The senior living industry is comprised of a high number of entry-level workers, from caregivers to maintenance workers to housekeepers. However, compared to other industries that rely on staff with the same skillsets, senior living tends to see a higher rate of turnover. This may be a little surprising considering that studies have found that positions in aging services often have a greater number of applicants than industries hiring for similar opportunities. 

So, what is driving the high turnover rates and what can recruiters and companies looking to hire do about it? 

Like most issues, there is no silver bullet. This is a complex, multifaceted issue, which will only be solved when it is addressed from multiple fronts. In this article, we will take a look at some of the top contributors to turnover and steps that employers can take moving forward. 

Expectations are not always well communicated 

Young, entry-level workers have a better idea of what it would be like to work in an industry that they are personally familiar with – like a restaurant or hotel, for example. Taking a job in the senior care industry is a shock to many who may not have a full understanding of what the job entails. You can help to curb this issue by focusing on what someone’s day to day job will entail in the interview – from the unique standpoint of working with seniors. It may also be beneficial to do a trial run so new employees can get a feel of things before making a long-term commitment. This will save all parties time and heartache if it is not a good fit. 

There is often no clear path for advancement 

Remember that recruitment is only half of the challenge. Once someone has accepted the job, they need to see continued opportunities for their professional advancement. From an employer standpoint, this means that you should be making a committed effort to promoting from within and offering your employees things like educational opportunities so that they can continue to grow as a part of your organization. 

Many employees experience a high level of burnout 

Working as a senior caregiver can be extremely emotionally taxing – far more so than other industries. Many employees report being overworked or of not having effective outlets to deal with the stress that they may feel on the job. To decrease turnover rates, companies should invest in the personal wellbeing of their employees. Do what you can to improve their work-life balance, and talk to your employees about finding positive outlets that allow them to decompress after – or during – the workday.  

A Step Every Employer Should Take 

Beyond the suggestions listed above, every company needs to be doing exit interviews. If you are not currently conducting these sessions as part of your standard HR process, start implementing them immediately. Exit interviews can help you understand where the issue begins that ultimately leads to yet another open position. Look for patterns and trends and then find real solutions to address the problem. By doing so, you can greatly cut down on your turnover, and improve the job experience for future employees.


Photo by Nagesh Badu on Unsplash