It’s not getting any easier

I recently gave a lecture about my book at an alma mater of mine. Fun times and always wistful to be back on campus (still can’t believe I was on stage instead of falling asleep in the audience, even if it’s been almost 20 years since I left).

I spoke about the writing process of my book (check it out: as well as its content. Surprisingly, and very sweetly, it was well received by those in attendance and I managed to stay within the time limit proposed. Also satisfying is a notable uptick in the traffic metrics/search data on both my book’s website and that for my real estate business as well. 

Q & A

Of particular interest was the question-and-answer period at the end of my talk. As one can imagine, much commentary and varying opinions were shared as part of the larger discussion that ensued. Perhaps unsurprisingly, much debate focused on staffing levels and what it takes to attract – and retain – ‘good’ employees.

Many facets of what it takes to create a magnet organization were put forward, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Availability for full time work (vs. being hired on in Part Time and/or Casual roles);
  • Perceived fairness in assigned work loads (i.e., on one unit vs. another; during one shift vs. another);
  • Availability of proper equipment;
  • Pleasantness of the physical building/environment itself (i.e., adequate lighting, space, cleanliness, eating facilities, etc.);
  • Employee morale;
  • Approach, support & tone of management, and;
  • Pay

Mind the gap.

So, unsurprisingly, pay made the list. As so many workers in LTC are not full time, they have to cobble full time hours between multiple jobs (because who can afford to live on only a part time job?!). In times where the cost of living is up at least 10% year-over-year, it’s especially stressy not knowing what your paycheque is going to be in a couple weeks’ time.

This means that when they are asked to come in by multiple employers for the same shift, they will tend to select the shift available at the organization who pays the most. That’s just human nature. Economics 101.

Well, as local hospitals are now paying double-time for overtime (due to their own staffing issues), LTC is being left behind once more as it’s still paying 1.5x rate for overtime. Before you think this is about greed, consider that it isn’t unusual to ask frontline staff to come in early or to stay late – 12 or even 16 hours a day. Not to mention, last minute requests to postpone stat or vacation days. Moreover, a high proportion of particularly dedicated staff regularly work 1, 2 or even multiple OT shifts per pay out of a sense of dedication to ‘their’ residents and colleagues who be left short otherwise (i.e., 80-90+ hours per 2-week pay cycle). 


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