Ten Ways to Solve Your Labor Shortage

Senior Living communities are experiencing a labor shortage that is both a short-term problem, and demographically projected to be a 15-20 year challenge.


The cost of hiring a new employee typically costs over $4,000.1


The cost to replace an existing employee and train a new hire can run as high as 50 to 60 percent of their annual salary.2 For most positions, that’s well in excess of $10,000.


What are some positive steps you can take to:

  • Retain existing employees
  • Effectively train new employees
  • Improve work environment
  • Create a happy work environment
  • Improve recruiting process


1. Train and cross train existing employees.

Many communities have been offering training to existing employees in order to make up for a shortage in skilled workers, or skills, and to fill prevailing gaps.


Hosting regular training sessions is an effective way to help staff maintain skills and familiarity with their duties.


Training can be offered by knowledgeable employees that can share their expertise in order for the company to save time and money.3


Cross training is another efficient way to help employees gain skills in different departments and apply those skills to their respective tasks.


Employees with wider skillsets increase their flexibility to fill different needs around the community. 


Of course, another option is to put in place a tuition reimbursement program with quality employees to move them up your organization.


More often than not, if you demonstrate commitment to their future, employees will reciprocate.


And it's a savvy investment.  The ROI on training and development ranges between 4% and 353%.4

Team Training

2. Improve work environment to reduce churn.

Happy employees are more likely to stay at a company. Studies show that there are several things you can do to improve overall employee happiness in your work environment.


Some steps you can take are:

  • Prioritize work-life balance
  • Be transparent and honest
  • Encourage communication in common areas with residents and other employees (building relationships improves morale which can increase productivity)
  • Create a career pathway, meet with employees to plan a three and five-year career
  • Promote a positive work environment, positive praise and attitude go a long way.
  • Recognize and reward employees frequently, both in front of the team and your residents


Managers that practice respectful, clear, and consistent communication create a happier work environment. This ultimately results in less employee churn and longer employment with the company. 5


Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%!6


Happy employees are 13% more productive.7

3. Free food.

It’s expensive to keep hiring new employees ($10k+) and then training them, only to have them leave.


Free food for employees is an investment in retention and it’s usually cost-effective. In fact, 67% of workers who get free food at work are either “very happy” or “extremely happy”.8


And since it costs about $10k to replace an employee, letting them eat free at a typical cost of $5 per day is a $1k annual cost for a $10k annual benefit.


Free food always helps with new recruits as well. It says, “We treat our employees special.”

Team Building_Eating Food

4. Re-evaluate your recruiting practices.

Skill shortages can be a serious concern when looking for recruits.


Prospective staff members aren’t always going to be perfect when they start.


One option is to hire applicants that don’t meet all your criteria at time of hiring, but can grow into their role.


Or try hiring applicants that match the desired skills, but don’t have the experience yet.


Diversifying your hiring practice is a good way to find motivated individuals who could help your company reach its goals.3

5. Recognize and reward employees.

Show your employees they are valued and appreciated by offering them real-time recognition that celebrates their success and efforts.


Recognizing an employee’s accomplishments lifts their spirits and encourages them to do more.


When you do this, you’re acknowledging someone’s efforts and contribution. This stays with a person for a long time, and in return, you will also get rewarded – with their loyalty.9

Team achievement and recognition

6. Make opportunities for development and growth.

Employees place huge value on opportunities for growth alongside exceptional leadership.


Stats on why employees stay at a company:10

  • 48% - Having a good manager
  • 46% - Appreciation from managers and other employees
  • 39% - Career opportunities
  • 32% - The chance to develop new skills


Following these labor shortage solutions will give your company the opportunity to reduce employee churn and boost your ROI for training employees.

7. Bounties.

Pay bounties for employees who introduce and bring in new employee candidates for your business that you eventually hire.  You will find that employee-introduced candidates have a higher quality character, higher retention and help in retaining the original referring employee.


Recognize the true cost of finding and retaining employees and then pay a meaningful bounty for employees bringing in a new employee.  Meaningful means at least $500 the day the new employee is hired and $500 on their 90-day work anniversary.

8. Worker outings.

Find a way to have regular team outings where you participate in  some form of physical activity and you eat food and/or drink (but not to excess).


Team building works! 


Physical movement and food communicate we are part of a team, a family.  We are more than people that clock in and follow orders.


Again, remember, employees don’t leave companies where they love to work and feel that they have a future.  It’s that simple.

9. Train your managers.

Train your line managers in interpersonal communication and employee relations to build consensus and group accountability. 


It's about team, team and team. 


Top-down management and directives during the work day, even in dining service, just don’t cut it anymore.


It’s proven. People stay where they feel engaged and respected.


If you are experiencing high turnover, accept the fact that you have work to do in that area and change your work culture.


And don’t hesitate to weed out the line manager with a bad attitude or abusive tone, it pays off in the long term in improved morale and retention.

Friendly waitress taking the order from an adult couple while other customers sitting at the background smiling

10. Automate, automate, automate.

One of the most obvious ways to meet a labor shortage is to cut the amount of labor your community needs.


A powerful tool for that is a Senior Living Point of Sale system.


Our studies have shown that a typical deployment of the FullCount POS system in a community with 100 residents (as an example), will reduce labor by 174 hours per month compared to a community using a Non-Senior Living POS system.11


Even more powerful, labor hours will be cut by 230 hours per month for a community not currently using a POS system.


The reduction in labor drives down costs and makes operations easier to manage.


Click here to go to our Cost Benefit Analysis tool for a custom calculation of the labor and money you can save using a Senior Living Point of Sale system.

Free Cost Benefit Calculator. Just Seconds to See How Much You Will Save!

For more information on how FullCount increases employee and resident satisfaction, please contact us below.

1. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=cost+of+hiring+a+new+employee
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FullCount internal analysis of anonymized data. Results may vary depending on community deployment of various technologies and training for residents and employees, but forecast results should be commonly attainable.

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