Facility Recruitment Challenges Intensify Post-COVID

By Rebecca Young,
Affinity Health Services Vice President of Human Resources

Staffing concerns are certainly not a secret in any industry, but long-term health care has more than its share of challenges related to recruitment and hiring for caregivers and all positions.

Even before the challenges from COVID, the healthcare industry had begun to realize staffing challenges especially in the long term care industry.  Of course the pandemic and the challenges associated with providing care caused many care givers to leave the field.  Turnover rates skyrocketed for those providing direct care, and those who provide ancillary services as well – dining, housekeeping and laundry staff.

The industry is experiencing a decline of about 50% of applicant flow in nursing and related positions.  Therefore, those in the healthcare industry are all scrambling for the same candidates and there are just not enough of them!

During the past two years we have experienced continual market adjustments for pay, extreme sign-on and retention bonuses, and more and more healthcare workers taking positions with traveling agencies and agency staffing companies.

What have we learned and what are we doing to try combat the staffing crisis?

Of course we are evaluating and comparing pay rates more frequently.  We have learned to become more creative with positions and have crossed trained most of our ancillary employees so that they can work in housekeeping, laundry, activities and provide non-clinical support to our clinical staff.

We have taken advantage of the temporary nurse aide training program offered by the state to help with clinical needs.  Generally nursing homes and the like have had ridged schedules allowing for little flexibility.  We have change our scheduling options to be more flexible, adding more twelve hour shift opportunities and weekend only programs.

We are relying heavily on social media for advertising and sharing our story to elevate the awareness and needs in our industry.

As we head toward what hopefully is planning and preparing for an endemic phase, we need to refocus and push the “refresh” button and get back to some of the basics that slipped through the cracks as we managed the pandemic.

Here are factors that are important to rebuilding a staff:

  • Mentorship/training and development programs
  • Recognition through performance management
    • Internal and external recognition
    • Fair and Transparent treatment
  • Work-life balance (flexibility) listen to your employees

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