Pandemic Challenges: Recruitment and Retention

By: Matt McAlpin

During the pandemic, staffing challenges arose due to changes in restrictions and protocols the government set in place.

The unstoppable change in our world is undeniable, but this was different. The pandemic rapidly affected processes and human involvement with traditional systems. Skilled Nursing Facilities are centered on hands-on care, and the pandemic changed this. More attention to the new way of life strained the current processes that still needed the same attention.

Hiring staff is not the only problem these days. Once the employee is hired, retention becomes a big concern for the administrator and administration team. It is expensive to hire a new employee and even more costly to keep them happy. Additionally, the administrator became the leading role of the facilities’ systems and often picked up the slack for any position that isn’t filled. A lot of manual tasks must be done in addition to the new functions created due to the pandemic. This takes the administrators away from their core competency, which is to care for the residents in their facility.

Solutions have to emerge because there doesn’t seem to be a path to accomplish everything in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).

Attracting the Administrators

Hiring operators are continually looking and finding new and creative ways to keep administrators engaged in their roles. Whether it is to facilitate work-life balance benefits, funded housing, increased wages, implementing new technologies like automated workflows to alleviate time consuming tasks, or desirable benefits provided by other industry competition, accommodations have to be made to get these needed positions filled.

A recent Pulse Survey by Skilled Nursing News gave some critical insight into the hiring and retention landscape issues with this survey.


According to this survey, bringing on and keeping administrators in the foreseeable future will not be easy. The two main issues and combined totaling 57% of the entire survey is competition for workers from other health care providers and not enough qualified applicants.

However, These problems mentioned above are not new and cyclical. I grew up in the Skilled Nursing Industry. My Grandfather worked in the industry. My Father owned and operated multiple facilities, and I have a couple of brothers-in-law who are currently Administrators of Facilities. As a young child, I remember my father working with other countries and flying to meet with their governments to set up schools because of the staffing issues he had back in the 1980s. There have always been many problems with retaining staff, and the solutions tend to be similar.

Potential Solutions to Staffing

It is not universal but there is a statistical significance to the similar problems across all industries. The first solution is to outsource key jobs to oversees as attempted by my Father and others in the 1980s. Many other industries like Tech and Customer Service are all looking at ways to fill empty positions that can’t be staffed. This is the American dream to give opportunity to people who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity. Some qualification could be made to appeal to all sides but it would be a good way to give very intelligent people an opportunity to fill positions that don’t have anyone to fill them.

The second way to attract and fill staffing positions is to become more competitive with other similar industry technologies. In other health care industry markets like Hospitals, a significant investment is going into Technology to make processes easier and eliminate redundant challenges. In the SNF, there is a stigma that the industry is twenty years behind and late to adopt core process automation and task flow management like Flowtrics that would make their lives easier and compete with larger institutions that already currently automated everything down to their forms and contracts. Offering current state-of-the-art technology like Flowtrics would appeal to the younger generations looking into moving into this field of work.

Transitioning Admins to this pandemic respond positively.

Depending on the changes that we have, administrators should be vigorously involved in managing labor, developing wage scales, researching new technology that can propel them and feel confident in what steps they should carry to take the facility up to the next level.

Transition makes it hard for the changes, but aren’t those modifications that push facilities to upgrade systems, technologies, methodologies, and processes? Administrators that are flexible to changes take up more considerable benefits and have a bigger view of the scale to be done and what to improve. Most administrators have reported that many evaluate their system processes to be better in software as part of their process, and some were transitioning from a traditional way of documentation to digitizing. As Winston Churchill said “To improve is to Change; to be perfect is to change oftern.

With the system processes, it became one of the critical points that affect the weight of the job.

The path to retaining an Admin staff

There are different ways that we can do to help staff remain in their position despite the circumstances and profound changes. There are two different types we can focus on—one for the operator and the other for being a good administrator.

Operators can help admin staff find new ways to help them cut back on redundant tasks like keeping and storing files and documentation and automating the organization’s flow to be more accessible and well-managed. Some companies make tremendous efforts in building up admin systems for future processes with intelligence and are much more convenient to manage. It can help them achieve work-life balance and improve time with minimal effort on those processes. And by exerting measures on elevating the strategy more efficiently, thus, it also helps the overall customer experience more focused as an individual.

Conversely, Admins have a more significant role in staying and enjoying their current job. One of the things they can do is focus on the benefits and relationships shown in the workplace. If they can automate tasks through technology, they can shift time to strive to focus on individual needs and give a more personal touch to their position.

Second, understanding the regulatory process helps them have outstanding leadership, develop communication skills, and have long-lasting patience with other staff.

The third thing is, ‘whatever important thing it is, what matters most is that they are still individuals and occasionally know how to take a break.’ Learning to take a break will neutralize one person’s emotional and physical health. It also helps alleviate mood and stress levels.

Fourth is Delegation. Great leaders of all time know how to make a move with their resources. It means that knowing people who will be good at their jobs and the help and support available will help them flourish and succeed with the team.

In conclusion, staff retention is essential in every group, and making leaders of the company’s future is integral to growth. And growing with changes is learning, adopting, adapting and improving. This will help add the impact of their efforts on how they will make changes collectively by focusing individually on self growth which will in turn allow them to grow and enjoy their current position.