Across the United States, assisted living and senior care facilities are facing unprecedented employee turnover rates. There are many factors that influence the turnover rate, including job stress and low pay rates. Employee turnover has a steep financial cost for assisted living facilities; industry analysts point to the fact that replacing one skilled employee can cost a facility $2500 or more in recruiting and training costs. Compound that figure with the high turnover rate in many facilities and it is clear to see that the assisted living industry must find ways to retain quality employees over the long term. An understaffed facility will only increase their liabilities through a greater risk of accidents, increased stress levels, and the potential for employees to be overworked to the point of OSHA violations. Assisted living insurance may mitigate some of the financial burden on care facilities, but employee retention is the key to driving down costs.
In this first article of a two-part series on employee turnover in assisted living facilities, we will look at some of the factors causing high turnover rates and how those rates are impacting the industry. In the second article of the series, we will introduce strategies to boost employee retention, reducing overhead costs and improving care for patients of these all-important facilities.
Factors Influencing Caregiver Turnover Rates
Senior care organizations, including skilled care and assisted living facilities, are struggling to fill employee positions. Employee turnover rates vary between professional categories, with frontline staff rates exceeding 23%. What is causing these high rates?
The first factor is that of workload considerations. Employees at assisted living facilities face tough workplace demands on both physical and emotional levels. Employees may often be required to cover staffing shortages; in effect, doing more with less. This factor can lead to employee burnout, and is responsible for the bulk of turnovers in the industry.
Pay rates are another important factor. Pay tends to be on the low end for caregivers in assisted living facilities, especially among paraprofessional staff. While some facilities supplement pay with employee perks such as discounted meal programs and rewards initiatives, the low pay rates in the industry have driven many qualified employees to other healthcare outlets. Related to low pay is the fact that employees may not have opportunities for career growth; employees may hit salary caps or not be able to expand their skill sets, leading to job dissatisfaction and low retention rates.
Finally, leadership roles and communication play a large part in employee retention. Disruptions in the chain of command, coupled with a loss in employee morale due to ineffective leadership, can drive employees away. Both the facility and its patients suffer as a consequence. Ultimately, failures in leadership can reduce the quality of patient care, decreasing positive care outcomes.
Our Next Article: Employee Retention Strategies
In the next part of our two-part article series, we will introduce several strategies that assisted living facilities can use to improve employee retention rates. Finally, we will go over the benefits of assisted living facility insurance plans and how they can provide financial protection against loss.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at 317.575.4440.