Senior Living

Optimizing Staff Recruitment Efforts: Insights for Senior Living Communities

Mackenzie Fraser, Senior Vice President

Senior women

Navigating the task of attracting and retaining talent in the senior living sector is no easy feat, especially with a smaller pool of candidates and heightened competition from hospitals. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the industry is on a journey of rebuilding and adapting, with the urgent need to recruit skilled personnel following the loss of around 107,000 jobs during the pandemic. Looking forward, projections from McKnight Senior Living paint a picture of significant growth, with an estimated 3 million job openings in senior living by 2040, although uncertainty remains regarding whether there will be sufficient talent to fill these positions. Time will tell.

Despite these trials, there’s room for optimism. Senior living communities have the opportunity to leverage collaboration between marketing and human resources to implement simple yet impactful strategies to strengthen their recruitment endeavors.

Six Tactics to Try to Boost Recruitment

To be more successful in attracting new employees, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Here are six tactics that aren’t new but offer a new way of thinking. If you haven’t tested them yet, give them a try. You may grow your pool of applicants, get new employees and, best of all (and most cost effective), retain them.

1. Create a dedicated careers page.
By having a dedicated page, you are highlighting the importance of recruitment and employees to your brand. Don’t just include a list of available jobs; include videos, as well. They don’t need to be Hollywood-worthy: It’s more important to be authentic and showcase the real personalities of your employees. Make the careers page visible and prominent so potential applicants can easily find it instead of hunting for it.

2. Minimize friction.
Make sure calls to action clearly lead applicants to the next steps and the path to conversion isn’t overly complicated. According to Applicant Pro, 60% of job-seekers quit in the middle of the online job application because the process is too long or complex. Every step you add to the process creates friction; the more friction, the fewer applicants. The easier it is to apply, the better the chance at success. For instance, many people apply from mobile phones where they may not have a résumé available, so requiring a résumé upload may cause a potential applicant to stop the process.

3. Use social media for recruitment.
Combining the power of social media with a dedicated careers page increases your chances for success. Cross-post videos and job openings—be sure to show actual employees; don’t use stock photos. Instead, match the job to the creative element you are using. Align your social calendar with relevant events and observances, such as National Senior Citizens Day (August 21) or Gorgeous Grandma Day (July 23). If it’s National Ice Cream Day, have an ice cream party for employees and highlight it on social media. Show how you celebrate your employees on birthdays and work anniversaries, then invite people to join in by joining the team.

4. Incentivize employees to share job posts.
Create a robust rewards and incentives program that encourages employees to share job openings with their networks. This is especially important for management employees, who tend to have more extensive networks or longer tenure. Possible rewards can include event tickets, extra time off or cash incentives. Be sure to make it clear why employees need to share and help grow the company, and make participation in the process easy and fun.

5. Craft engaging job descriptions.
Drop the jargon and generic posts in favor of vibrant and inviting job descriptions that reflect your community’s personality and values. When writing your descriptions, think about how people really talk and how you can keep a potential applicant’s attention. Speak directly to them in language that resonates, highlighting the unique opportunities and benefits of joining your team.

6. Maintain your online reputation.
It’s essential to consider how your reviews and online reputation impact potential candidates’ perceptions of your organization. One effective strategy is to engage current employees to share their experiences and insights about your community on popular career sites. By maximizing positive reviews across various platforms, not just your website, you can ensure your brand is reflected in a positive light, ultimately enhancing your conversion opportunities and attracting top talent to join your team.

Align your recruitment efforts with your brand.

The first challenge is to work to change the perception of working in the senior living industry. Just as resident prospects may have misconceptions about what senior living today is all about, so will many potential employees.

Involve existing employees and residents in your marketing efforts to show a different side of seniors and senior living communities. Don’t be afraid to have fun and be playful; think about how you can make your brand attractive to potential applicants.

Recruitment is where your employer brand becomes essential, so use it to your benefit by being true to it. Videos, testimonials and even social media posts that illustrate the emotion, experience and joy of working with seniors can help tip the scales in your favor when it comes to applicants.

In short, to recruit successfully for senior living communities, it’s crucial to convey your employer brand effectively. Use engaging content that captures the satisfaction of working with seniors. By doing this and cultivating a positive employer brand, you can tackle recruitment hurdles and draw in top-notch talent dedicated to their mission of delivering outstanding care to residents.

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