What is Encore Doing to Stay in the Game?
Scroll through any long-term care news platform and it won’t take long to find an article on the staffing crisis among nursing staff … a situation that’s being called “a crisis on top of a crisis.” The therapy world is no different – we are experiencing the same challenges, with staff leaving the industry, higher demand than supply, and staff feeling exhausted from the demands the pandemic has put on the industry as a whole. Couple that with the recent 15% reduction to physical and occupational therapy services rendered by assistants, and we face challenges trying to compete with the high wage demands. Limited supply and increased demand for clinicians is also a factor in the current staffing crisis.
Kathleen Simenton, Encore’s Director of Talent, Curation and Design was recently tasked with evaluating the current recruiting and onboarding process to identify how to keep up with the changing landscape. Kathleen noted that we have seen a shift to more professionals entering the field with an entry-level doctorate. This drives up the demand for wages, while widening the gap for how long it’s taking to introduce new clinicians to the field.
Despite the competitive wage market, money isn’t all the incoming workforce is looking for. Personal meaning, flexibility, and involvement are all meaningful factors as employees consider leaving employers for other opportunities that most closely align with their needs. As a company, we are trying to address all of these factors. Kathleen described the things we are doing as a company to stay relevant in today’s staffing market.
“We are listening to the field and making changes. Money is not the #1 driving force in today’s work culture; stability and growth supersede both of them and that is our focus. Our goal is to know all of our staff and know what their goals are and what drives them. We take a 360 approach to staff retention.”
While the demands in the setting have increased throughout the pandemic and caused many to leave the industry, new graduates still have a desire to make a difference in this setting and are attracted to positions in long-term care. Our job is to make sure we capitalize on their interest and ensure the right tools are in place to attract and retain candidates.
Between attracting new candidates to open positions and retaining existing employees by focusing on company culture and involvement, employers in this changing space have a large task ahead as we continue to navigate the changing staffing climate. Quality candidates to treat our residents is the ultimate priority – and we are making every effort to ensure that continues to happen.
About the author:
Valerie Waugh, OTD, OTRL, RAC-CT
Regional Vice President
Valerie started with Encore in 2013 as a new graduate and now currently is a Regional Vice President in Michigan. Passion for the geriatric population, interest in overall leadership development of the field, and interest in writing as part of her educational pursuits led her to want to bring attention to important topics affecting the industry and highlight what we can do to continually be part of the changing landscape of healthcare.