revoving door in senior living

Stop the Revolving Door…Senior Living Employees are Leaving for Greener Pastures. What Could Make Them Stay?

Sixty percent of US workers (across all industries) are unhappy and have recently quit or will quit their jobs in the near future, according to an Inc. article. That’s a staggering amount.

Specific to the Senior Living Industry, studies estimate that senior living communities can experience a 10 percent and upwards of a 100 percent rate of turnover.  That’s an overwhelming amount and very concerning especially during a time when there’s more demand for senior living talent than supply. In fact, McKnights Long Term Care News states that at least 2.5 million more workers will be needed by 2030 to care for the so-called “silver tsunami.”

Why is your senior living workforce leaving?

  • Lured away by competition: Your best employees are probably getting 3 calls per week from your senior living competition with enticing offers to leave your organization and join theirs. This is called talent poaching and it hurts to see employees leave for a competitor.
  • Lack of career path: Not providing a clear career path ranks high on the list of why employees leave. Also, leaders not supporting their employees the whole way down the org chart and not promoting from within sends a message to employees that there’s no future with your organization. It should be just the opposite since the senior living industry is an industry rich with plentiful opportunities for advancement.
  • Want better compensation and benefits packages: There’s no doubt that your employees are doing comparative shopping when it comes to senior living salaries and benefits. In fact, Senior Housing News compiles an Annual Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report. While salary and benefits aren’t the only motivating factor for employees, they can help workers feel valued.
  • Feel disrespected: Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the positive impact of employee recognition in a senior living organization, many leaders and managers are still not practicing it. Therefore, it’s not surprising that an employees report indicate that workers feel more disrespected each year.
  • Overworked and stressed: A heavy workload in senior care often leads to stress, burnout and low morale. In addition, stressful workplaces and workloads often lead to health problems and absenteeism.
  • Lack proper tools to be effective: Your employees are expected to hit certain targets such as increasing the census and providing the best resident care possible. Without the right tools and resources, you’re hindering their ability to work effectively and ultimacalltoy, setting them up to fail.
  • Disruption in leadership: Most workers are not prepared to weather changes in senior care leadership and unless there’s a strategy in place to handle leadership disruption, people will leave. Your employees need to know there’s a qualified and capable leader at the helm. They need a “true north.”
  • Organization’s reputation: If your senior living community’s surveys and ratings are not glowing, and if there are any violations, your reputation will suffer. It’s difficult to retain staff if you aren’t considered a choice employer.

While there are many reasons why they’re leaving, what could make them stay?

Recently, Ashley Lodi, Senior Executive Recruiter with MedBest, was invited to participate in an Argentum Webinar on Senior Living Workforce Development and Retention entitled, Hire and Nurture Career Minded Professionals.  Here are some suggestions mentioned plus more in order to stop the revolving door:

  • Hire the right person in the first place: Having the right person in the right position will help your senior care organization run and grow. When hiring, make sure you have an accurate job description, vet candidates thoroughly, speed up hiring process, assess if candidate fits culture and team and on-board properly.
  • Counter talent poaching: Measure your employee engagement, identify and address employee needs, conduct stay interviews, keep lines of communication open and communicate often.
  • Promote from within: Once employees have been on-boarded and become part of your organization, retaining them might be easier if you provide a clear career path and the proper training needed to get there. Show them that you promote from within and there’s a future with your organization. Some of the best senior living leaders had humble beginnings but through hard work and passion for the mission, they were able to rise through the ranks of the senior living industry.
  • Offer competitive salaries & attractive benefits package: Increase retention through unique and diverse benefits package. Consider relocation assistance, student loan or graduate program assistance, upgrade your healthcare, dental and vision insurance, etc.
  • Value employees: Your employees need to feel valued and appreciated. Show them you care through meaningful recognition programs, pay raises, bonuses, employee of the month plaques, employee anniversary parties, etc.
  • Offer a helping hand: If your workers are overworked and stressed, ask them if they need help managing their workloads in terms of amount and priority. Also, keep lines of communication open between you and your staff and to help your team achieve more with less stress.
  • Provide proper tools and resources: Having the proper tools and resources should be a standard. Supply your team with everything they need to feel empowered and be successful in their jobs including continuous training.
  • Leadership preparedness: For organizations to survive and thrive, their senior care leaders must be adept at adopting new roles, have a succession and transition plan in place, and handle crisis and significant change with confidence.  A well-planned strategy for disruption can actually become a cultural strength in your senior care organization.
  • Become employer of choice: Your organization and community will attract and retain top senior living talent if you have a scalltolar reputation, good surveys, and glowing online reviews. People want to work for an employer of choice.

In today’s hot job market, acquiring and retaining a stable, experienced, and happy senior care workforce has become a high priority within the senior living industry.


Julie Medbest

Julie Rupenski is the Founder, President & CEO of MedBest, opening the doors in 2001. Since that time, Julie has gained national recognition for providing top talent solutions exclusively for the Senior Living Industry. Her specialties include filling C-Suite, Vice President, Regional, and Property Level positions.

Julie has an in-depth knowledge of the Senior Living Industry since she previously worked in operations for both Senior Housing and Senior Living. Today, Julie makes it her personal and professional mission to place qualified people in health care positions where they have the greatest impact.

Julie earned her degree in Gerontology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida and continues to cultivate her career through senior living conferences, forums, trade shows, and expos.

Julie’s industry articles and interviews have been published in Provider Magazine, Argentum Quarterly, LeadingAge Magazine, Florida Health Care Association, Florida Assisted Living Association, Florida Senior Living Association, LeadingAge Florida, LeadingAge Indiana, Pennsylvania Health Care AssociationOregon Health Care Association, and Virginia Assisted Living Association.

Contact Julie Rupenski at / 727-526-1294.


MedBest is a national Executive Search Firm exclusive to the Senior Living Industry established in 2001.  We recruit and acquire quality executive talent for all types of Senior Living Organizations and Communities across the US including Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Independent Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing Facilities.

Contact MedBest at / 727-526-1294

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