Guide to Recruiting the Best Senior Care Staff

May 2, 2023 Kimberly Anderson-Mutch

Guide to Recruiting the Best Senior Care Staff

Working in long-term senior care requires dedication, compassion, and a willingness to go the extra mile for residents and patients. At your long-term or assisted living facility, you may find it challenging to recruit and retain top talent for senior care. This can make it difficult for you to accept more residents and grow your facility, as well as put additional emotional strain and a heavier workload on your remaining staff, resulting in burnout and turnover. 

While staff retention is a concern in every industry, healthcare and senior care in particular have been falling behind the average success rate. Your nurses' well-being and adequate staffing levels directly associate with the quality of care they provide your residents. That's why it's critical to equip them with the tools they need to feel supported and less burdened with administrative work. Learn how to recruit senior living staff and retain them with the right tips and solutions.

Why Hiring and Retaining Assisted Living Staff Can Be a Challenge 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people in the U.S. who are 65 years old and older is expected to double by 2030, which means there may be over 70 million seniors over the age of 65 within the next few years. This means many long-term care and assisted living facilities that provide senior care may have an increased demand for skilled nurses. If the current state of the industry does not improve, it can be more difficult for senior care facilities to remain properly staffed and meet compliance standards. 

Today, when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff, there are several obstacles that may already be in your path as you try to expand your skilled nursing team. Here are a few reasons why recruiting caregivers can be such a challenge.

  • Poor pay and benefits: It's no secret that many healthcare workers feel underpaid for their talent and efforts. If your facility is facing high turnover, it may be useful to reconsider the nursing rate and benefits package you provide. If your current rates fall below the average, it can quickly turn top talent away from applying to your facility. 
  • Understaffed facilities: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that there will be a shortage of over 200,000 nurses each year until 2031, which means many healthcare facilities in the nation will continue to struggle with inadequate amounts of staff. If your facility does not have the right solutions to recruit experienced nurses, it can make other potential hires wary of joining your team for fear of a heavy workload. 
  • Mandatory overtime: When short staffing becomes too much, many facilities decide to implement mandatory overtime, which forces nurses to work long hours with little time for them to rest and recover in between shifts. Mandatory overtime policies can prevent skilled nurses from joining your facility and create burnout in your existing staff, leading to more turnover.
  • Limited career growth: A survey found that of all nurses who left their job for a new position, 24% of them cited lack of career advancement or training opportunities. Providing professional advancement opportunities like continuing education (CE) programs to help nurses maintain their licenses can increase their job satisfaction and attract nurses looking for the same long-term growth. 
  • Schedule flexibility: Nurses today value a work-life balance. In fact, difficulty balancing work and personal life increases nurses' desire to leave their jobs. If your facility gives team members little control over their schedule and the ability to take time off, it can prevent them from applying to your facility or staying loyal once you hire them. 

Importance of Using Automated Solutions for Recruiting and Retention

A study found that 90% of nurses report a significant reduction in the quality of patient care when they're facing a staff shortage. Many facilities may experience this type of shortage, causing nurses to spread themselves too thin and reduce the amount of time they're able to spend with each resident or patient. 

Importance of Using Automated Solutions for Recruiting and Retention

Once you factor in the administrative work, documentation, and scheduling hassles nurses have to deal with, it leaves little room to ensure that residents are getting the care they need. In addition, it leaves your HR teams with little time and resources to focus on hiring more staff members when trying to maintain your existing staff. 

As a nurse or facility manager, you can lighten the burden of an excessive workload on both your nurses and administrative team by implementing an automated solution, such as workforce management software, to help your staff optimize their workday and allow them to engage with what matters most —the patients! 

With a tool specifically designed for senior care facilities, you can also attract and recruit more nurses, assuring them that they won't have to spend hours of their day dealing with the weight of administrative tasks distracting them from delivering better quality care. Automated solutions also streamline communication in your facility, meaning your employees don't need to hear about schedule changes, open shifts, or opportunities for career advancements through the grapevine. 

The right mobile workforce management solution will empower your staff members by promoting collaboration between all departments, so everyone can communicate swiftly and efficiently. This means your teams can more effectively recruit quality team members and be on the same page about interviewing, onboarding, training, and creating schedules to make a lasting impression on your new nurses. 

7 Best Ways to Recruit Senior Living Employees

If you want to learn how to find assisted living staff that enhance your existing team and stay loyal to your facility for years down the line, it's important to improve your current practices and processes to attract them in the first place. Here are seven ways to help you recruit talented nurses for your senior care facility. 

1. Improve Onboarding and Training

When it comes to recruiting, one of the most important parts of getting top talent to accept their new role as a senior caregiver is the first impression they get during their interview, onboarding, and training sessions. During their first few days and weeks with your facility, new hires will see firsthand how you manage your staff and the workload you will expect them to carry as a new staff member. 

In order to retain these new nurses, it's important to be patient with them as they learn your practices and procedures. Your training and onboarding sessions should be relatively easy to digest, with ample time in between for social breaks or getting to know other staff members. Creating a smooth transition can help new hires see that you run a positive work environment and prevent them from quitting within the first 90 days, which can waste your time and resources. 

