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The most successful senior living operators in the year ahead will be those that are prepared for changing business threats and those who understand the implications for their companies and for the people whom they employ.

The most successful senior living operators in the year ahead will be those that are prepared for changing business threats and those who understand the implications for their companies and for the people whom they employ. Below are 10 workforce challenges to master.

1. Ongoing talent shortage

Competitive labor markets have heightened the ongoing shortage in caregivers and nurses, and senior living providers continue to face pressure to recruit and retain workers. To win the war for the best talent, companies need to offer comprehensive compensation and benefits packages, and project a strong brand image to draw high-quality candidates throughout the recruiting process. 

2. Rising cost of health benefits

For many Americans, health insurance may seem out of reach due to premiums and deductibles becoming increasingly unaffordable. Medical benefits have become a growing challenge for senior living operators and their employees. Companies operating in multiple states may have multiple renewal dates, different carriers, and may not be able to offer more than a couple of plan designs. The company must maintain compliance with federal and state health insurance continuation laws and perform bill reconciliation.

3. Building your HR department vs. acquiring it

Senior living operators are reaching an inflection point where they are ready to expand locations, offerings and relationships. Hiring internal Human Resource (HR) staff creates a fixed cost on the balance sheet and is slower to scale up or down as the needs of the business change. Managing back-office HR complexities can be a distraction from the work that needs to get done to focus on growth. What strategy will work best for your business:  Build, buy, or outsource HR?

4. Successfully navigating the hiring process

As senior living operations grow and add new positions, they may benefit from an effective tool to post jobs, track the flow of applicants and manage the overall hiring process through to seamlessly onboarding new employees. The healthcare industry demands strict, well-documented, and highly regulated preemployment screening practices. The more a facility knows about a candidate’s professional history, the more informed hiring decisions will be. Good hiring decisions lead to better retention rates and engaged employees who enjoy their job and who are highly productive. 

5. Oversight of payroll compliance in multi-state operations

Senior living operators who have expanded communities to operate across multiple states encounter complexities related to time-consuming state employment tax filings and challenges with maintaining compliance. These are specialized skills that take time and resources.

6. Staying current on employment laws and regulations

Employment laws and regulations continue to change and expand, making it more expensive and more challenging to stay compliant today than it ever has been before. Consider what it takes to stay up to date with employment laws in areas such as worker classification, anti-discrimination and paid sick leave, just to name a few, as well as ongoing rulings by the National Labor Review Board.

7. Developing talent from within

While many senior living operators recognize the importance of developing talent internally, they often lack the tools, resources and guidance on how to do so. Investing in employee development fosters greater engagement and commitment, while also creating a pool of “ready-now” people to step into other open positions within the organization.

8. Offering competitive compensation

Without a proper compensation analysis, senior living operators may be under- or over-paying employees. In the case of the former, this can lead to retention issues, particularly in the current environment where the labor market is tight and companies are competing for a limited supply of skilled talent. In other cases, companies may also be over-paying employees, which negatively affects the profitability of the business.

9. Maintaining an ethical culture

With  many recent high-profile corporate scandals, companies are sensitive to the need to maintain a culture that is grounded in strong business ethics. Employees want to work for companies that have a purpose beyond the bottom line and ones which are supported by policies and processes (such as handbooks, training programs and employee relations) to create a culture of accountability.

10. Sustaining employee motivation and engagement

Understanding what is important to employees and how to best engage them to create a positive, productive work environment is foundational to increasing both employee performance and productivity. This requires understanding the different generational mixes in your workforce and what motivates and inspires each group differently. 


Download a complimentary copy of our brief guide to learn more about the implications of these workforce challenges for your business. 

For more information, visit or call 866-AT-OASIS (866-286-2747).  

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