Tips to find and retain quality healthcare staff

If there is one issue top of mind for senior living facility leaders, it’s finding and hiring qualified staff. The tight healthcare labor market, felt especially hard in rural areas, leaves senior living facilities struggling to find caregivers for their residents.

Unfortunately, caregiver recruitment is not an issue that will be solved anytime soon. According to the federal Administration for Community Living, the number of U.S. senior citizens is expected to more than double by 2060. The phenomenon even has a name—the “silver tsunami.” With that burgeoning population, we’ll need more caregivers than ever.

Wisconsin comes to aid in healthcare staffing

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker heard the plea from senior living leaders and other healthcare organizations and launched in March 2017 the Wisconsin Fast Forward training grant for healthcare. This healthcare workforce program provides $3 million in grant funding to train workers in health science, healthcare and other similar positions. The grant announcement was made at River Pines, a Grace Lutheran senior community in Altoona, Wis., which opened in 2016 with a person-centered household design completed by Community Living Solutions. River Pines has been lauded for its living and work environment, as well as its unique approach to resident care.

While the grants will be an enormous help to those who apply for and receive them, shortages of caregiver candidates will remain.

How to recruit CNAs and other caregivers in today’s market

Many of the traditional recruitment efforts—online job postings, job fairs, employee referrals, open houses—all have a place in your healthcare recruitment strategy for CNAs, nurses and other caregivers. But, in today’s job market, it’s just as important for you to be connected as it is for job candidates.

Making connections on social networks, especially LinkedIn®; developing relationships with local schools; and asking employees to talk about job opportunities wherever and whenever possible will all extend your reach beyond traditional recruitment practices.

Some senior living facilities are finding success in rather unique ways; hiring candidates to fill in for roles as needed within the facility, rather than taking a permanent position. After about the first year, the employee may then settle into a desired role, where they are more likely to remain rather than finding employment elsewhere. Likewise, other facilities have tapped skilled talent who are not currently in the labor market, perhaps stay-at-home moms, retirees or students, who can work part time as needed.

How to recruit millennials

Creative tactics also are needed when attracting millennials, the generation that makes up the largest portion of today’s workforce.

Three things are important to millennials as they search for their next employer:

  1. Use of technology
  2. A sense of purpose
  3. A desire to advance in their career

Technology: As part of your recruitment efforts, show millennials how you are using technology at your facility. Whether the technology is used to make your facility more efficient or whether you offer activities that teach residents about the latest tech gadgets, millennials will appreciate—and expect—the use of technology in your community. At River Pines, for example, the technology that supports caregivers gives them more time to do what they love—interact with residents.

Sense of purpose: It may go without saying that a senior living community has a huge sense of purpose. Millennials want to see you live that purpose, as well as your company values, day in and day out. Let your purpose and values shine during each step of the recruitment process.

Career advancement: Millennials want to be future leaders. As part of recruitment, have them talk to staff members who advanced in their careers while at your facility. Millennials want to know they will be supported in professional development and in creating a career path.

River Pines is a great example of how design and facility amenities for residents also serve as amenities sought after by caregiver candidates. River Pines is spacious, bright, airy, and most of all, home-like. Residents and staff have access to technology, the outdoors and relaxing multi-purpose areas. They call it concierge care.

 

Shortages in caregiver staffing are expected to remain with us for many years to come. By setting yourself apart from your competitors in recruitment efforts, you’ll have greater success in recruiting and retaining qualified candidates.

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