Recruiting and retaining workers is the No. 1 challenge facing senior living and care operators today. To address this challenge, administrators throughout the nation are looking for ways to further engage employees and assist them in meeting their personal and professional goals.

At an Ohio senior living operator Judson Services Inc., administrators believe that one of the ways to recruit and retain workers will be to increase the minimum hourly wage for front-line workers across its three campuses. On Wednesday, the company announced that it is increasing its minimum wage to $14 for non-state tested associates and $15 for state tested associates. According to myCNAjobs 2020 National Pay Trends Report, in Ohio, the average wage for non-state tested associates is $11.80 per hour, and it’s $12.49 per hour for state-tested associates. 

The move is just the latest step in the agency’s “Associates Matter” initiative, which began approximately 18 months ago, Judson President and CEO Kendra Urdzik said. The initiative began in response to an engagement survey and the recognition that the company was having trouble retaining its younger workers, she added.

In addition to the pay increases, Urdzik has helped implement a weekly employee newsletter and a monthly breakfast with the CEO to help improve communication throughout the organization; an ongoing recognition program; and a scholarship program to help employees more easily grow and develop within the organization.

“We’ve really been working hard to support employees, not just financially but in every facet of their lives,” Urdzik said.