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Understanding, and Keeping, Our Workforce

May 7, 2019 | James Balda

Understanding and keeping our workforceAfter a successful Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference, it is natural to take a bit of a breather. But this year, we are pushing ahead into a higher gear. That’s especially true in our workforce initiatives, and the advances I was proud to announce at the conference. Two of them are especially exciting as we grow to meet the ever-expanding challenge of workforce development within senior living.

The first recognizes we have to be smarter about our workforce. It all starts with data. Not just about who is working for us now, but also what is the talent pool we can expect to reach today, and, even more, where will the future workforce come from. Enter the Workforce Insight Report, a sophisticated analysis of workforce statistics, employment trends, and occupational wage rates targeted to key metropolitan areas. Argentum has launched this report as a benefit to our Premier members, thanks to sponsorship by OnShift.

In our second announcement, I proudly proclaimed Argentum’s commitment to developing the first national apprenticeship for caregivers in senior living. This is a proven model for building a pipeline of talent. In an apprenticeship, we will structure what employees learn on the job along with related instruction (say in a classroom or online) so that our workers know what is needed to earn wage increases and promotions.

We’re starting with caregivers because they are our largest job category that also shows a high turnover rate in our communities. We know from a number of data sources, including OnShift’s analyses of our workforce, that if we can keep these caregivers for a year or more, their retention rate rises dramatically. Apprenticeship may be that gamechanger for senior living.

As always, we welcome your input and partnership. I urge senior living providers to get involved and weigh in as we build out standards for caregivers to grow with dementia training and other credentials, and put this to place in your own workforce. And be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s conference, May 18-20, in Tampa, FL.

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About James Balda

James Balda is a guest author for OnShift’s blog and the President and CEO of Argentum, the largest national association exclusively dedicated to senior living communities and the seniors and families they serve.

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