Stepping Up to Help Support A Dedicated, Engaged Workforce

In 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Arena was one of the companies that showed what good we can do when we work together in this industry crisis. Arena collaborated with Argen- tum and OnShift in recruiting displaced workers from other indus- tries and leveraging its AI to match them with jobs in senior living. In 2021, Arena has stepped up to Argentum corporate partner

for Predictive Analytics. Engagement in Argentum’s corporate partnership program demonstrates significant thought leadership in the senior living industry. Corporate partners work in collabora- tion with Argentum and industry leaders to support and develop senior living programs that address the most critical issues in senior living. From its beginning, Arena wanted to tackle tough workforce

issues: not only finding the right person for the right place at the right time, but also issues such as improving retention and elimi- nating unconscious bias from the hiring process. Here, the Arena co-founders, CEO Michael Rosenbaum and COO Myra Norton, discuss why the company took this step and what they see ahead.

Q. Why did you choose now to partner with Argentum in such a significant way? Michael Rosenbaum: Argentum, and every one of its members and the senior living industry more generally, have been at the front lines of this battle against COVID-19. The industry has been challenged by reduced census, limitations on relationships between

residents and families, and extreme financial pressures. And yet it is this industry, more than almost any other sector of our economy, which provides this critical piece of societal infrastructure—that of honoring, caring for, and ensuring full and happy lives for seniors. Supporting Argentum at this moment of crisis, but also of op- portunity to strengthen and grow the senior living industry and workforce, seemed like the least we could do. We also recognize that one of the great opportunities for the

industry right now is the current window to attract new caregivers and leaders, more effectively and at scale. There is more attention on our industry than ever before—some positive and some nega- tive—which creates an imperative that our teams and our workforces be robust. And technology, data, and artificial intelligence can help in ways that were not possible a few short years ago.

Q. The senior living industry has long struggled to counter workforce turnover, and the pandemic seems to have introduced new occupancy challenges. Can you talk about your continued optimism about the industry? Rosenbaum: We all recognize the demographic trends that will in- evitably lead to more demand in the industry. Disruptions in other sectors create potential applicant pools who can become caregivers in this industry. At the same time, the industry is still in the nascent stages of fully

leveraging the power of data science. We have the capability to organize our workforces in a way that effectively attracts residents. We have the capability to stabilize and strengthen our broader caregiving teams. Of course, at Arena we have deployed these capabilities to 1,200

communities in the United States, but most providers have not yet incorporated predictive analytics and machine learning into key decisions that can have the most impact. The macro trends give me optimism about where we as an

industry are headed, while the gap between what’s possible and what we’re doing gives me hope that the best is yet to come.

Q. We all agree that we’d like to improve retention to both reduce costs and to give our residents stability with the most committed caregivers. But how can providers weigh the different solutions and ideas to do this? Myra Norton: We all grasp the impact of turnover—damage to community morale,

burdening team members as they cover for lost colleagues, and concerns from residents and families who value strong and long- term relationships between staff and their loved ones. The costs include expenses related to talent acquisition, onboard-

ing, and training, and contractor or overtime replacement labor. Retention, however, is just the beginning of the opportunity. It is an opportunity to increase positives, not only to avoid negatives. The ability to attract new staff who will stay as well as the ability

to organize a workforce around other outcomes such as sales yield, or time and attendance, or employee engagement, or resident satisfaction, or executive director performance—these create more opportunities to improve how our industry operates and the quality of resident experiences.

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