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2023 Outlook: 5 Trends Shaping Staffing In The Senior Living Industry

With decade-long staffing challenges compounding with new regulatory requirements Senior Living is primed for a transformation in 2023.

As the new year approaches, community leaders are rallying around new trends and strategies to shape their 2023; breaking the cycle of employee turnover and boosting profitability.

Here are the top 5 trends impacting staffing:

The Shift To An Employee-Focused Culture Will Take Priority

The great resignation, paired with heightened labor costs forced operators to rethink their approach to staffing and ask themselves the hard questions: “What is it like to work for us? What would make healthcare workers want to stay?’ 

Many operators have adopted the employee-first culture, recognizing that if they take care of their staff, they will, in turn, take great care of their residents. In practice, this looks like the organization taking care of each staff member, ensuring that their financial, wellness and career needs are met, that they feel valued and empowered, and have the flexibility to maintain a healthy work/life balance. 

Operators that do not prioritize their employees will begin to experience the consequences as more of the workforce opt to leave their roles for ones that offer flexibility, better work/life balance, boosted salaries, and more. Those that invest will see a return on their investment in form of boosted recruitment and retention, reduced agency and overtime, improved quality of care, and more. 

The Rise Of The ‘Non-Traditional’ Workforce

A shift in flexibility will open the door for the entrance of non-traditional workers, offering the opportunity for operators to boost their workforce and shift fulfillment. 

Unlike traditional staff that works 40+ hours a week, the non-traditional workforce is interested in less frequent, shorter shifts. To give you a few examples, non-traditional employees may be retirees from the industry that have decided to return on a part-time basis to supplement their income. They could be students who are interested in gaining hands-on experience and gainful employment while focusing on their studies. Or even employees that have left their community, due to life events such as parenthood, or due to the decision to enter another industry, only to stay on-call to pick up the odd shift. 

While operators still face competition to attract full-time candidates, a non-traditional workforce can be built to help supplement the full-time workforce, helping to fill in the gaps in the schedule with shorter and flexible hours. Removing the overall reliance on agency and overtime workers. 

Focus On Operating Margins Will Take Precedence

While occupancy has seen a partial recovery during 2022, the increasing inflation, rising wage costs associated with temporary agency staff, overtime, sick and stress leave, increased insurance premiums, and several other financial pressures have resulted in operators facing unprecedented economic pressure. 

At-risk operators are facing the possibility of closing their doors, with 59% of operators reporting a loss and over 50% of operators reporting that they cannot sustain operating at their current pace. 

As consequence, operators will have to scrutinize expenses, predominantly labor, and focus on driving efficiency through their organization; reducing agency costs, overtime costs, and a reduction of recruitment to maximize ongoing expenses. 

Operators Will Have To Think Out Of The Box To Boost Shift Fulfillment

With reducing labor costs a top priority for operators, executives will have to think differently about how to improve the efficiency of their workforce, filling more shifts with the staff that they have and eliminating the reliance on temporary agency staffing. 

We will see more effort being put into increasing the total hours worked by staff, introducing opportunities to pick up multiple shifts for those who are qualified and can work across multiple facilities within the specific region. 

Additionally, we’ll see the rise of the internal agency, where facilities will utilize internal floating pools, either through hiring dedicated staff or by cross-utilizing functions from within their organization, such as homecare, filling the staffing gaps and creating the opportunity for new revenue streams. 

Accelerated Adoption Of Staffing Technology 

Innovative staffing technologies have made it possible to puts operators in direct control of their workforce, optimizing staffing levels, reducing downstream labor costs, and solving the challenges that most affect operators today.
 They offer the flexibility to quickly adjust schedules, identifying scheduling gaps to deploy underutilized resources to achieve required staffing levels. As well as to notify staff of new shift opportunities, maximizing the potential hours worked per employee and avoiding potentially costly overtime and agency usage. 

With technology, operators additionally have the opportunity to connect with their staff in a meaningful way to boost recruitment and retention;  through 1:1 communication and by offering their staff the flexibility they need to maintain a work/life balance. 

While innovation in the senior living industry lagged, the indisputable benefits of technology will influence a greater number of operators to innovate and migrate to regain control and operational efficiency of their communities. 

Hit The Ground Running In 2023

Embracing innovation in 2023 doesn’t have to be hard. BookJane makes it easy for you to maximize your staff productivity with flexible scheduling and call-out; reducing (and even eliminating) agency and overtime costs while empowering your staff with the flexibility to pick up shifts that work around their schedules. Resulting in: 

- Better utilization of your staff 
- Streamline communications 
- Boosted work/life balance and retention  
- Reduced agency and overtime

If you’d like to see how BookJane can transform your business, you can Book a demo here