‘Honeymoon Period’ for Senior Living Employees Lasts One Year

Senior living employees enjoy a “honeymoon period” of high engagement during their first year on the job, according to new data from national senior living research firm Holleran. After that first year, though, maintaining employee engagement—and avoiding turnover—becomes a whole new ball game.

First-year senior living employees are almost 10% more engaged than employees who have worked with a senior living organization for more than one year, Holleran’s research reveals. Employees who have worked with a senior living organization for two years, meanwhile, often have a similar engagement level as their coworkers who have been at the organization for 10 years or more. 

There are steps senior living providers can take during employees’ “honeymoon periods” to boost their engagement in years to come—and to reduce their chances of employee turnover, Holleran CEO Michele Holleran tells Senior Housing News. It’s important, for instance, that new employees’ supervisors demonstrate a high level of engagement.


“Employees usually don’t leave their organizations—they leave their bosses,” Holleran says. “When a boss is disengaged, direct reports have a difficult time being fully engaged longer term.”

Providers should also give first-year employees regular feedback on their job performance and consider conducting “stay interviews,” Holleran says.
“Career laddering—setting a clear roadmap for the new employee to see where his or her career might lead over time and what it will take for that progression to happen—is also important,” she adds.

Holleran suggests that senior living supervisors foster individualized connections with their subordinates, too.

“Supervisors who pay close attention to their employees’ individual needs are the ones who see their team members’ engagement stay strong beyond the first year,” she says.


The average employee turnover for life plan communities is 42%, the company notes, citing national senior living provider association LeadingAge.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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