In many ways, the pandemic only accelerated issues that already were emerging in senior living. Between historically low occupancy rates, staggering employee turnover and the constant search for talented, motivated people, the coronavirus has forced communities to confront these problems head on with heightened focus.

Now that communities are focusing on what we hope is a far clearer path ahead, it’s time to start implementing solutions that, once and for all, can address the different issues holding back net operating income, or NOI.

Although I’m hesitant to label video storytelling as a miracle cure to all of senior living’s woes, it has proven to be an extremely powerful tool in the constant battle for improved NOI in senior living.

Address low occupancy from both sides

With senior living industries facing low occupancy, turnover, staffing challenges and labor shortages – many communities need to find out-of-the-box solutions beyond the tried-and-true.

Video addresses both sides of the occupancy rate spectrum — move-in and resident turnover rates — through its positive effect on prospects and residents. In fact, according to research from Enquire, video can boost move-in conversion rates to 13%, almost double the success rate without video.

First, video storytelling can address low occupancy in a new and unique way and drive move-ins. For example, video content lets communities personalize their messaging across the entire buyer journey. Video is a powerful medium that allows senior living staff members to contact a prospect and his or her loved ones, address the individual by name, and answer his or her specific questions and concerns. Needless to say, such personalization can be a potent NOI driver and differentiate your community from others.

Second, the other benefit of video storytelling is keeping current residents and families satisfied with a community, which in turn reduces turnover rates. A video sharing a resident’s story shines a bright light on the resident’s quality of life while also keeping families connected through shared remembrances, something that’s especially important when in-person visits still are challenging.

Video drives employee engagement

Even before the pandemic, senior living already had one of the highest turnover rates of all the service industries, at 50%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Senior living accounting departments already know that high turnover and ineffective recruiting are major cost centers for communities, averaging $3,500 to $5,000 per lost employee. By using video storytelling in human resources and hiring, however, those age-old costs don’t have to be such a significant strain on NOI.

As with occupancy rates, video storytelling also can propel employee engagement and recruiting, boosting NOI along the way. With video-based employee introductions, shout-outs, messages from leadership and HR, and more, video can be engaging and immersive, helping communities both retain and attract employees. Employee engagement fuels employee retention, and if an employee is fully engaged in the work, then that person is committed to staying with the organization.

Tips on incorporating video into sales and marketing strategies

I know the concept of video storytelling is still quite new to many — perhaps even most —senior living communities. That said, I also want to impart a few simple tips we’ve developed at OneDay to quickly and easily integrate video into sales and marketing strategies:

  1. Use personalized videos to engage a prospect at every stage of the sales funnel and pipeline. From discovery calls, pre- and post-tour follow-ups, and quick check-ins to estimate walk-throughs and post-close welcomes, video can help maintain momentum across the sales process. Additionally, depending on the chosen platform, it also seamlessly can fit into a team’s workflow with intuitive editing, branding and automation features.
  1. Incorporate video storytelling into your HR strategy. The most obvious use cases for video storytelling in HR focus on social media marketing, one-to-one candidate engagement and personalized messaging to referral sources. Beyond the most common applications, however, communities also can leverage video for job listings, candidate introductions and follow-ups, employee and resident testimonials, and internal communication with staff members.
  1. Foster employee engagement through video. Imagine how exciting it would be for a new hire to receive a warm video welcome from management and co-workers, welcoming the person to the team. That’s the sort of messaging that sticks out to employees and forms a lasting sense of loyalty. Videos also are a perfect way to remind staff members of the reasons they do this work, by sharing videos of senior living residents and their families to further create those personal connections that will keep staff members engaged.

Such unique and memorable video storytelling techniques allow senior living communities to increase their awareness and reach, response rates and hiring efficiencies, all while improving team morale and company culture. That’s why video storytelling is as close as a community can get to finding a silver bullet for so many of the issues dragging on NOI.

Eric Varin is vice president of client success at OneDay.

The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living marketplace column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.