The Great Resignation saw nearly four million American workers leave their jobs each month in 2021. Every sector was hit hard, but not as hard as the healthcare industry.
Senior care facilities currently face an uphill battle as they look for certified and qualified healthcare professionals to fill the open positions within their organizations. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) report that 94% of senior care centers are still experiencing extreme staffing shortages. These SNFs and other long-term care centers watched as some of their key workers left their roles during the COVID-19 pandemic — some making the difficult decision to leave the healthcare industry for good.
One study found that even before the pandemic, the senior care industry would need to acquire an additional 1.2 million workers by 2025 to account for industry growth. These numbers have since been exacerbated by the Great Resignation.
Senior care facilities have an arduous journey ahead of them. How can executives attract new employees in an industry where workers are quitting in droves while also retaining their key staff members? This has been an ongoing focus that healthcare executives have taken upon themselves in earnest. Many have leaned towards higher starting salaries and perks like sign-on bonuses to appeal to candidates, but these benefits don’t appropriately address the changes healthcare workers want to see in the industry.
To maximize their recruiting efforts, senior care facilities should consider strategies that often get overlooked in the healthcare sector. Let’s discuss these strategies in more detail.
Leverage Your Connections
The most promising pool of candidates you can tap are the ones your current employees already know. Your employees are likely well-connected across the entire healthcare industry, but the majority of their connections are probably in the same sector they’re in, which means these potential candidates are already qualified to work in senior care.
Your team members are familiar with your facility and proficient with your processes, so they’d know who among their connections would be the most qualified for the role, but also the best culture fit as well. You’ve established trust and loyalty with all your current employees, so who better to trust for hiring recommendations? Asking your team members for their input accelerates the hiring process, strengthens company culture, and improves retention.
Prioritize Your Online Presence
We live in an increasingly digitized and interconnected world. Every business benefits from having a strong online presence, and senior care facilities are no exception to that rule. Every organization should have an enticing and user-friendly website with a separate ‘careers’ page that’s updated, thorough, and easily accessible for interested job-seekers.
Part of a great online presence is also leveraging social media profiles to your advantage. It’s important to be active on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but senior care facilities should also consider creating separate channels for job listings. Here, you can share information about open positions, but you can also use this page to highlight employee achievements, post about company-wide events, and highlight initiatives that support employee and resident wellness. This is an impactful recruiting strategy because it gives job-seekers a glimpse into what it would be like to work for your company, which helps draw them to your facility before their first interview.
Simply Your Application Process
All job listings must project transparency and veracity and must provide job-seekers with the necessary steps for how to apply to your open positions. If your listings are vague and sound like they’re a replica of every other job posting out there, they won’t even bother applying to your company because they know you aren’t even willing to put in an effort for a job listing. Similarly, if your application process is convoluted and confusing, they won’t finish filling out the application and will move on to the next facility’s career page.
Amplify Your Onboarding Process
The onboarding process is the link between recruitment and retention. Your interview process is the first glimpse a candidate gets into what it would be like to work for your organization, but the onboarding phase is the most powerful first impression someone gets of your facility. During onboarding is when you should transparently communicate duties and responsibilities, as well as the benefits and initiatives your center offers to all its staff members.
Misrepresenting your facility and the positions you’re hiring for throughout the onboarding process will create an unhappy workforce, cause an uptick in turnover, and can also damage your reputation. Healthcare workers are very open about their experiences with organizations across the healthcare sector and will not hesitate to denounce your facility to others.
Hire Support for Overworked Team Members
Even if your facility is hiring new employees to fill open positions, there are still opportunities to provide ongoing support for your existing staff. Some senior care facilities are starting to hire employees to help out with non-nursing activities, like making beds, answering resident calls, and doing light housekeeping. This takes the pressure off your staff so they can handle more urgent responsibilities and provide better one-on-one care to residents.
Your staff is one of the most critical components of your senior care facility. Maximizing your recruiting efforts and taking care of existing employees is how you attract and retain top talent and achieve better patient and business outcomes.
Melissa Powell is COO of Genesis HealthCare, a network of 250 facilities across 22 states.