Skip to main content

Careers in assisted living can be rich and rewarding. But without employer support, there isn’t always a clear path to growth. When you help your employees build careers, you show interest for their dreams and goals. Everyone wants to work somewhere that values them. Read on to learn more about how to build careers in assisted living. 

Why Cultivate Careers? 

It’s important to cultivate career paths for your assisted living staff. Here are two of the most important reasons why. 

Cultivating Careers in Assisted Living Increases Retention 

Did you know that a lack of opportunity for growth is one of the top five stressors for workers? When managers work with employees to plan career paths, it can make a huge difference. 

Creating career paths lets employees know that you’re invested in them both as professionals and individuals. An analysis from Harvard Business Review found that for every ten months employees stay in the same role, their chance of turnover increases by 1%, “a statistically significant effect.” By comparison, workers who earn promotions and title changes are more likely to stick around. When employees can visualize their future in your company, you can increase retention long term. 

Cultivating Careers in Assisted Living Improves Company Culture 

When you develop careers in assisted living, you’re boosting morale, which also helps improve company culture. Employees with clear career paths can connect their work with their future plans, increasing their investment in their current positions. Career growth can also encourage interdepartmental camaraderie. When coworkers who once worked closely together grow into different roles in the same facility, their shared history can help improve work relations across their new teams. Plus, with the median length of patient residency at 22 months, and many staying for longer, having the same employees working in the community can increase continuity and familiarity for residents.  This can benefit both staff and long-term residents. 

Five Steps to Build Careers In Assisted Living

1. Recruit to Retain 

Effective recruiting and hiring is the first step to retention. Recruit competitively and make speedy offers so you can hire committed candidates whose careers you can be invested in. Ask candidates about their future career goals during the interview process. Of course, when you’re in a staffing shortage, it’s not always easy to be deliberate with your hiring decisions. Consider a service like Apploi to help you hire quickly without sacrificing the quality of your job search. 

Tip: Consider a Recruitment Audit 

Want to optimize your hiring process, but not sure where to start? Consider a recruitment audit. A thorough audit will help you best understand where you might be losing your ideal candidates (and what you’re doing well). 

2. Meet With Employees Regularly 

Career goals change. Meet with your employees regularly (quarterly is recommended) to make sure you’re all on the same page about their future growth. In a larger facility, HR might be stretched thin. If this is the case, it can still be helpful for employees to meet with their direct manager outside of their work duties. Setting aside time to discuss careers and future plans will make your employees feel listened to. 

New call-to-action

3. Encourage Mentorship 

Fostering mentor and mentee relationships can be a great way to cultivate careers in assisted living. Formal mentorship programs can be a great way to do this. Pair your entry level employees with more experienced ones, or allow employees to pair up themselves, even starting from orientation. Not everyone is comfortable in a mentorship role, so make sure you’re giving these opportunities to employees motivated to take on a mentee. Coordinate these programs through HR or facilitate them over Slack (or other community channels) to  give employees a wealth of peer information. In addition, fostering communication between management and staff can help employees feel comfortable going to management as needed. 

Sometimes mentorships also happen naturally. Employees with more experience may take on a more informal mentor role. Since these relationships can happen organically, employers may find it useful to encourage social bonds with employee events. 

4. Offer In-House Trainings 

Offering in-house training for both new candidates and current employees is a tangible way to move your employees along their preferred career paths. In-house CNA training, for example, has many benefits. For current employees, consider checking in through surveys to see what kind of training they’d be most interested in. 

Tip: Use Surveys 

Surveys can be a great tool when it comes to checking in with your staff, and assessing whether they feel like their careers are being supported. Consider sending out thorough quarterly surveys or more frequent “pulse” surveys. 

5. Offer Tuition Assistance or Reimbursement

While tuition assistance is one of the more costly ways to cultivate careers in assisted living, it has definite perks. Investing financially in your employees is a great way to show them that they are valued. In a short-staffed healthcare industry, free or discounted education can be a great way to attract candidates. Employees can learn skills that allow you to internally promote and fill open positions from within. In fact, an Accenture study found that for every $1 a company spends on an education assistance program, they save $1.29 in recruiting costs. 

Tip: Support Work-Life Balance 

Even if you offer many forms of career support, employees won’t be interested if they don’t think they can live balanced lives in those careers. A recent study has shown that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, 40% of workers see themselves prioritizing their personal life over their job. Promoting work-life balance can help you retain employees in the long run. 

Better Hiring With Apploi

With Apploi’s streamlined hiring process, you can find candidates whose careers you’re excited to help grow. Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end talent management solution.


how healthcare hires?

Get started with your free demo today.

Looking for a job? We can’t process applications through this page. Apply for a job directly through the job post.

Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.