Dwyer Workforce Development


The Future of Long-Term Care Recruitment and Retention: How Experts Can Better Attract and Retain Quality Senior Care and Living Employees

Even though wages and benefits have increased for the long-term care workforce, the sector still suffers from an ongoing shortage of skilled caregivers. Innovative solutions, however, have shown the potential to play a major role in alleviating some of the pain points.

That is reason for hope for all long-term care stakeholders, experts emphasized at a recent McKnight’s roundtable discussion.

Leading innovators in senior care and housing today uncovered the opportunities and challenges in sourcing, enticing and keeping employees at the event, which was moderated by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Executive Editor James M. Berklan and sponsored by Hireology. 

A ripe state of the market

Long-term care providers have to best strategize how to attract talent best suited for caregiving, emphasized Owen Hammond, CEO of Cascadia Healthcare. 

“It’s finding the right talent in a field where you’re taking orders,” he explained. “We expect them to collaborate, discuss with a partner and figure out the best solution.”

Finding people who are passionate about working in the sector is essential. 

“We’re focusing a lot of our attention to try and build that joy and love for what they do back up,” noted Pilar Carvajal, CEO of Innovation Senior Living.

Negative connotations of senior care and skilled nursing outcomes can weigh heavily on recruitment efforts, participants agreed.

“Skilled nursing is a place where the imagery is where all people go to die,” observed Steve LaForte, chief legal officer and executive vp of corporate affairs at Cascadia Healthcare. “Overcoming that challenge and creating opportunity in employees’ eyes that they’re serving an amazing purpose in taking care of our grandparents, parents and communities is a huge challenge.”

Employee turnover remains a persistent problem, but there is an unwritten threshold, after which the pressure to retain seems to ease for many employees, some experts feel..

“If we get to two-and-a-half years, they tend to stay with us for a longer period of time,” Michael Karicher, chief people officer at Sonida Senior Living, said. “We’re trying to improve that employee experience and onboarding.”

One of the most amazing retention accomplishments has been achieved by the Jack and Nancy Dwyer Workforce Development Center. The center far surpasses the national average with an 84% retention rate, said CEO Barb Clapp.

“[P]erson-centered case management and comprehensive wraparound services” are the keys, she said. “We ask questions like what are your barriers to success, do you have childcare or transportation issues, are your wages garnished, and address them up front.”

Read the full article from McKnights.

Roundtable participants:

  • Sherri Berghoff, CEO, OPS Living
  • Pilar Carvajal, CEO, Innovation Senior Living
  • Barb Clapp, CEO, Dwyer Workforce Development
  • Owen Hammond, CEO, Cascadia Healthcare
  • Loe Hornbuckle, CEO, Sage Oak Assisted Living
  • Michael Karicher, chief people officer, Sonida Senior Living
  • Steve LaForte, chief legal officer and executive vp of corporate affairs, Cascadia Healthcare
  • Alex Nault, director, healthcare business development, Hierology
  • Jake Pleban, major account director, Hireology
  • Joe Pohlen, founder and partner, Cardinal Senior Living
  • Kristin Tschantz, VP of growth marketing, Hireology