Employers Need to Rethink Benefits, Recruiting Amid Workforce Challenges, Webinar Panel Concludes

by Jeff Shaw

As seniors housing operators struggle with recruiting and retaining quality employees amid a nationwide labor shortage, the time has come to take a long, hard look at benefits, employee well-being and company culture.

“The year ahead is likely to be one of re-establishing goals and work norms and business models and reinvigorating the workforce,” said Donna Meek, director at Paychex, a Rochester, New York-based provider of payroll, benefits, human resources and insurance services. “Businesses must master new obstacles, such as having a distinct, compelling employer brand and changing their employee experience to help in the search for talent. Robust benefits and rewards will be critical to employee retention.”

Meek’s comments came during a webinar titled “What’s Ahead For Seniors Housing Staff, Leaders and HR: A Study on 2022 Business Priorities,” hosted by Seniors Housing Business and sponsored by Paychex. Stu Richards, CEO of Bredin, a Boston-based business-to-business market research company, joined Meek on the discussion.

The webinar focused on the fourth-annual Paychex survey on labor and workforce challenges, conducted in October and November of last year across a wide range of industries. Respondents included 450 human resources professionals nationwide. The companies represented were small- to medium-size, with between five and 500 employees each.

Donna Meek, Paychex

“For the fourth year in a row, respondents’ top challenge was that employees have personal issues that sometimes conflict with work,” said Richards.

“COVID-19 brought its own unique set of challenges,” he added, noting the respondents cited struggles such as assessing employee morale and well-being, keeping the team motivated, monitoring productivity of those working at home and providing technology to keep employees productive.

Meek said that the Great Resignation, the recent economic trend of employees quitting en masse and re-evaluating their work life, is especially impactful on seniors housing, where many employees were burnt out by the effects of the pandemic.

“Many employees are re-evaluating their values, considering how employers treated them during the pandemic and the vulnerability of the industry they worked in,” said Meek. “Employers need to have a renewed focus on employee well-being, engagement and job satisfaction in this highly competitive job market.”

Stu Richards, Bredin

Richards said a robust benefits package is quickly becoming a must-have for all employers. This includes health, dental, vision and life insurance; retirement plans; and flexible scheduling.

“One of the key takeaways [from the survey] is that employers focused on a broad array of benefits,” said Richards. “Just over half of respondents said that health insurance is the benefit that works best for recruiting and retaining talent. Interestingly, only 6 percent of respondents said maternity/paternity leave was important, even though one in four companies offer that as a benefit.”

To watch the full webinar, click here.

— Jeff Shaw

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