Shift the paradigm to an employee-first workplace by Patricia Ryan, MS
The challenge of staffing shortages within organizations focused on older adults did not happen overnight, nor did it emerge because of the COVID pandemic. Especially in senior living--that combination of real estate, services and lifestyle--staffing has been a thorny issue for leadership for many years. Staff members have also felt the pressure of too few hands for the work, or untrained and unmotivated colleagues. What the pandemic has changed dramatically is the workplace environment. Forced closures, mass resignations, illness, closed schools and burnout have changed the way people view their jobs and forced employers to rethink how they attract and retain workers. Motivated by the need to recalibrate the philosophy of employment in senior living and fine tune processes to adopt new approaches, delegates from more than 40 senior living organizations joined together at the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) Forum 2021 to develop new approaches to the staffing challenge. These recommendations also have the potential to improve hiring and retention while positively impacting the quality of life of residents and clients.