Senior Living Alternative Staffing Leads to Huge Turnover Reduction

While staff turnover continues to plague many senior living providers, some companies have shown large-scale success through new, alternative initiatives. One has prompted turnover levels as low as 5%.

Labor costs consume a substantial amount of senior living providers’ operating budgets—often times in the neighborhood of 50-70%—and can amount to $5,000 in training costs to replace a single employee, according to OnShift, a software company specializing in senior living staffing and shift management.

Strategies at the recruitment level can lead not only to a greater retention of staff, but can also pave the way for better resident outcomes and provide organizations with development growth, said an executive from a New Jersey-based subacute care company at the Marcus Evans-sponsored CXO Long-Term Care Summit in Las Vegas last week. 


Advanced Care Center at Lakeview, located in Wayne, N.J., has experienced significant return on its investment (ROI) for its staff recruitment and retention strategies.

“We’ve gotten a lot of ROI from our efforts,” said Linda Bowersox, vice president of clinical services at Advanced Care Center at Lakeview. “We were able to reduce our fall rate and pressure ulcer rate by 75% because we look at problems differently by using a more team-oriented approach.”

Implementing a team-based approach that empowers employees enables the organization to take care of the staff so they can better care for the patients or residents, she added.


The crux of the company’s mantra is not only to care for the sickest of the sick, Bowersox said, but to also promote a culture that encourages diversity in the sense that while every staff role is different, they are equally important when it comes to Advanced Care Center’s brand and strategic direction.

Some of the key recruitment strategies the company employs include conducting behavioral staff interviews, along with peer interviews, providing financial incentives, among other strategies that have been “very successful” in retaining Advanced Care’s top talent, Bowersox said.

One of these unique strategies is the company’s “Organizational Huddle” concept, an informal meeting lasting no longer than five minutes meant to foster better communication between both clinical and non-clinical staff. During the “Huddle,” staff members bring issues to the table and discuss them.

“The huddle is not done at the managerial level, rather it is done at the staff level,” said Bowersox. “It empowers staff to solve their own problems, and when that happens, your managers have more time to manage.”

Only 45 minutes away from Manhattan, Advanced Care Center at Lakeview is located geographically in what Bowersox said is a “very over-bedded industry,” but the organization’s strategy to get leadership and frontline staff together to perform critical self-analysis has helped the company gain some market share.

“Where an acceptable turnover rate might be about 40%, on average, for some organizations, for us it’s 5%,” she said. “If your organization doesn’t have the proper culture or doesn’t have staff that’s on the same page as the leadership, you’re never going to evoke positive change.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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