Avoiding Labor Shortages in the Seniors Housing Industry

The seniors housing industry is responsible for the safety and care of hundreds of thousands of seniors across the United States. It is a business that is in high demand and one that continues to grow daily. Although many jobs are being created in the industry, a lack of interest is turning into a problem for operators trying to staff new facilities.

As the number of consumers in the seniors housing industry goes up, a labor shortage becomes more common for operators, as facilities continue to be constructed across the country to supply the demand. Having limited staffing options among skilled and unskilled workers has a negative effect on the quality of services thus impacting your seniors housing investment.

Operators are now faced with the common questions:

“How do we find exceptional employees? Where do we begin to look?”

The American Seniors Housing Association hosted a round-table discussion where the team noticed that a majority of the conversation was primarily focused on labor shortage issues.

Here is a list of possible solutions developed by those in attendance:

Solution 1: Staff the Seniors Housing Industry with Migrant Workers

Attention, time and care are all qualities that make an exceptional seniors housing staff member. These are three common practices among other cultures and because of this, individuals have a deeper understanding and respect for elders in their community. Native-born Americans have a different perspective on senior health care and often don’t consider it a priority. This is a prime example of why migrant workers would be an effective solution to the staffing problems in the industry.

Staffing migrant workers in seniors housing facilities is an option that operators see as a potential success, despite concern that they would not remain long in the industry.

Solution 2: Create an In-House Training -Program to Staff the Seniors Housing Industry

Learning from the best is one of the most effective ways to improve the seniors housing industry entirely. Prominent and successful seniors housing facilities are in a position to provide in-house training programs for other facilities struggling with staffing and service issues.

Such programs can be tailored to train different levels of employees while focusing on the specific tasks that they will encounter in their given role. This training could be customized to the specific needs of a facility and include operators, caregivers, and executives.

Solution 3: Improve the Perception of the Seniors Housing Industry through Marketing

Most of today’s news stories on seniors housing are focused on neglect, abuse, and run-down facilities – casting a shadow over the industry. The media’s description of jobs in the seniors housing industry is not very appealing either. This portrayal, in turn, has a negative impact on the recruitment of new seniors housing employees.

Operators would come up with a solution to change the perception of the industry by utilizing the same tools as the media. A clever marketing campaign can be created by sharing ads through radio, television, the internet, and newspapers. It is expected that more prospective new hires would show interest after having a change of perception. However, campaigns take time to produce results, making this approach more of a long-term solution for the future of staffing seniors housing facilities.

Solution 4:  Are You Providing Enough for Your Staff?

There are many factors to consider when recruiting caregivers for a seniors housing facility. Every staff member has different expectations of what their seniors housing employer should offer them. There isn’t a single remedy that can fix all of the struggles that go into building a staff, but rather a mix of different solutions.

For instance, housing located in areas near facilities might not be affordable for employees thus creating a longer commute. Those typically able to afford seniors housing come from wealthy areas in contrast to the lower-paid employees of the facilities. Economic conditions of this nature do not make sense financially and could eventually discourage staff from continuing to show up to work.

Operators are aware that identifying the needs of their employees is an important part of staffing, function, and overall investment of their seniors housing development.  One example of meeting these specific needs is the creation of low-income housing for employees near facilities. This eliminates some of the stress put upon caregivers and provides some incentive to show up to work in order to maintain an affordable home. This will also allow seniors housing employees to garner important experience over longer periods of time and improve the seniors housing facility overall.

Childcare services can also be an important tool to factor in when considering recruitment strategies. Childcare can affect the availability of many employees if it is not offered. Providing childcare for seniors housing service workers will ensure a sufficient number of employees that are available to be scheduled for work.

Modifying the Seniors Housing Market Model

Trends in the seniors housing market suggest that the overall quality of services usually declines when industries grow too big. This is based on the belief that top executives and upper echelon members of the seniors housing industry have far too much control over issues that they know little about. While lower-paid employees interact with seniors the most, they have the least amount of input in the everyday decisions that go into running a successful seniors living facility.

It has been determined that facilities will be positively affected by paying more to lower-level employees. These are the employees that interact with seniors daily and understand their needs and requests. Providing satisfactory service will result in longer stays at assisted living facilities and benefit the entire housing market.

The Stahler Group at Marcus & Millichap Can Work with You

Investors are noticing the potential in the seniors housing industry as the market continues to grow. A constantly changing dynamic can make investing complex at times.

With years of combined expertise and hundreds of closed transactions, The Stahler Group at Marcus & Millichap is the best resource for your investment needs.

For more information about our free site valuation or other investment needs please contact one of our investment specialists today!