Additionally, providing clear expectations and facilitating efficient communication with your candidates and new hires can also set the stage for employee empowerment. Keep in mind that many new staff members may feel lost when getting into intense situations on the job if they don't yet have the right training or know your facility procedures, so providing them with clear documentation and helping them feel prepared can prevent them from seeking employment elsewhere. 

7 Best Ways to Recruit Senior Living Employees

2. Provide Educational and Developmental Opportunities

If new hires and existing nurses feel that there is little room for them to grow in their careers at your facility, you can improve their engagement and loyalty to your organization by providing ongoing career development and professional skills training. 

Implementing programs such as hospital management or training courses in various departments helps your staff members develop their professional skills and learn about other aspects of long-term caregiving that they may want to pursue in the future. 

In addition to career-boosting education, it's also important to provide ongoing training for any updated practices, policies, or systems in your facility. For instance, if you're transitioning from a legacy system or manual process to a fully updated, automated solution, it's important to give your nurses time to learn the interface so they can efficiently perform their tasks.

Switching to software that offers a user-friendly, intuitive interface can help your staff become more comfortable and less overwhelmed with moving to a completely new system. 

3. Offer Same Day Pay 

An effective way to attract top talent to your skilled nursing facility is by implementing competitive pay and benefits. To help you stand out amongst other senior care facilities, consider enhancing your nurses' ability to access their wages by offering same-day pay

This convenient benefit can incentivize nurses to apply and interview at your facility. With same-day pay, nurses get paid right away after working a shift, which makes it easier for them to budget and determine if they want to pick up extra shifts that month. 

4. Support Work-Life Balance

Caregiving is often a physically and emotionally demanding job, which means your nurses need ample time to rest and recover to prevent burnout. Encouraging your staff members to take care of their mental health and well-being can help them avoid fatigue and irritability when it comes to their role. 

Consider whether your facility might be able to offer certain work-life balance perks, such as a gym membership, company-sponsored counseling, or a yearly yoga retreat to boost socialization and support their emotional needs. You may even offer a survey to ask your staff for direct feedback and ideas about what you can implement to make it easier for them to put their physical and mental health first. 

Support Work-Life Balance

5. Boost Your Facility's Reputation

Nurses who have left other caregiving positions are likely going to be very careful about where they seek employment next, which means they're going to do their research when applying to long-term care facilities. This could include reading online reviews from past nurses who have left your facility or looking up your facility rating to compare it to other senior care facilities.

In addition to providing flexible compensation and benefits to entice new staff members, it's crucial to build a positive company culture for your existing staff to increase the number of candidates who want to work with you. If you're a trustworthy and supportive employer, they will likely seek a position with you over your competitors.

6. Improve Scheduling Processes

Skilled nursing facilities that struggle with short staffing, overscheduling, disorganization, absences, and unfair scheduling can quickly turn away top talent from wanting to work on your team. Making schedules last minute, for example, makes it very challenging for your staff members to plan important events in their personal life, such as family celebrations or taking a much-needed vacation. 

Likewise, having no backup plan if someone calls out sick can lead to more strain on your remaining staff and lead to high turnover. Improving your scheduling processes with an efficient automated solution can help you effectively organize schedules, reduce scheduling gaps and issues, customize schedules to fit staff needs, and cover absences quickly. 

With the right healthcare employee recruitment software, you can streamline your scheduling workflow and even generate smart schedules to adapt to your nurses' changing needs in real-time.

7. Empower Employees With Mobile Apps 

Consider the convenience you could offer your new hires and current nurses with assisted living staff recruitment software in the form of a mobile app. When your employees can access their personal data, including schedules and pay, right from their mobile devices, it significantly streamlines their workflow. This means they can be more productive and communicate more effectively with management and HR teams about shift changes or needs. 

The SmartLinx Go mobile workforce management app helps engage your staff members by giving them real-time notifications of open shifts, new schedules, and time-off request approvals all delivered in their preferred communication format. The app allows you to ensure proper staffing so your nurses never have to deal with excessive workloads while helping them better manage their personal priorities and strengthening their commitment to your organization 

Enhance Nursing Home Staff Recruitment With Smartlinx

Enhance Nursing Home Staff Recruitment With Smartlinx

Recruiting and retaining nurses can be one of the most stressful parts of your responsibilities as a senior care facility manager. Without the right solutions and resources, it can even be difficult for you to find the time to hire, onboard, and train new nurses while increasing engagement with your existing team. At Smartlinx, we know how frustrating it can be when you're working with outdated systems that are not built with the needs of a senior living facility in mind. 

Our scheduling and workforce management software aims to eliminate your pain points, such as high turnover, low retention, staff burnout, lack of efficient scheduling, and more. If you're looking to attract skilled nurses and keep them on staff for years to come, consider how our solution can help by ensuring workforce compliance and streamlining operations from your nurses and administrative team. Schedule a demo today to get started or contact us to learn more.

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