What has changed with labor in the senior care industry over the last two years? Back in October 2021, LevinPro LTC hosted a webinar discussing the senior care industry’s staffing shortages with CEO of Dwyer Workforce Development, Barb Clapp, and Steve LaForte of Cascadia Healthcare. Those interested in watching Finding It, Retention & Coping with Higher Wages can find the replay link here. Two years later, with the same panelists, Managing Editor Ben Swett hosted Has There Been Any Progress on Labor?, detailing the industry’s path towards labor stabilization, what has gone right, and what still needs to be done.

Clapp and LaForte discuss how staffing issues have altered since 2021, and ameliorated, addressing what has worked to increase retention and what has not worked. They also talked through the concept of a minimum staffing mandate, the impact increased staffing costs have on returns and more. Each panelist gave their final thoughts on what needs to be done to avoid having another webinar focused on labor shortages two years from now, stating what they believe is vital for the industry to move forward and thrive.

So, what are the take-aways and the innovative ideas that Clapp and LaForte convey? Compared with two years ago, LaForte noted that there is more stabilization in labor expenses, with wage-scale changes, fewer unfilled positions, not as much agency staffing and improved retention. Both panelists emphasized that wage increases and marketing the industry properly has been key to attracting the best staff, as well as getting your facility’s executive staff involved in certain steps of the recruiting effort. Emphasizing your company’s culture and ethos is also key to finding the right fits to join your teams. Clapp expressed that offering training, career and education opportunities, addressing challenges workers face (like housing or daycare) and fostering growth are some things that have resulted in successful recruiting and increased retention. And there is room for getting creative and to experiment with new ways to boost retention and remain flexible to your workforce’s needs, as LaForte brought up the idea of subsidizing those with long commutes for travel expenses, and also employee pooling among multiple facilities in the same region.  

The two speakers concluded with similar thoughts, voicing that the culture and working environment is imperative to successful recruiting and retention, with LaForte mentioning that business as usual does not work anymore because this is a different workforce with a different psychology. Clapp and LaForte finished by emphasizing the importance of the industry working together and sharing voices to foster a successful future for the industry. The replay to this webinar is linked here.