A Virginia continuing care retirement community is launching a program it hopes will help attract and retain full- and part-time certified nursing assistants in a competitive market.

CNAs who work six hours in the healthcare center of The Glebe in Daleville, VA, will be paid for eight as part of the community’s “30/40” initiative, as long as they adhere to the parameters of the program. The program is named for the total number of hours a CNA will work in a week, 30, and the total number of hours for which he or she will be paid, 40.

“The market for CNAs is very competitive in the Roanoke valley,” said The Glebe’s executive director, Ellen D’Ardenne. “We are offering this incentive as a means of recruiting and retaining quality CNAs. We see it as a win-win-win for new CNAs, our team and, ultimately, our residents.”

Although the program only is available in the skilled nursing portion of the CCRC for now, D’Ardenne told McKnight’s Senior Living that the community plans to expand it to assisted living and memory care if it is successful.

The Glebe’s parent company, LifeSpire of Virginia, will be watching as well. “The Glebe is the test pilot for the program,” D’Ardenne said. “If we are successful, the other three LifeSpire communities may follow.”

To receive the incentive, CNAs must be present and on time for each of their shifts, D’Ardenne said. They may not call off, arrive late or leave early.

Those who meet the requirements for the incentive each week will receive an additional two hours of pay per day. Those who do not meet the requirements of the program will forfeit the incentive for the entire week.

The Glebe will need to hire nine more CNAs as part of the move to six-hour shifts, D’Ardenne said. The CCRC currently has 18 CNAs who work across three traditional shifts of eight hours each.

Although The Glebe considers the costs of the program as “significant,” D’Ardenne said she believes the initiative will reduce personnel costs in the long run.

“The turnover rate for CNAs in Roanoke is substantial, and the costs of recruiting and training CNAs to work at The Glebe are also expensive,” she said. “We believe the costs of this new initiative will be more than offset by the reduced costs of recruiting and training once the program is established.”

Offering competitive pay and a flexible scheduling process are two of the ways that senior living operators can increase their chances for success in a tight labor market, National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Chief Economist Beth Mace wrote in an article in the organization’s April newsletter. Staffing challenges were a major issue discussed at NIC’s recent Spring Investment Forum, she said.

Overall, operators must pay attention to the work environment, pursue new approaches to recruiting and collaborate with educational institutions, Mace said. Read her other tips here.

Read what Mace had to say about the effects of the tight labor market on senior living during a recent McKnight’s Online Expo session here.