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“2023 Top Trends in Aging Services.”
Julia Eiland, VP of Consulting, People and Culture at Health Dimensions Group, is no stranger to leading initiatives in areas of cultural transformation, organizational change, talent management, and leadership development. Julia has demonstrated a 20-year track record of implementing innovative programs that increase employee satisfaction and retention, streamline operations, increase productivity and accelerate growth. After serving in leadership positions at several senior living providers, Julia joined the HDG team in 2022. She has had significant success helping care communities improve their financial performance and staff recruitment and retention.
Julia assists senior living and care organizations facing staffing challenges through our Workforce Solutions services, including:
In this senior living leader spotlight series interview, Julia gives insight into the biggest challenges facing the senior living and care industry, strategies for overcoming them, and her passion for helping others.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge senior living leaders will face in the next year?
A: Staffing will continue to be the biggest challenge in 2023— it has been stated that staffing levels, especially for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2026.
Q: What advice would you give to providers struggling with staffing challenges?
A: All providers, regardless of if they are struggling with staffing or not, will need to ensure they have a labor-management plan in place to ensure labor costs are being monitored on a proactive basis and looking for opportunities to reduce costs. While monitoring labor costs, providers will need to ensure that their recruiting and onboarding processes are efficient and effective. The ability to attract, hire, and get employees started quickly is key in the senior living environment. Lastly, and in my opinion, the most important, providers will need to revisit and perhaps improve upon how they engage employees. Employees in our environment have numerous options regarding choices for employment. Providers who create meaningful work and a sense of belonging for employees, have strong organizational cultures centered around core values that are lived by all, allow for flexibility and work-life balance, and have leaders that are skilled in influencing, developing, and showing empathy towards their employees will build an employer brand that will not only attract employees but will keep them. Keeping employees is how providers will prevail over the current staffing challenges.
Q: Where can you be found on your days off?
A: On my days off you can find me relaxing with my hubby, family, and friends. We are social people so either we are dining out, attending events, or hosting small gatherings in our home.
Q: If you could change one thing about the senior living and care industry, what would it be and why?
A: If I could change one thing about our industry it would be how we are reimbursed. Senior living providers, especially SNFs, have lost over 230K employees throughout the pandemic, and most have left the health care industry altogether. If there were higher reimbursements, providers would be in a better position to offer wages that would allow us to compete with other industries for workers and start rebuilding the workforce.
Q: Dogs or cats?
A: I am absolutely a dog lover and have two fur babies. Axle is my six-year-old Boston Terrier, and Ava Macey is my two-year-old English Bulldog. They are both spoiled rotten, which drives my hubby insane.
Q: What advice would you give someone interested in a career in senior living?
A: First off, I think it is important for those that desire a career in senior living to understand that our aim is to improve the lives of seniors. It is everyone’s job to ensure that our seniors are properly cared for and that their family members have peace of mind that we are doing so. If an individual is considering a career in this industry, they have to ask themselves if they have compassion, empathy, and a desire to help seniors. Are they willing to do hard and demanding work? If so, they will have a rewarding career knowing that they are improving the lives of others.
Q: When did you know you wanted to work with seniors?
A: Honestly, I didn’t set out to specifically work with seniors. As I was working on my master’s, an opportunity fell in my lap to work in a post-acute facility. Post-acute, specifically senior living, is an industry that has its ebbs and flows as it relates to the workforce. Being in the people culture business by helping organizations improve upon organization culture, employee engagement/retention, and building leaders’ capabilities, with the goal of improving the lives of employees that correlates to improving the lives of seniors, is a challenging, but rewarding career.
Q: Where is your “happy place”?
A: I really care about the well-being of others and those around me; therefore, my “happy place” is when I am presented with opportunities to help others no matter how big or small. Life can be challenging whether professionally or personally, and if I can help make someone’s life better, ease their load, or brighten their day, it makes me “happy.” My mom says I am “always helping someone,” and she is right. This is what brings me joy.
Q: What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?
A: My greatest accomplishment isn’t necessarily a tangible accomplishment, but my ability to build relationships. Yes, I have developed and implemented successful programs and improved efficiencies throughout my career, but these could not have been accomplished without fostering positive relationships with all stakeholders. The ability to build trust, communicate effectively, be authentic, take ownership and treat everyone with respect is the ROR (Return of Relationships) that has allowed me to be successful in my career.
Q: What is your favorite of HDG’s values and why?
A: I love all of HDG’s values, so it is really hard to pick just one, but my favorite is “respect.” Respecting others by recognizing that everyone has feelings, has different talents, and brings different experiences to the table fosters a positive workplace culture that can contribute to higher employee engagement. A respectful workplace can motivate individuals to put their best foot forward, be more committed, and allows everyone to feel good about themselves, others, and the company they work for.
Aging service employees’ views of their jobs and employers have changed in recent years. Julia and Health Dimensions Group can help organizations emerge stronger than ever through a variety of Workforce Solutions strategies and tactics. With decades of experience as senior living and care community owners, operators, and consultants, our team implements proven people and culture processes that help optimize your workforce and drive operational success. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 763.537.5700 to learn how our team of human resources experts can improve your community’s workforce issues today.