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Senior Care Industry Getting Squeezed by Labor Shortage: How to Release the Pressure and Find Qualified Workers



We are living in a time whereby service related jobs are more plentiful than the labor supply of prepared and appropriate persons. This trend is here to stay for many years to come.
 
The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections report that by 2010 we will have 167,754,000 skilled jobs to fill in the United States alone! Other studies from this well-respected government agency forecast that we will only have 157,721,000 people in the workforce in 2010 to fill those jobs. This means that we're facing a shortage of 10,033,000 workers!
 
Job openings stem from both employment growth and replacement needs. Replacement needs arise as workers leave occupations. Some transfer to other occupations while others retire, return to school, or quit to assume household responsibilities. Replacement needs are projected to account for 60 percent of the job openings between 2002 and 2012. Thus, even occupations projected to experience little or no growth or to decline in employment still may offer many job openings! Healthcare, particularly your industry, Senior Care, including assisted living, nursing home, continuing care residential communities and home health, has the fastest growing demand for workers.
 
Number of jobs due to growth and replacement needs by major occupational group 2002-2012:
(source: www.bls.gov/oco/oco2003.htm )
 
The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA.org) reports that, “Staff recruitment and retention is the amongst thetop concerns of Senior Care Executives for 2007.” In much of the research, attracting and keep qualified workers is repeatedly the number one concern of hiring managers in the senior care industry. 
 
Whether you are an Owner, Operator, Executive Director, Skilled Nursing Care Professional or a Department Manager, it is vital to the success of residential community that you put in place an ongoing, proactive recruiting plan.
 
All of your recruiting efforts must start with a foundation of principles that must remain intact and unwavering.  These are the basic tenets, or building blocks, of effective recruiting for the senior care industry:

   1. Successful recruiting and successful marketing adhere to the very same philosophies. They are built upon the same concepts of excellent service, consistency and ethical standards. Just as you market to raise awareness that your property is an ideal place for senior living, so shall you market within your community that your organization is an outstanding choice in which to work!

   2. Recruiting is a well-planned, proactive, on-going process. “Reactionary recruiting” leads to poor hiring decisions, poor placement decisions, loss of business, loss of reputation, and loss of revenue.

   3. NSR: Never Stop Recruiting. You may not always be hiring, but you are always recruiting! Keeping your cache of talent full so that when you need to hire a staff member, you already have a reserve of talent is an example of proactive recruiting. Keep your eyes open where ever you go- restaurants, on planes, when shopping, etc.

   4. NSI: Never Stop Interviewing. Be willing to interview walk-in’s or those without an appointment. If you won’t, your next “star” will be walking right across the street to your competitor!

   5. Top talent is rarely without a job and when they are, they tap their personal and professional network.

   6. Generally, help wanted advertising in the Sunday paper is not an effective or cost efficient method of recruiting.

   7. Recruiting is an assertive role. Just as most successful marketing/sales persons are self confident and believe passionately in their product or service, recruiters must also exude enthusiasm for their roles.

   8. Referrals are King! Referrals are the unwavering, irrefutable, most efficient and effective method of recruiting new employees and new residents! (Again, see the similarities between marketing for new residents and new employees?!) If employee referrals are not your number one most effective recruiting strategy, find out why and make every effort to change it!

   9. Employees are your most vital customer! Because you are in a service and “people-focused” business, your employees are the core of your organization. Residents much prefer to see the same reliable and caring faces as part of the staff rather than an ever-changing parade of strangers.

      So are you your employees’ supreme advocate? Are they treated with the utmost respect, made to feel important and vital just as you do with residents?

 10. Ethics Rule all the Rules. Great recruiters are never ‘poachers,’ truth-benders or ‘cannibals.’ Never overtly recruit from competitors, nor speak negatively of your competitors. Being renowned for your adherence to the highest of business ethics will serve you, and your reputation, far greater than engaging in discreditable acts.

Kristine Sexter, President of WorkWise Productions is an award-winning consultant, professional speaker, and author. She works with companies of all sizes from start-ups to Fortune 500, as well as trade and professional associations across the country to develop highly effective strategic employee recruiting and retention plans. To bring Ms. Sexter to your company or conference, visit www.KristineSexter.com or call toll free 1-866-5-Sexter.
 
 
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