Operations Best Practices

How to Reduce Staff Turnover in Your Senior Living Communities

October 14, 2021

High employee turnover is a pressing issue faced by operators in the senior living industry. Frequently replacing employees negatively impacts the work culture and consistency of care in your communities. Not to mention, turnover is costly — a typical senior living operator with ten communities can save $2.2 million annually by reducing turnover by just 10%.

To avoid the high cost and turmoil of staff turnover, it’s important to understand the role burnout plays in employee retention rates for senior living communities. 

Senior living staff perform emotionally demanding work as they are always trying to improve their residents’ quality of life. Taking on this responsibility, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, can lead to burnout, a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Recreation teams work incredibly hard to keep others happy, but they are often understaffed, under-resourced, and underappreciated. The demands of the job coupled with a lack of support can drive recreation professionals to seek other employment.

To make matters worse, high turnover often becomes a vicious cycle. As staff leave, the remaining staff members take on additional work and responsibilities, which puts them at higher risk of burning out themselves. With these challenges in mind, here are our strategies for reducing staff turnover in your senior living communities!

Ensure Seamless Onboarding for New Hires

Turnover rates are at their highest within the first 90 days of employment. With data showing that hiring has become more challenging than retention in senior living, it’s more important than ever to ensure a smooth onboarding process for new hires. Make sure new staff are given the know-how and support they need to succeed during this critical period.

Ensure your recreation data is easily accessible to enable seamless knowledge transfer for new hires. Having all your important resident data in one place will help your new hires get to know the community quickly. This will not only give them the confidence to succeed in their new position but also reduce the flux your residents experience as a result of high turnover. When your community has a seamless onboarding process, your residents will continue to enjoy a consistent quality of care that is tailored to their unique needs. 

Invest in Staff Wellness

As everyone in senior living knows, wellness encompasses more than just physical health. Staff wellness is about ensuring your employees can prioritize their mental health and maintain a work-life balance. Flexible scheduling and creative benefits are just some of the ways that senior living operators are boosting morale amidst staffing shortages. 

One way to invest in staff wellness that is unique to senior living is to open up your site’s resident wellness program to employees. By encouraging staff to attend events and use your facilities, your recreation programming can double as wellness on the job. This has the added benefit of boosting employee engagement and promoting a sense of community. A company with a positive work environment where employees feel heard and valued will be more successful in retaining staff.

Retain Talent by Offering Them the Tools to Succeed

The most effective way to prevent burnout in your communities is to ensure your recreation teams are not overwhelmed and under-resourced. Support your staff by equipping them with the right tools to do their jobs efficiently.

Recreation teams are often burdened by outdated and time-consuming administrative processes. Stacks of paperwork take away from their time with residents and may leave them feeling like they are not making a positive difference in residents’ lives. This puts them at a higher risk of job dissatisfaction and burnout. 

A state-of-the-art resident experience platform modernizes your teams’ recreation processes so they can save time on their daily tasks. Optimizing your teams’ workflow will reduce workplace stress and boost productivity. Your employees will take greater satisfaction in their jobs knowing that they’re spending time on what matters most to them — enriching the lives of their residents!

We hope these strategies will enable you to provide your staff with the right support to reduce turnover in your senior living communities.  For more information, download our free eBook The Business of Wellness for Senior Communities and learn more about how staff retention is directly related to revenue. 

Welbi, the fastest-growing resident experience platform, is built with your teams in mind. Book a demo of the platform or chat with us, and we can show you first-hand how we support recreation teams with the best tools to create outstanding resident experiences, daily.

Katie Stewart

Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.

Holly Mathias

Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.

Wendy Riopelle

Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.

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