3 Tips for Battling the Workforce Shortage in Senior Dining

Workforce shortages are frustrating. If you find yourself in an endless cycle of recruiting and training for the same positions every month, you are not alone.

Today, we’re giving you three tips for battling shortages in senior dining to help you reduce turnover and improve connections between residents and employees.

workforce meeting

Embrace Turnover

Lowering your turnover rate is a noble goal to have. But, believe it or not, learning to embrace turnover will have a positive impact on employee engagement and even help you reduce your turnover percentage.

What does it mean to embrace turnover? Stop wondering how long an employee is going to stay, and start focusing on opportunities to support an employee in reaching their goals. Don’t tip toe around it. There is immense power in saying, “I would love it if you chose to stay here for 3, 5, 10 years, but I know that may not be your plan. That’s ok! Tell me about your goals while I DO have you here so we can discuss how I can help you achieve them.”

Accept that you are often a stepping stone to the next thing, and be willing to offer them opportunities to develop and hone their skills while you have them. You will find yourself with employees that are more engaged, loyal, and fulfilled.

Give Them the Tools

With a workforce shortage, we must attract talent from other industries like universities, restaurants, hospitality, and healthcare. The competition for attracting talent is fierce. We can showcase ways senior living is a great choice. However, if we are offering sub-standard tools for staff, we won’t convince workers to make the move.

Too often, communities are requiring employees to do mundane tasks that should be automated. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have you optimized automation with the use of systems such as Point of Sale, Reservations, Reporting, and Digital Menu Boards?
  2. What grade Wifi network are you utilizing to support these applications?

Requiring employees to perform manual tasks or use low performing tech sends a clear message: “I do not value your time and unique talents.” By giving them the tools they need, they are free to be innovative in their work which leads to better employee engagement and satisfaction.

Bridge the Gap

Three or four generations interacting together has its challenges. Get creative with ways to bridge the gap between Millennials, Boomers, Silents, and everything in between.

build relationship between young and old

You’ve probably already talked about your common mission to serve which is an important first step in bringing everyone together.

Next, gather everyone to talk specifically about other ways to bridge the gap. Have a meeting with a few residents and staff from each life phase, and brainstorm together how you can help each other understand different perspectives. There are no bad ideas, and the more off-the-wall the better because that will inspire creativity. Identify the strengths of various groups and ways to leverage them.

For example, instead of accusing a Millennial of being addicted to looking at their social accounts, encourage them to interact with a resident using their device. Suggest that the employee ask the resident to name a favorite song from when they were growing up, and pull it up on their device to listen to it together. You’ve now inspired engagement, compassion, and learning from the Millennial and the resident!

In conclusion, it’a all about relationships. No matter what season of life the employee or resident is in, people want to feel valued and appreciated. Providing opportunities for connection and improvement between staff as well as between staff and residents can have a positive effect on turnover.

Have you implemented a strategy that reduced turnover? Tell me about it!