Innovation In Action: Workforce Strategies For 2018 and Beyond

Mark Woodka, CEO, OnShift C

onstraints drive innovation. And there is no bigger constraint facing senior living than the

current workforce shortage. The project- ed 1.2 million new employees needed by 2025 has become a reality as the number of job openings in senior living has more than doubled the number of new hires. As a senior living provider, you can’t

ignore this trend. To ensure you have the workforce needed to perform at a high level, you must get creative to attract and retain talent in 2018 and beyond. Here are three innovative ways to stand out from the crowd.

Recruit from retail Just last month, Sears Holdings announced that it would close 45 Kmart and 18 Sears stores in January 2018. And other large re- tailers like J.C. Penney and Macy’s will also be downsizing in the coming months. This will create an unemployment pool that’s ripe for the picking. Providers can make themselves more

attractive to retail workers by highlighting the perks that they offer and reducing any barriers preventing potential workers from applying. Many providers are now commu- nicating their willingness to train those new to health care and even offering to pay for any certifications needed. Job postings should also capitalize on the do-good nature of the industry and the ful- fillment that comes with being a part of it. According to a study from the Intelligence Group, 64% of millennials say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place. Let these prospective applicants know a career in senior living represents an oppor- tunity to help people on a daily basis.

Touch base with your HR department to

make sure they’re offering online job appli- cations that are mobile-friendly and brief. I have heard time and again that organiza- tions lose applicants if it takes more than two minutes to apply online.

Get flexible & go mobile A hot topic among providers is offering more flexible shift times. Many caregivers work multiple jobs, go to school, and/or juggle family responsibilities—making it difficult to consistently schedule them for standard eight-hour shifts. Consider offering shorter shift lengths to

cover peak times. This not only meets the work-life balance needs of the millennial workforce, but is also an effective way to attract and retain caregivers looking to work less hours. In fact, I recently spoke to a senior living

provider who has added two- and four-hour shift times. They have found this is a big win for employees approaching retirement who are looking to work less hours, but still want to continue caring for the residents they serve. In addition, providers should use mobile

technology to their advantage by giving staff better access to and control of their sched- ules. This allows employees to be alerted to open shifts and empowers them to pick up additional shifts, all from the palm of their hands. Providers that offer workers some flexi-

bility in schedules gain an instant advan- tage over those that don’t. Working with employees to find best-fit schedules shows them that your organization cares about their needs—making them more likely to stay long-term.

Ask & act to engage Annual surveys are outdated and ineffective if you’re truly trying to evolve your work- place culture. An employee who has an issue in February probably won’t stick around to voice that concern come December during a yearly survey. Instead, set up processes for employees to

communicate and share feedback openly on a more consistent basis. More frequent surveys can capture actionable staff feedback and pre- vent small issues from becoming larger ones. The benefits of collecting frequent em-

ployee feedback are two-fold. Simply getting staff involved and giving them a voice cre- ates engagement, plus their input can lead to process improvements that will make your organization a place people want to work. These are just a few strategies to consid-

er when planning for 2018. The workforce shortage is not expected to get better any time soon, but thinking outside the box when attracting, engaging, and retaining employees can make a positive impact on your 2018 performance.


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