Senior Living Leans on Temp Workers, Bonuses to Combat Staffing Woes

Chief financial officers (CFOs) throughout the senior living industry are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to alleviating staffing pressures in their organizations—and with some success. But they’re still having to rely on temp agencies to fill staff vacancies a good deal of the time.

That’s according to the chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed for the June 2016 edition of Ziegler’s CFO Hotline survey.

For Ziegler’s report, the Chicago-based specialty investment bank surveyed approximately 155 CFOs, about 65% of whom represented single-site providers, and 35% of whom represented multi-site organizations.


The survey, as a whole, focused on various staffing pressures set to impact the senior living industry, including turnover, shortages and vacancies.

CFOs reported that the average turnover rate among the direct care staff at their organizations—certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and other nursing staff—was about 30%. Almost 16% of the CFOs said their organizations have had to limit resident admissions in the last year due to staffing shortages.

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The survey respondents have tried several ways to alleviate staffing pressures, including during the recruiting process. 

It’s common practice to offer financial incentives to new recruits, such as sign-on and referral bonuses, the survey revealed. Many CFOs also revealed that they regularly attend and host job fairs to recruit staff, and some CFOs said their organizations have begun paying for their staffs’ nursing certifications.

Still, about 53% of CFOs revealed they’ve had to work with temp agencies to fill vacancies of direct care staff.

Meanwhile, a vast majority of CFOs—73%—are dreading the impact the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime ruling will have on their organizations once it takes effect on Dec. 1, 2016, the survey showed. Approximately 57% of the CFOs also said that the minimum wage increases have had a moderate to significant negative impact on their organizations.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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