Cut Costs, Save Time and Recruit and Retain Good Workers
The growth of the aging population is creating more demand for senior living options. But growing demand is colliding with a labor shortage, adding to the workload and strain on senior living communities.
Scalable, streamlined HR infrastructure can help. Efficient and cost-effective solutions can cut expenses and reduce the amount of executive time spent on staffing issues. Enhanced back-office systems can also help boost recruitment and retention efforts.
“Everything we do is designed and built around taking the burden off executive directors and senior living managers so they can run their businesses,” says Scott Gire, HR services area manager at Paychex, a provider of human resource, payroll and benefits outsourcing services. “We work hand-in-hand with senior living communities to tailor solutions specific to the needs of their organization.”
Gire notes that his 11-person team of HR partners is focused exclusively on the senior living industry. Paychex works with nearly 500 senior living communities of all types along the continuum, including both single- and multiple-site locations. A Paychex HR partner is assigned to each senior living provider. “My team works with the industry all the time,” says Gire. “They have the knowledge to see the business through the lens of a senior living operator.”
HR Strategies to Help Ease the Labor Crunch
It’s important to have an HR business partner that can put together a solution specific to each senior living organization, according to Gire. “No one size fits all,” he says. Gire adds that there are a variety of innovative solutions. Here are six ways that state-of-the-art HR processes can help.
- Market-specific packages can help achieve cost-effective and competitive benefits administration. Many senior living providers are active in multiple states and can benefit from the ability to offer competitive benefits packages specific to each market. Gire says that Paychex can design a customized service package to include automated enrollment and tracking, integration with payroll systems and 24/7 access to benefit information for each employee. “We have a licensed benefits specialist on staff to help providers make strategic decisions about benefits and to support employees,” says Gire.
- Integrated systems quickly scale HR solutions. Senior living is a growing business. Providers are opening new communities or changing the mix of properties in their portfolios. Senior living providers need to easily, and quickly, integrate new workers into their HR system.
For example, a growing senior living management company worked with Paychex to create systems to quickly onboard employees in multiple locations. Paychex assisted with payroll, benefits administration, risk management and other services. As a result, the senior living management company has been able to expand while saving time and money. The biggest benefit: the company can focus on serving residents instead of worrying about HR issues.
- Automated processes streamline hiring and training. “The way we hire and onboard employees has changed dramatically,” says Brittany Riese, HR business partner at Paychex. “It’s important for senior living companies to have a modern and efficient approach to the process.”
Senior living communities need an applicant tracking and electronic onboarding system that supports a positive employee hiring process. Riese explains that job boards are built into the Paychex system, which schedules interviews and handles hiring workflows to save time and produce consistent results.
Another bonus: integration. When you hire an employee, needed data automatically flows into the Paychex platform for payroll and HR activities. Riese adds that senior living communities can retain employees by promoting from within. Robust learning management systems and training webinars from Paychex help support the development of career paths.
- New engagement tools help motivate employees. Engagement is the key to motivation. Employees who want to do well are engaged with their work. Communities that may be struggling with high turnover and occupancy issues may have employee relationship hurdles to overcome. “Employees want to work for companies that have a purpose behind the bottom line that is supported by policies and processes,” says Riese. “We can provide the systems to make sure those policies and tools are in place.”
One example of a program that improves engagement is Paychex’s pay-on-demand solution. Employees can access income as it is earned rather than waiting for the next payroll cycle. Young people especially like the program, which gives the workers a sense of empowerment and financial stability, leading to higher productivity.
- A nationwide network can manage different tax filings, compliance requirements and keep senior living communities up to date on employment laws and regulations. Managing a portfolio with properties in multiple states is complex. Employment law changes rapidly and state and federal laws differ. In addition, legislation at the county and city level is on the rise, according to Paychex’s Riese. “We provide guidance on compliance,” she says. “That provides peace of mind to the operator.” For example, she says that Paychex monitors paid sick leave laws that vary from state to state.
She adds that during the pandemic Paychex was able to provide guidance on many new regulations and was also able to pull payroll information together quickly when operators applied for Small Business Administration loans and other relief.
- Advanced compensation analysis helps to attract and retain workers. How do senior living communities know if their compensation and benefits packages are competitive? Data analytics on pay and benefits, conducted market by market, can show what other senior living communities and industries are offering. “We analyze turnover too,” says Paychex manager Gire. If a community has a 50% turnover rate among employees in the first 90 days, it usually indicates an onboarding concern or a misunderstanding of the job itself,” says Gire. “We work with clients to interpret turnover.”