5 Solutions to End Workforce Nightmare at Nursing Homes

By Shawn Scott | August 16, 2018

I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about workforce issues with customers all over the United States. Rightly so as the nightmare description from the New York Times is real: nursing home staffing is a serious struggle every single day. Staffing levels can branch out into other areas of your facility, especially impacting your five-star rating.  After hearing from you, here are my thoughts on things to consider that will drive changes in the workforce.

1. Identify Best-Fit Hires

The top two concerns for CFOs in senior care are staff recruitment and retention, and labor costs.¹ I realize the urgency to fill positions, but this can often lead to more money out of your facility’s budget. A study from myCNAjobs found that 65 percent of caregivers are seeking out another job. What does that meant to you? Well, the average cost to replace an employee is about $3,000. By implementing a predictive and proactive approach that is customized to your facility and staff’s needs, you can reduce the stress of trying to pick the perfect candidate while still identifying the caregiver who is the right fit.

The Ziefler CFO Hotline Survey shows the two top concerns are related to labor.

 

2. Eliminate Overtime

The average nursing home has six to seven percent overtime, and OnShift, a healthcare staffing software company, also has data that shows a single percentage of OT is likely costing you about $20,000. The math is simple to see OT is costing nursing homes more than $120,000 on average from paying employees extra or spending unnecessary time trying to figure out the staffing situation to fill the gaps. Make the investment on the front end to avoid the scramble and overtime balancing act. One quick text message should be able to reach the employees on your target list and do it within minutes.

3. Engage with Real-Time Feedback

The reports are endless when it comes to the millennial workforce. It’s not just about the pay. They want feedback. They want to give feedback. Embrace that concept, and don’t wait for quarterly and yearly reviews. OnShift found 80 percent of employees want feedback in real-time.

4. Seriously Communicate

I say seriously because all we ever hear in healthcare is the importance of communication. But why do we have to keep emphasizing it? Clearly there’s still a breakdown. I like the idea of truly dedicating the first 90 days to training, but include mentorship and having conversations with new employees. They often have the best ideas for areas of improvement because they’re new, they have an outside perspective and they’re still eager to make a difference.

5. Provide Financial Peace of Mind

The average hourly pay in the U.S. for nursing and residential care facilities is under $20 an hour.² If employees are living paycheck to paycheck, imagine the week they’re having car troubles and need a few hundred dollars to cover the repairs just so they can get to work. Consider a system that allows for employees to access their earned wages in between paychecks. That peace of mind will surely help in staff retention and serve as an offering in recruitment.

These ideas aren’t too far-fetched. They can come together and be streamlined to better serve your facility and your employees.

Learn more about intuitive software and proactive services to solve workforce challenges in healthcare today.

Sources:

1. Key Issues Outlook Ziegler CFO Hotline℠. https://www.ziegler.com/z-media/3747/ziegler-cfo-hotline-report_january-2018_key_issues_outlookdocx.pdf. January 2018.

2. Nursing and Residential Care Facilities. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag623.htm#earnings. Data extracted July 23, 2018.

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Shawn Scott

Senior Vice President of Post-Acute Corporate Sales

During his tenure, Scott has developed several programs and partnerships to help long-term care facilities perform at their best, including LTC Solutions, abaqis® with Providigm, and the INTERACT® eCurriculum with Florida Atlantic University and Dr. Joseph Ouslander. Scott travels across the nation to meet with thousands of nursing homes every year and has been active on the boards and committees of several organizations including the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), American Health Care Association (AHCA), Advancing Excellence in Long Term Care, and Nursing Home Leader Academy.

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