I recently had the pleasure of joining thousands of the best and brightest folks in the senior housing industry at the Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference in San Diego. Having attended this event several times on the operator side, this was my first time attending as an OnShift team member – and it was the perfect event for me to step out in my new role as OnShift's EVP of Enterprise Development for Senior Living.
Several of my industry colleagues, former coworkers and friends stopped by the OnShift booth to give their personal congratulations and good wishes, many adding that I had joined a wonderful company. This was confirmed when several happy customers stopped by to tell us how much OnShift has helped them.
As Argentum’s Corporate Partner for Workforce Development, it was exciting to see OnShift’s presence during the three-day event – from announcing our joint turnover and retention project with Argentum, to seeing OnShift CEO Mark Woodka introduce the keynote speaker (who later signed copies of his book at our booth!). I even presented a session titled "Meeting the Expectations of Today’s Workforce” that seemed to resonate with the audience – many of whom asked for a copy of the content.
As I headed back to the Midwest excited to dive into my new role, I reflected on my key learnings from this year's event. Here are my four key takeaways from Argentum.
- Senior Housing Has An Unwavering Commitment To Turnover Reduction
The senior housing industry has made addressing employee turnover a priority, so naturally it was a hot topic at the conference. In fact, OnShift and Argentum took center stage at the start of the conference to announce their workforce metrics initiative. In short, we’ve worked together to develop a standardized approach to measuring turnover and retention. This information will be used to establish industry-wide turnover and retention benchmarks and help providers identify areas for improvement. You can read more about the pilot program that’s currently in progress HERE.
Those in the audience were really excited about the project and many expressed interest in participating in the program. I can’t wait to see the results!
- Develop Employees’ Strengths, Not Weaknesses
Marcus Buckingham—global researcher, best-selling author, and founder of the Marcus Buckingham Company – was this year’s keynote speaker. He did a fantastic job covering the importance of developing employee strengths, rather than harping on and trying to alter weaknesses.
Building on your employees’ natural abilities boosts productivity, performance and retention. Think about it; happy employees that feel they’re doing good work are more likely to stay than those who constantly receive negative feedback or no feedback at all.
- Millennials Deserve More Credit Than We Give Them
There was a ton of discussion around millennials – as there usually is at senior living events - and how to recruit, engage and retain them. While I think that working to understand the unique desires and skillsets of millennials is important – as is understanding all generations in the workforce – we need to start embracing them, rather than generalizing them as a generation stuck in their ways.
Sure, they are social media-savvy and often have their phones in hand, but who doesn’t these days? In my career in senior living, I have experienced a different kind of millennial – the kind of millennial that wants to work hard for a good cause. Most millennials genuinely care about the senior living mission and want to be active contributors.
- We Need To Celebrate Our Successes, Learn From Them & Recreate Them
The industry faces a number of challenges with regards to recruiting and employee retention. However, I have high hopes that we can overcome them. You see, our industry is one that is filled with wonderful people—from CEOs to caregivers—and has Argentum and other partners working diligently to see us succeed.
In the meantime, we need to find a way to stay positive. There are plenty of success stories out there. We need to find them, share them, celebrate them and put what works into practice on a larger scale. Overcoming the shortage won’t be easy, but we the have resources, tools and knowledge. Now all we need to do is take action.
I am so thrilled to be a part of the OnShift team that is helping people take action everyday and I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish together.