BeeHive New Mexico owner and operator Nathan Manning
Nathan Manning

Beehive Homes New Mexico, a franchisee of Boise, ID-based Beehive Homes, is tackling labor challenges with an employee-first business model at its 34 assisted living communities.

That means trying to create a positive experience from an employee’s first day, including personalized onboarding, daily employee communication and a user-friendly platform through which administrators and staff members can connect and make scheduling changes when needed.

“When we were going through this period of time where we were really short-staffed, we took a hard look at what employees’ experience was like and had to ask ourselves, ‘Is that something we would want to come back to?” BeeHive New Mexico owner and operator Nathan Manning told the McKnight’s Business Daily.

The introspection, he said, led to discussion about what the onboarding and first-day experience should be for new staff members. Rather than bombarding new workers with policies and procedures and assigning them to menial tasks, the company has found it to be beneficial to have new staff members spend their first day simply getting to know the residents.

“On day one, instead of getting cleaning duty and talking about policies, we tell the employee, ‘Your job today is to go around to every single resident and get to know them. Share with them who you are, and learn more about them,’ ” Manning said. “That’s it, day one. We want them to create a relationship with all 15 people, because on their next day, they have something to come back for.”

Additionally, as part of its employee-first business model, Beehive Homes New Mexico partnered this month with Toronto-based BookJane, an automated shift call-out platform that allows administrators to connect open and last-minute shifts to employees, giving them the flexibility to accept shifts when and where they want.

“We’re constantly striving to find better systems that improve the overall employee experience for each of our staff members,” Manning said. Workers, he added, are responding that the new system is more user-friendly than a previous scheduling app the company had used.

“The partnership that we have with Beehive Homes New Mexico fits into their greater strategy they’re implementing,” BookJane founder and CEO Curtis Khan told the McKnight’s Business Daily, calling Beehive’s initiative “an end-to-end employee strategy.”

The shift call-out platform automates the process of filling shifts and eliminates the need for an administrator to make phone calls to find staff coverage, relieving the leader of time and stress, Khan said. According to BookJane, the platform decreases administrative time required to fill shifts by up to 70%.

The technology enables all staff members to be notified at once through the app when there is a need, giving staff members more flexibility in creating their schedules. The platform also provides the ability for flex workers, such as retirees and former staff members, to rejoin the workforce and work a few hours a week or on an as-needed basis.

“The workforce has changed. It’s totally different than it was a year ago, even. We’ve had to be more accommodating and had to give our employees more options,” Manning said. “We don’t want to be an employer that’s still doing paper schedules and managers spending a lot of time trying to fill shifts.”