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Happier Employees and Residents: Less Stress for You

better reviews caregiver satisfaction family caregiver flexible work gig economy great resignation resident experience senior living staffing problems staffing shortage Aug 03, 2023

As a senior living executive, it’s likely that one or more of these questions stress you out on a daily basis:

  1. Do I have enough quality staff to care for my residents?
  2. How is my occupancy?
  3. What can my team do to reduce resident and family complaints?

Senior living residents and their family’s happiness and satisfaction is strongly linked to how content and satisfied the staff who serve them feel. It’s more vital than ever that we embrace the reality of this interdependence as we deal with the continuing challenges of The Great Resignation and the aftermath of the pandemic and Covid-19 policies. As an industry we’ve been struggling with staffing challenges for decades; the stress of the last few years has simply brought the problem to the forefront.

The answer to staffing challenges historically has been improving pay, benefits and trying to make the workplace as attractive as possible. But what else can be done to differentiate your organization from the competition? Creating the opportunity for employees to control their schedules!

Senior living organizations are not just competing with other senior living organizations for talent. Clinical staff enjoy limitless career options at hospitals, medical practices, hospices, home care, and more. But other pools of talent have even more options. Candidates for clerical, human resources, transportation, dining services, housekeeping, marketing, and sales jobs can seek employment in nearly any industry. If they are unable to find the job flexibility needed in a “traditional job” in order to chaperone their child’s field trip, attend college classes, or enjoy a day at the beach without planning months ahead of time, many turn to platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Uber, Task Rabbit, and Door Dash. Others who are seeking flexible schedules may even consider starting their own consulting business to attain control over their calendars.

Nearly 38% of workers indicated that flexibility would attract them to a new job opportunity (Workable’s Great Discontent Worker Survey 2021), and gig economy participation is highest in those 18-34 years old (Zippia, 2023). How do senior living organizations implement this game-changer strategy to attract those new to the workforce?

I had the pleasure of serving as the opening speaker for Accushield’s Un-conference last month, which brought together U.S. and international senior living leaders. Some of these executives, including Justin Stein (Vice President of People, Bickford Senior Living, United States), Ed Russell (CEO, WCS, England) and Katrina Mulholland (Senior Director of People, Amica) shared their experience of offering self-scheduling, flexible work schedule options to their teams. In addition to the ability to attract more qualified candidates, the benefits they shared included less stress for managers when a team member calls out sick (hello self-scheduling on an app!), as well as happier residents and families.

Want to learn more about bringing flexible work options to your organization? Here are three things you can do:

  • Get the conversation going with your employees. Ask them their thoughts about self-scheduling and controlling their schedule. What additional benefits do they envision that would improve your service to residents and families?
  • Reach out to Accushield for a demo of Flex/Book Jane, the software that helps you make flexible work a reality on an app. Click here to book:
  • Book a complimentary consultation call to see how I can help you assess how flexible work can enhance your employee and resident engagement: Calendly - Jennifer L. FitzPatrick


Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, MSW, LCSW-C is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) and founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc. She is the author of Reimagining Customer Service in Healthcare and Cruising Through Caregiving. A former gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University’s Certificate on Aging program, she has been featured on ABC, CBS, FoxNews, SiriusXM, HLN and countless other media outlets.

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