11.10.2022

Filling the gap in a tight labor market

New solution emerging for leader shortage in home-based care

Some economic indicators are cautiously pointing to an abatement of The Great Resignation, the nation’s mass employment exodus that has reshuffled the labor pool and left employers scrambling to find leaders with the right skills.

But the labor market remains tight for home health and hospice, a healthcare niche particularly impacted by labor scarcity and the rising wage index.

Home-based care providers continue to struggle to fill leadership positions, paying more to find and keep leaders with specialized home health and hospice knowledge and a grasp of unique market dynamics.

“Our industry is still seeing higher wage hikes than the country at large, with double-digit wage growth over the past year and a half,” said SimiTree Managing Principal Eric Scharber, who heads Talent Solutions.

“That’s unprecedented wage growth for home health and hospice, significantly outpacing what is happening in industries overall,” he said.

Urgent demand, rising costs

Nationwide, the Employment Cost Index released quarterly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows annual wage growth hovering at or just over 5 percent each month, but Scharber said home health and hospice has experienced a much higher 12 to 14 percent increase.

Scharber’s team works with post-acute care providers to find qualified leaders and develop competitive compensation plans that add value to the organization. With a placement rate that is 20 percent faster than other firms, SimiTree leads the nation in home health and hospice placements.

Even so, SimiTree talent experts say companies can scarcely develop compensation plans and recruit new executives quickly enough to meet operational demands in such a highly specialized, heavily regulated, and quickly changing environment.

Urgent demand for qualified leaders is giving rise to a new dynamic in home-based leadership, they say, ushering in a strategic shift in thinking about how leadership roles are filled.

Leadership on-demand

Instead of continuing to try to outbid each other with better benefits, higher wages, and more employee flex time, many home health and hospice employers are turning to interim management, long recognized as an effective means of bridging management gaps in the wake of mergers or acquisitions.

Think of it as leadership on-demand, tailored to the unique needs of the home health or hospice company.

SimiTree’s experienced interim managers with specialized knowledge step immediately into open leadership roles, running operations for weeks, months, or in limited cases, even years until the position is permanently filled. Interim managers are experts in the field who comprehend the complexities of the market, have the insight to achieve strategic objectives and know how to drive key performance areas for operational efficiency, reduced risk, and maximum reimbursement.

Flexibility is a hallmark of interim management. Experts may work onsite, remotely, or in a role that is a mixture of both remote and onsite work. They work full time or step into decision-making, managerial and leadership roles only as needed by the client, whether that is one day each week, a set number of hours per month or exclusively, all month.

Each interim management engagement is different, tailored to the unique needs, budget and wishes of the client, and prioritized to address the client’s specific goals, according to Wayne Regan, Director of Interim Management for SimiTree.

“Our interim managers are experienced leaders in the industry. They provide impactful change to make a real difference, and they step in to tackle the toughest challenges,” Regan said.

Speed is the interim advantage

Speed is one of the primary advantages in making use of interim talent, Regan said. Interim managers can be placed quickly, and since they come already equipped with industry-specific knowledge, they can begin making a difference to companies almost immediately.

“In fields such as home health or hospice, where regulatory knowledge is an integral part of doing business, having management in place with an appreciation for the role of compliance is vital,” Regan said.

Savvy and experienced interim managers can set in place processes and procedures to reduce audit risk, insulate the company against punitive payment adjustments caused by failure to meet quality reporting requirements, or expedite claims processing to improve cash flow with immediate attention to common revenue cycle obstacles.

“We support each and every SimiTree interim leader with the full resources of SimiTree,” Regan said. “If they need a training tool, job description, regulatory or compliance support, or a budget tool, we support our interim team. ”

Relying on interim talent also enables companies to quickly scale operations up or down, as needed, Regan said.

SimiTree can help

As the nation’s top recruiting and executive placement entity focusing exclusively on the home-based care, hospice, and behavioral health care markets, SimiTree has filled more than 3,500 positions to date.

Deep understanding about the markets and the needs of clients means SimiTree delivers the right candidates for effective leadership, and we can help your organization, too. Use the form below to reach out to us today to tell us your needs.

Download key retention strategies

Economists and labor analysts predict labor scarcity and a rising wage index will continue to be problematic for employers well into 2023, making it crucial for employers to look beyond payroll for other ways to attract and hold onto workers.

The talent experts at SimiTree experts have compiled 4 key retention strategies in a white paper titled, A Great Place to Work. It’s available as a free white paper for post-acute leaders looking beyond salaries and benefits for sound strategies to hold onto employees in a tough labor market.

Download your free copy here

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