New year, same situation: a growing staff shortage, high turnover rates and a 4.2 percent unemployment rate nationwide. In 2018, long-term care and senior living organizations will again be neck and neck, competing to attract the best talent.
That said, it’s time for providers to get creative with recruiting strategies. The retail space represents an excellent opportunity to find new talent. Just last month, Sears Holdings announced that it would close 45 Kmart and 18 Sears stores in January 2018. And other large retailers like J.C. Penney and Macy’s will also be downsizing in the coming months. This will create an unemployment pool for organizations to target.
However, providers can’t just start plucking from this pool. A little work on the backend is required. Here are some tips to help you recruit workers from outside the senior care profession.
- Promote the fun & fulfilling aspects of a career in senior care.
Dispel the misconception that working in senior living and LTC is emotionally and physically challenging at all times by showcasing the fun aspects of working at your community on your company website and social channels. Think along the lines of work outings and activities with residents. According to a study from the Intelligence Group, 64% of millennials say it’s a priority to make the world a better place, so highlighting the do-good nature of a career in senior care can help make your organization attractive. Doing so could even reel in those in the non-profit world.
- Invest in multiple channels and methods.
Go where the candidates are to cast the widest net possible. In addition to posting to traditional job boards, make sure to communicate open positions on social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I recently heard from a provider that they incentivize their staff based on the number of job posting shares to further expand their reach. A little help from their employees has helped this provider fill those positions without much investment on their end.
- Make the application process easy.
Providers have to do all they can to make the candidate experience enjoyable and simple from the start. A Career Builder study found that 60% of candidates have quit an online application mid-process due to its length and complexity. Initial applications should be mobile-friendly, take 1-2 minutes and only ask for the essentials and last employment to understand certification needs.
- Engage candidates early.
Providers cannot afford to sit on interested candidates and should follow up as soon as possible. Odds are job seekers are applying to multiple positions, so it’s a first come, first serve situation. When you receive an application, reach out immediately, and if possible, schedule an interview right away. Instant and consistent communication is key.
- Consider offering flexible scheduling.
Since many hourly workers hold multiple jobs, providers should consider offering as much scheduling flexibility as possible. Shorter shifts, mobile schedules and the ability to set scheduling preferences, pick up shifts and request PTO are a good start. During an interview, let the candidate know you’re willing to work with them to create a schedule that works for the both of you.
- Close the deal by showing you’re invested in your employees.
Often, workers from outside the healthcare industry won’t have the proper certifications. By offering to fund the training needed, providers can show they’re invested in their employees’ success and get an instant leg up on the competition. Another way to stand out: promote your workplace culture and the additional perks you offer like rewards for contributions, career development opportunities and other employee-centric offerings.
Yes, a career in senior care takes a special person — but using these tactics can help you find them. Take this as an opportunity to brag about your organization's amazing work, its culture and its commitment to residents and staff alike.