There’s no doubting that finding and keeping senior living employees is quite a challenge these days.

Why is that?

Let’s start with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate in half a century. Then sprinkle in the fact that many cities are pushing to enact $15 an hour minimum wages. Then there’s newfound competition from the Amazons of the world.

Yes, these developments and more are great for workers. But they are not so great for operators trying to fill shifts.

So here’s a perk you might want to consider: Offering same-day or next-day paychecks.

Before you conclude that such a benefit would be impossible to execute, please know this: That’s exactly what some of the competition is about to start doing.

Beginning in June, eight Church’s Chicken restaurants will begin offering employees half of their earned pay the day after their shift.

In a recent interview, CEO Joe Christina noted that some of his workers simply can’t wait two weeks to get paid. Should the move prove popular, he’s ready to expand the option to additional locations.

Those who take advantage of this option will not be required to pay any additional fees. Church’s hired Instant Financial to basically execute the program. Instant Financial also works with casual-dining operator Bloomin’ Brands, as well as Checkers & Rally’s.

Although no senior living operators (to my knowledge) directly offer something similar, some contract with industry vendors to offer such a benefit. OnShift, for example, unveiled a program that lets customers’ employees tap into earned but unpaid wages, as well as a direct deposit option for workers without bank accounts.

“The only way for providers to win the competition for talent is by offering modern, employee-centric services that accommodate the needs of today’s worker,” said Mark Woodka, CEO of OnShift.

OnShift’s offering is through a partnership with employee financial wellness software company PayActiv, which some operators work with directly.

Another firm, DailyPay, gives workers instant access to earned wages at any time. The company works with several senior living operators, including Communicare and Chiristian Horizons.

A recent University of Chicago-backed survey found that more than half of all working adults are living paycheck to paycheck. In fact, 51% of the participants indicated they wouldn’t be able to pay for necessities without dipping into savings if they missed more than one pay day. Those are the realities that many of your frontline employees — and additional employees not on the frontline — now face.

To be sure, early pay is not going to eliminate the financial problems many workers face. But it may make those problems a bit more manageable. Early access might mean that a broken car gets repaired faster, or a babysitter can be hired during an emergency.

It might also be the kind of benefit that makes a difference when career moves are being contemplated. Put another way, this benefit can only help.

And let’s face it, this sector needs all of that it can find.

Updated May 31, 2019.

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