobby room, where we would answer general questions, and then they would be sent to private chat rooms with an inter- viewer,” Ulm says. Almost 100 candidates attended the job fair, resulting in some suc- cessful hires.

Power of communication “The pandemic has made us all up our game when it comes to communication,” says Ulm. Crisis conditions require a com- munication method that allows frequent up- dates to be disseminated to all staff members as quickly as possible.


Human capital management platform OnShift offers a messaging application within its scheduling solution. Messages reach staff through text, email, push noti- fications, or phone calls. “One of the things we encourage cli-

ents to do is openly communicate, because you’ve got a workforce that’s on the front lines,” says OnShift CEO Mark Woodka. Providers used the platform to relay mes- sages about safety protocols and PPE loca- tions and to deliver supportive video or text messages from the CEO. Scheduling solutions within the platform

help to optimize staff utilization so commu- nities can draw from their own labor pool. Managers used the platform to offer more flexibility to staff and to quickly schedule people to fill gaps in shifts.

Preparing for the future Digital platforms can keep everyone in the community safer by ensuring limited staff movement into and within different parts of communities to conform with with any infection control or cohorting plans.

Continual health screenings for em-

ployees and temperature checks may also become routine, for the protection of em- ployees and residents alike. To make this a less cumbersome process, SmartLinx added screening questions to their time clocks to determine whether an employee is showing symptoms of illness before they are allowed to clock in. More such technology, such as remote

temperature screening, is likely to be part of the senior living workplace future. “There’s a lot to be said for this indus-

try becoming more acutely aware not only about what’s available, but why they need to have it and how they need to be prepared for anything like this happening again,” says Marina Aslanyan, CEO of SmartLinx. “We’re going to have to be able to dem-

onstrate as an industry and as individual companies and communities that our set- ting is safe,” Kramer says. “There’s risk in everything we do in life, but people have to believe that the risk is reasonable, and that you’re taking all the appropriate steps to protect them.”

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