Today’s job market strongly favors workers over employers in the U.S., and figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.
The numbers paint a challenging picture for the U.S. overall:
The percentage of the American workforce who quit their jobs in May 2018 reached a 17-year high and in recent months, the number of job openings outpaced the total number of unemployed.
Total employee quits have trended upward for the past eight years.
In 2017, 40% of total new hires left their jobs before reaching their one-year anniversary — half of that percentage exited within the first 90 days.
And for senior care employers, the challenges may be even greater. The overall U.S. unemployment rate held steady in May at 3.6%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, and, as BLS noted, health care is an industry where employment continues to trend upward.
Additionally, the latest Gartner TalentNeuron statistics indicate there are a record number of positions open in direct care. As of August 2019, there are 38,938 open jobs posted by direct employers in the nursing care facility (including SNFs), assisted living and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) sectors. This number has doubled since July 2017 and has been steadily climbing toward 40,000 for quite some time now.
Direct-care workers have a plethora of jobs to choose from, from both inside and outside the industry, which makes it imperative for long-term care and senior living providers to make employee retention a top priority now and in the future. Here’s why.
Employee Turnover Is Expensive
Employee turnover significantly impacts a provider’s bottom line. The average cost to replace an employee in senior care ranges from $3,500-$5,000. And with turnover rates ranging from 40-75%, those an organization with 100 direct-care employees at the top end of the that spectrum is spending upwards of $375,000 in employee turnover over the course of the year.
Employee Turnover Compromises Care
Research from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has found a direct correlation between staffing levels and quality outcomes. As staffing levels increase, so does the quality of outcomes and vice versa. When turnover is high, communities are frequently short staffed, leaving other team members to pick up additional duties to meet care needs. Over time, this can lead to burnout, compromised performance and possibly missing important changes in resident acuity level. Turnover also impacts continuity of care as new caregivers must get acquainted with the needs of each resident.
Employee Turnover Is Detrimental To Community Culture
Beyond care, constant turnover can also negatively impact the morale and engagement levels at a community, perpetuating the problem. People are more comfortable and happier when working alongside people they know. Having to constantly get re-acquainted with new coworkers makes for a less desirable work environment. Plus, as noted above, having to pick up the extra slack of employees that leave doesn’t help the situation.
Constantly having to hire and onboard new employees also leaves less time to work with tenured employees. And as a result, employee engagement suffers further.
Employee Turnover Hinders Your Recruiting Efforts
A secondary but very real effect is high turnover’s ability to negatively impact your recruiting efforts. People talk and those that leave disgruntled often aren’t shy to tell their friends who work in the industry about their experience and post about it on job boards.