Senior Living Provider Tackles Million-Dollar Staffing Crisis

As high rates of employee turnover continue to plague the senior living industry — costing operators millions of dollars — one provider is taking matters into its own hands through its very own senior living recruiting firm.

The Goodman Group recently launched a national recruitment and placement company to grow the talent pool of supplemental employees in senior living. Those the company recruits are placed in one of the company’s communities, or with another partner senior living provider.

Platinum Career Solutions (PCS), based in Chaska, Minn., serves as a temporary staffing company to provide health care and hospitality staff when needed. PCS began operation in fall of 2014, and opened an office in Billings, Mont. in January of this year.

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PCS goes beyond the traditional staffing firm model, and implements community outreach and education programs, PCS National Director Brad Marburger tells SHN.

“We will participate in health care panels at universities, economic development discussions — we’re looking to be more visible in the market and have a greater impact,” Marburger says, noting that these outreach functions are beyond the scope of a human resources department.

As a temp staffing company, PCS is looking to attract qualified applicants already working, such as those employed by hospitals who are looking for extra shifts. The supplemental staffing company can be much more flexible with scheduling than a traditional human resources department, as well, he says.

PCS also addresses a well known challenge in senior housing: attracting new talent. To do so, PCS has rolled out a CNA class at its Billings location to attract and retain team members.

“In Billings we teach a CNA class, and we offer the graduating class employment in our communities,” he says, adding that there are plans to implement similar educational programming in other markets.

“The challenges all companies are struggling with when it comes to attracting talent are the stereotypes [of senior living],” he says. “Our properties are state of the art, high acuity properties. When I talk to nursing students as we’re out recruiting, they want to be challenged. I tell them, ‘In our communities you will see what you would see on a high acuity floor at a hospital. You will be challenged.’”

Highlighting innovative programs in senior living is also key to attracting and retaining talent, such as programs focused on health and wellness, he says.

In addition, PCS will be able to overcome some of the pay challenges caregivers face because “flexibility commands a higher pay rate,” he says. “We’re trying to create an environment to educate the public and recent health care graduates that senior living and caring for seniors is the future, so being able to attract talent to the market is key.”

PCS was created to position The Goodman Group to be ahead of senior living staffing trends on the horizon, he says, noting the growing need for caregivers.

“We’re the substitute teachers of the health care world,” Marburger says of PCS, noting that the company aims to have a branch in every state where The Goodman Group operates. “We’re hoping to change the market, one caregiver at a time.”

The caregiver support ratio — the number of potential caregivers aged 45-64 to persons aged 80 and older — will shrink almost 50% in the United States by 2030, according to an AARP study. In 2030, the caregiver ratio is expected to decline to 4 to 1, versus the 7 to 1 ratio seen in 2010, data show. In 2050, the caregiver support ratio is projected to fall to less than 3 to 1.

“By creating a supplemental pool available we’ll be able to provide the best possible care,” Marburger says.

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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