Senior housing employee retention: how about a solution?

Having worked as a dining services director for a large luxury CCRC and a mid-sized high-end Independent Living community in the senior housing industry, what I am about to describe comes from my real life experience and the solutions I offer are based on my experience managing millennials.

Trying to hire and retain line level staff and entry-level managers in the senior housing industry is one of the hardest things I have ever done. In fact, some of the bureaucratic and antiquated hiring practices I had to indure completely drove me away from a job that I had excelled at while working in the private club industry for over 10 years.

Here is a brief summary of some of the issues I dealt with and your current operational managers deal with in your communities.  

  1. 4-6 week onboarding process for new employees from the time they are offered the position. This amount of time would cause us to lose 60-70 percent of new hires who can’t afford to wait that long to start a job.
  2. Pay grades of $11-$14 per hour for the difficult jobs they are asked to do is setting the industry up to fail.
  3. Offering millennials health insurance or 401K’s and thinking this is enough to make them happy, is not understanding their priorities.  
  4. Not offering inspiring or energizing long-term incentives. Millenials want something to look forward to and a Starbucks gift card doesn’t do that.
  5. Lack of technologies that will make their jobs easier & more enjoyable. This makes millennials (who grew up on their iPhones and with tech) frustrated with their jobs very quickly.

A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that the average vacant position takes 42 days to fill, and it will cost a little over $4,000. It can be much more expensive though when you add the costs of recruitment and training. The loss of a Millennial employee could cost anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000, and costs rise with salary and position.

know, when you hear those kinds of numbers, investing in employee retention sounds a lot more appealing, doesn’t it?

I believe the senior housing industry continues to suffer from a common misconception. The belief is that employee retention starts after someone is hired, however, it actually starts long before. It is critical to put obtainable goals, initiatives and incentives in place before, during and after the hiring process. Putting a bonus system in place (other than money) that your staff can look forward to and interact with, is a big piece of the puzzle for millennials.

If your HR managers, recruiters, and operations teams are using the same hiring and retention strategies they were using 1-2-3 years ago, failure is imminent.

But what does this new generation of employees want?

They want vacations and travel, they want something to be excited about that’s outside their daily routine. If I live in Chicago, going to Texas might sound pretty good in the winter. Travel gives people hope and something to look forward to, and the employees in the senior housing industry really need that.

Our company, SimpleStays has developed a system that we GUARANTEE will raise employee retention rates, while simultaneously making recruitment of talent more effective. Our system requires one thing, a dash of entrepreneurial spirit on your companies part.

I know what you are thinking, “but we are a senior living company, not a travel company” so how do we do that? The answer is simple, you launch our program called “Silver”.

“Silver” is your senior housing companies internal travel program and it was designed to accomplish four goals.

  1. Increase occupancy rates at poor performing or new communities.  
  2. Increase employee and resident satisfaction by offering reduced rate travel lodging at your Senior Living properties.
  3. Increase line level and management retention/ job satisfaction percentages by offering reduced rate and free lodging as an employee “bonus” program.
  4. Save your company tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee turnover.

Creating your inter-community travel program will send a lightning bolt of positivity and excitement through your entire company. The program will increase both resident and employee satisfaction, simultaneously transforming the recruiting and sales processes.

Here is an abridged description of the program. First, we choose between 6-20 communities, (depending on the size of your company) all with Independent Living options.

  1. We start with the 3 to10 (depending on the size of your company) lowest performing or new communities in your portfolio from an occupancy standpoint. (to define success metrics over a 12 month period)
  2. Pair those communities up with 3 to 10 communities that have the highest employee turnover rates. (to define success metrics over a 12 month period)
  3. Furnish 2-5 available units for short-term rentals units in those communities.
  4. Create a white-labeled travel style web portal (branded “XYZcompanySilver”) that allows residents and staff of those communities access to book stays.
  5. Train the operational staff on the use of software product and procedures.
  6. Internally market and launch “Silver” to those communities.

Aren’t you tired of watching your recruiting and human resources teams do the same thing year after year always ending up with the same results? Well, a solution exists for those recruiting and retention issues, if you really do want to solve them??

Contact us today and we will implement your first two communities FREE OF CHARGE, so your company officially has nothing to lose!!

At SimpleStays we understand some technology programs require a real entrepreneurial spirit. This, however, should not stop you and your team from arranging a demo to get a different point of view on employee retention and resident inter-community travel programs. Our only goal is to encourage and enable innovation in the Senior Living industry.

Related Article:

Millennial Employee Retention