Reflections on an article, “Supply Side Economics for Senior Living Operators” in McNight’s Professional Development Journal (April 2017).
The Bureau of Labor Statistic reports that at least 2.5 million more workers will be needed by 2030 to provide care and services to the aging United States population. This is not surprising if you consider the erupting number of people entering the 65+ demographic (more on that here). However, a concerning issue arises when you look at the current status quo of hiring and employment in the industry. In fact, there may be no problem as dire as worker recruitment and turnover facing senior living and long-term care owners and operators.
According to a University of California report, “median turnover in skilled nursing facilities was 44% in 2012, and median CNA (certified nursing assistant) turnover within these facilities was 52%. It’s worse today.” This is an extraordinary amount of personnel change!
Relatively low wages compared to other healthcare jobs, demanding and taxing conditions, and other factors contribute to this problem. One rather poignant observation made by researchers is that many employees feel undervalued and under-recognized for their work. The question remains, where will these 2.5 million skilled professionals come from, and how can senior living facilities get them to stay?
Training as a Way of Improving Moral and Communicating Value
An area that employers do have control over is developing new personal and professional skills in their work force. McNight recommends creating strategies that offer training programs “beyond the required in-services” to enable staff to grow personally and professionally and practice at their top skill set.
This is the exact type of two-way benefit we are working to provide to senior facilities with CircleTalk. The benefits of CircleTalk programs for participants is easy to see, but the benefit for senior home staff who can lead the program is equally as profound. Job training beyond the base level of what is required, and immeasurable value added to a given day on the job.
Incorporating CircleTalk engagement tools is a way to increase the quality of staff interactions with the older adults they provide services to, and increase their efficacy in communication, thus leading to personal and professional development. Our social engagement platform can develop more depth in the relationships residents and seniors they support, leading to improved job satisfaction and decrease staff turnover.