Ideas from "Sleepless in the C-suite"

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Asif Khan
Asif Khan

McKnight's Editorial Director John O'Connor recently wrote the editorial, “Sleepless in the C-Suite.”  In it, he paints what could be a relatively dire picture of the various human resources challenges senior living employers face as they move into 2016. O'Connor posits that recruitment and retention of talent, changing workplace regulations and potential business realignments are reason enough for the entire C-Suite to lose sleep and weep.

He has a good point, these challenges are, well, they're challenging – but they're not insurmountable. As the CEO of Caremerge, a revolutionary communication and care coordination network for the senior care industry, I have four tips for overcoming challenges in the senior living industry.

First, happy employees stick around. Get employees to a happier state (and keep them there) by providing them with tools that make their jobs easier. This includes technology, streamlined processes, and updated policies reflective of the current status quo. In an MIT Sloan Management Review, 63% of employees said the pace of technological change in their workplace was too slow, this means more than half of all employees are itching to get their hands on better, faster technology. The more organized and supported employees feel, the happier they will be, resulting in a higher quality of work (and fewer Help Wanted signs).

Second, embrace technology. Technology (and the Internet) touches every aspect of our daily lives. Technology can aid in making, and keeping, employees happy by enhancing communication and collaboration, sharing workplace policy changes, and setting new policies and workflows into place. When 79% of companies believe communication is integral to success but spend, on average, 17 hours per week clarifying information – it's time to consider what technology can do.  As policies change and affect process, companies can reflect said changes accordingly using software and technology. This way, when employees log in, they'll see the necessary prompts that will help them move through the changes quickly and easily. 

Third, set the rules of the game. Once you've embraced technology, it's important to create rules and establish boundaries. Employees will happily promote your community online, making recruitment easier all around, and a clear-cut social media policy will ensure no lines are crossed. Establish a Bring Your Own Device policy in the workplace to reflect the fact that employees already use their technology onsite (you may as well make it more secure). Finally, consider remote work opportunities where applicable. These simple changes make employees will feel empowered and entrusted, they'll feel happy and happy employees perform good work and don't leave.

Fourth, be one step ahead. Succession strategies are paramount as baby boomers in every field retire. As more care providers retire, it's important to set a succession planning strategy in place alongside skill development programs so recruitment and retainment will be successful. Again, technology is an important part to this, as the incoming class of workers expects technology to be central to their work – and more than half of all job hunts are now done via mobile phone.

Change is inevitable. Change is constant. Senior living shouldn't be wary of upcoming industry changes – instead, they should embrace and celebrate them as the keys to long-term success. Technology is a tool, or, a series of tools that can be used to positively promote change by providing employees with keys to their own success as their workplace shifts around them. Change doesn't always equal sleepless nights, it can also herald positive beginnings – this is one such opportunity.

Asif Khan is the CEO of Caremerge.

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