Assisted living facilities (ALFs) are tasked with providing compassionate and safe care for America’s seniors. Caregivers at these senior care centers assist with medical treatment and support as well as helping residents with daily tasks like dressing, bathing, and eating. Staff members have many responsibilities, and these individuals are central to the facility’s daily operations. As part of a risk management strategy that includes assisted living facility insurance, facility managers must ensure adequate staffing levels. In this guide, we will explore best practices for recruiting employees with top talent to ALFs, helping position facilities as the best in their healthcare sector.
An Employee Retention Crisis in Assisted Living Facilities
The senior care sector has long been plagued by high employee turnover rates and difficulties in recruiting caregivers. A 2007 study published by The Gerontologist illustrated the problem; in the study, numerous ALFs reported turnover rates exceeding 100%. Keeping talent is only one aspect of the staffing crisis facing ALFs; recruiting employees and qualified caregivers and support staff is another. Assisted living facility insurance is strained by the risk exposures associated with inadequate staffing. Factors influencing poor retention and recruitment of qualified candidates include:
- High burnout rates in ALF staff
- Intentional understaffing as a means of controlling costs
- Pay rates chronically less than in similar healthcare settings
- Required overtime hours with insufficient compensation for employees
- High workloads, including the demands of providing care for seniors in advanced states of physical and mental decline
Tips for Improving Recruitment in ALFs
Faced with the above factors, ALF managers and owners have scrambled to implement risk protection strategies, including the comprehensive coverage afforded by assisted living facility insurance. At senior housing industry seminars and workshops, methods for improving staff recruitment have been presented at length. Some of the industry best practices include:
Leveraging contacts within the facility – in many healthcare settings, staff members may be familiar with qualified candidates working in other facilities. It is always a good practice to seek recommendations from existing staff members; this helps to build loyalty within the staffing ranks and can help locate top talent.
Looking outside the senior care sector – highly-qualified candidates are plentiful, if facility managers know where to look. Professionals recently graduating from nursing school or similar professional education may not have considered ALFs as a career stepping stone; this could be a great opportunity for younger caregivers to gain valuable experience. Support staff from other healthcare settings may also be interested in transitioning into senior care. Casting a wide net across the industry seems to be the key in finding qualified candidates.
Turning to the Web for help – in today’s highly-connected world, a robust online presence is crucial for forward-looking ALFs. Through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, ALFs can showcase their facility operating environments and use these platforms as a recruitment tool. Posting career opportunities on social media makes sense; job postings have the potential to be shared with a relatively large audience.
Streamlining the application process – applying for jobs in the healthcare sector can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be this way. ALFs can streamline the process by making the application process simple. If qualified candidates apply, documentation can be obtained later on during the interviewing process. During interviews with candidates, it is also a good practice to set expectations, such as how quickly the facility is expecting to make hiring decisions and offering feedback to prospective hires.
Improving onboarding and training – for any new hire in the healthcare field, the first 90 days are critical. New caregivers are bombarded by information to process and procedures to follow. Unfortunately, this can be overwhelming and many new hires quit within those first 90 days. A better solution to improve both retention and recruitment is to establish a welcoming environment for new hires. Training should be conducted in short, easy-to-digest blocks, and ample social time between staff members should be built into the onboarding process. By improving onboarding and training with clear expectations and great communication, facility managers can set the stage for a positive relationship between the ALF and its staff.
Staffing is one of the components of a robust risk management strategy in ALFs. Coupled with assisted living facility insurance, these best practices for locating and recruiting employees and top talent can improve facility operations dramatically and reduce risks for both staff members and residents alike.
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 (877) 226-1027.