Recruiting and retaining staff members remain challenging for senior housing and care operators as the pandemic rages on. United Methodist Retirement Communities & Porter Hills is confronting the issues with a $5.2 million, two-year bonus program for frontline staff.

“This is to recognize frontline workers, but also to get them to stay,” said Michelle Baldwin Henderson, chief human resource officer in a LeadingAge article. “We want to recognize that they have stayed with us and stood by us during this time.”

The bonuses are focused on the organization’s approximately 900 on-site hourly employees who are on the front lines, with the first round to be distributed in March and three more rounds to be paid at six-month intervals thereafter.

Bonuses will be given to four tiers of staff, based on seniority. Part-time and per diem employees will receive a prorated amount.

Employees who have been on the job for two year or less will receive $4,000 over two years; two to four years, $8,000; five to nine years, $12,000 and 10 or more years, $14,000. According to Henderson, the bonuses are pretty evenly spread among the top tiers of seniority. UMRC & Porter Hills has more than 150 staff members who are in the 10-plus year category and a “handful” who have been there more than 30 years. 

UMRC & Porter Hills already has been paying signing bonuses to new employees, according to the article, and the new bonus program is a way to reward employees who have stayed with the organization through the challenges that come with working during a pandemic.

“We are building programs based on feedback from team members,” Henderson said. “It’s a team-member-driven program, and we want to respond to what we hear from them rather than figuring it out on our own.”

Read the article here.