LeadingAge Magazine · November-December 2018 • Volume 08 • Number 06

From the Editor: A Skilled and Committed Workforce

November 18, 2018 | by Gene Mitchell

A preview of this issue of LeadingAge magazine.

Workforce issues have always been central to the worries of LeadingAge members, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the current level of member concern around recruiting, training and retaining staff. A population growing older, a future with more demand for services, a shortage of trained workers and—at the moment—a growing economy offering more competition in entry-level job opportunities is creating a perfect storm of headaches for our members.

As LeadingAge president and CEO Katie Smith Sloan has said, workforce “must be our rallying cry. This is not just a national crisis, it’s a global one. For LeadingAge members, it’s a Monday to Sunday crisis. 24/7.”

Gene Mitchell photo
Gene Mitchell

The LeadingAge Center for Workforce Solutions was created in response to those requests, designed to be a one-stop shop for information, best practices, and an incubator for new ideas. In this issue, we include articles on culture, recruitment, management and more, but it won’t stop there. Stay tuned for continuous coverage of more workforce news in future issues.

“The customer experience is only as good as the least-engaged employee. The employee or associate experience comes first.” Those are the words of Donna Cutting, a customer experience expert who is quoted in our first feature, “A Happy Culture Starts With Happy Staff.” Read about some LeadingAge members who relentlessly work to create a positive work culture and earn its benefits: staff loyalty and consistent quality of service to residents.

In “Recruiting Foreign Nurses to Remedy Chronic Shortages,” you’ll read about a provider that has developed expertise in bringing well-trained nurses from the Philippines to the U.S. Included is a podcast recorded with the member earlier this year.

Noting that “not all retention is good retention,” the author of “Building a Collaborative Performance Management System” argues that such a system, if aligned with the organization’s mission, values and strategy, creates a healthy environment for staff at all levels.

In “An Employee Pipeline That Starts With Schooling,” you’ll read about one member that, with help from a foundation grant, is creating a program that exposes young people to career opportunities in aging services. It comes complete with in-school curriculum development for high schoolers, volunteer opportunities for middle schoolers, paid work components and career ladder opportunities for high school graduates.

Is the use of “big data” and artificial intelligence to manage staff recruitment and hiring just around the corner for our field? Read “People Analytics is on the Way to Aging Services” to learn more about what some of the world’s largest employers are already doing to bring analytics to human resources.

The LeadingAge Center for Workforce Solutions was created in response to members’ daunting challenges in finding and keeping quality staff. In “Mapping a Multifaceted Approach to Workforce Challenges,” learn what the Center has accomplished in its first year, the resources now available, and what is next.

Many retirement communities have a long tradition of residents helping staff, especially by creating scholarship funds to help employees gain career-advancing education. See “Residents Boost Career Prospects for Employees” to learn more.

Quality improvement, important as it is, doesn’t necessarily inspire excitement … but what if it could? “Your Employees Can Be QAPI Champions” is an entertaining article by a LeadingAge member who has helped her staff embrace the fun in QAPI.

As always, the members of LeadingAge come through in our final article, “Appreciating the People We Serve.” Keep those stories of remarkable residents, clients, staff and volunteers coming!

Gene Mitchell is editor of LeadingAge magazine.