Mood of the Market

Nearly one-third of directors of nursing and almost one-fourth of administrators say they feel “ahead of the curve” when it comes to their ability to keep up with technology and innovation at work.

Just about the same percentages said they don’t trust their supervisors to get them ready for nursing homes’ future tech challenges.

Findings come courtesy of the 2019 McKnight’s Mood of the Market Survey, which gathered digital responses from more than 250 randomly selected nursing home administrators and nurse managers in April.

Overall, more than 92% of respondents said they were personally either “ahead of the curve (28%) or “average” (64.4%) when it comes to tech prowess at work.

Nearly one-third (31%), however, said they had “just a little” (14%) or no confidence at all (16%) in their supervisor’s ability to prepare them for tech changes.

Nurse leaders were 7 percentage points ahead of administrators in personal tech confidence and about 3 percentage points more confident about their supervisors’ tech prep abilities.

“I’m surprised that the numbers are what they are,” said Anthony Perry, the president of Executive Search Solutions. He expressed admiration for the relatively high confidence levels, particularly about respondents’ supervisors.

“I would have expected that a greater deal would be closer to ‘just a little’ [confidence]’,” he said.

Matt Leach, senior consultant with Total Compensation Services, said he also was pleasantly surprised by the confidence shown.

“I would have expected a higher ‘falling behind’ or ‘below average’ percentage,” Leach said. “Then again, the people who say ‘falling behind’ might know the most — they know the train is leaving the station without them. That can be an interesting curve, in that the people who know nothing about a subject believe they’re experts and then the more you know, the less you rate your knowledge.”

Still, Leach reasoned that technology is an area where lower level employees might systematically know more than their boss, especially if a supervisor is of an older generation.

“It might be more of a millennial attitude that they know more about tech than their boss, who could be a baby boomer, or whatever,” explained Total Compensation Services Managing Director Paul Gavejian.

The confidence levels might indicate that long-term care operators should be more ambitious about technological advancement than generally thought. Or it could just be that respondents, who were surveyed randomly from McKnight’s subscriber lists, were more confident about technology than non-responding peers.

“I was a little bit surprised. In general, long-term care and senior living is really behind the times in technology,” said Mark Heston of Heston & Associates. A former human resources director for skilled nursing chain LCS, he currently consults across a wide array of industries on leadership and human resources management.

“You see this and might say maybe it’s not necessarily that. Then, maybe it’s that these people responding have better technology and because of that, they’re on the cutting edge and more proactive,” he speculated. “But then again, if only 8% are saying they don’t think they’re behind, they’re probably not terribly dissatisfied at work.”

This is the last in a series of five stories on the 2019 McKnight’s Mood of the Market Survey.