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10 Workforce Challenges Facing Senior Living Communities

The most successful senior living operators in the year ahead will be those that are prepared for changing business threats and those who understand the implications for their companies and for the people whom they employ.

Senior living communities are poised for scalable growth to meet exploding market demand. As the population in the United States ages and lives longer, new startups and existing businesses have numerous expansion opportunities — in physical locations, in service offerings and much more.

If you’re running a senior living community, we know that you’re in a constant race to staff up to meet growing demand. Unfortunately, finding qualified people to provide great care has never been more difficult. The industry is facing a unique set of workforce challenges that can significantly affect productivity and profitability for operators. We believe the time is right to master these challenges.

1. Ongoing Talent Shortage

Competitive labor markets have heightened the ongoing shortage in caregivers and nurses, and senior living communities continue to face pressure to recruit and retain workers. To win the war for the best talent, companies need to offer comprehensive compensation and benefits packages, and project a strong brand image to draw high-quality candidates throughout the recruiting process.

2. Rising Cost of Health Benefits

For many Americans, health insurance may seem out of reach due to premiums and deductibles becoming increasingly unaffordable. Medical benefits have become a growing challenge for senior living communities and their employees. Companies operating in multiple states may have multiple renewal dates, different carriers, and may not be able to offer more than a couple of plan designs. The company must maintain compliance with federal and state health insurance continuation laws and perform bill reconciliation.

3. Building Your HR Department vs. Acquiring It

Senior living communities are reaching an inflection point where they are ready to expand locations, offerings, and relationships. Hiring internal Human Resource (HR) staff creates a fixed cost on the balance sheet and is slower to scale up or down as the needs of the business change. Managing back-office HR complexities can be a distraction from the work that needs to get done to focus on growth. What strategy will work best for your business: Build, buy, or outsource HR?

4. Successfully Navigating the Hiring Process

As senior living communities grow and add new positions, they may benefit from an effective tool to post jobs, track the flow of applicants and manage the overall hiring process through to seamlessly onboarding new employees. The healthcare industry demands strict, well-documented, and highly regulated preemployment screening practices. The more a community knows about a candidate’s professional history, the more informed hiring decisions will be. Good hiring decisions lead to better retention rates and engaged employees who enjoy their job and who are highly productive.

5. Oversight of HR Compliance in Multi-State Operations

Senior living communities who have expanded to operate across multiple states encounter complexities related to time-consuming state employment tax filings and challenges with maintaining compliance. These are specialized skills that take time and resources.

6. Staying Current on Employment Laws and Regulations

Employment laws and regulations continue to change and expand, making it more expensive and more challenging to stay compliant today than it ever has been before. Consider what it takes to stay up to date with employment laws in areas such as worker classification, anti-discrimination and paid sick leave, just to name a few, as well as ongoing rulings by the National Labor Review Board.

7. Developing Talent From Within

While many senior living communities recognize the importance of developing talent internally, they often lack the tools, resources and guidance on how to do so. Investing in employee development fosters greater engagement and commitment, while also creating a pool of “ready-now” people to step into other open positions within the organization.

8. Offering Competitive Compensation

Without a proper compensation analysis, senior living communities may be under- or over-paying employees. In the case of the former, this can lead to retention issues, particularly in an environment where the labor market is tight and companies are competing for a limited supply of skilled talent. In other cases, companies may also be over-paying employees, which negatively affects the profitability of the business.

9. Maintaining an Ethical Culture

With many recent high-profile corporate scandals, companies are sensitive to the need to maintain a culture that is grounded in strong business ethics. Employees want to work for companies that have a purpose beyond the bottom line and ones which are supported by policies and processes (such as handbooks, training programs and employee relations) to create a culture of accountability.

10. Sustaining Employee Motivation and Engagement

Understanding what is important to employees and how to best engage them to create a positive, productive work environment is foundational to increasing both employee performance and productivity. This requires understanding the different generational mixes in your workforce and what motivates and inspires each group differently.

How HR Solutions Can Help

As the business landscape continues to change, demands on senior living facilities and operators are growing. Now more than ever, it’s vital to find new ways to attract and retain talent top talent in today’s labor shortage and be prepared for other workforce challenges. Paychex HR Services can help you tackle your current and future HR challenges with the help of our comprehensive suite of HR solutions and scale with your business over time.

Creating the right work environment needs to be a high priority for your business. Learn more for your senior living community with our whitepaper: Spotlight on Senior Living 10 Workforce Challenges to Master.

We can help you tackle business challenges like these Contact us today

* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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