In this episode of Raising Tech, our host, Amber Bardon, has a thought-provoking conversation with Rich Kortum, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for KARE, about how KARE's digital labor platform provides prequalified caregivers to help Senior Living communities overcome staffing challenges.
Discover how KARE is allowing Senior Living communities to decrease overtime, reduce burnout of their current employees and easily hire dedicated frontline employees without paying expensive agency fees. Learn how KARE is providing flexible workplace solutions using a modern twist.
Raising Tech is powered by Parasol Alliance, The Strategic Planning & Full-Service IT Partner exclusively serving Senior Living Communities.
Welcome back to another episode of Raising Tech podcast. I'm your host, Amber Bardon, and today our guest is Rich Kortum, who is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at KARE. Welcome to the show, Rich.Rich Kortum:
Thanks, Amber. Excited to be on.Amber Bardon:
I am so excited to do this episode. As listeners may know, we have spoken to the c e O of care in the past on a very early episode that we did a while ago, so we thought it was a great time to do a refresh. There's been a lot of changes both in the industry and the staffing experience and in care itself . So really glad to have you here so we can talk about what's going on, what's new. For those listeners who are not familiar with care, to start off with, can you just tell us a little bit about what is care and what are the specific problems you're looking to solve in the industry? CareRich Kortum:
If for Not Familiar, it's a digital labor marketplace that connects pre-qualified caregivers with communities to help with their staffing challenges. What I mean by labor marketplace is that we have tens of thousands of frontline caregivers that are on our platform that are essentially pre-qualified. We'll do all the verification, making sure that they meet state requirements for their licensed position, background checks, drug screening, and they are then eligible and looking for work. So when communities work with care, it's really to help with a lot of the challenges that they face. In the past, when you look from a third party Labor Sense, agencies been kind of a bad a a , there's a bad reputation I guess, over the years. And a lot of what has been done is what led to the foundation of care that I know Charles has shared with your listeners in the past. But just kind of a recap on that. Agencies typically would have lengthy contracts with communities, quality of labor, it sometimes wasn't the greatest. You had no control who was coming into your community and at the end of the day, if you found somebody you liked , you couldn't hire someone without a stiff penalty. And so those are the things that care really wanted to disrupt and change. And so by having this marketplace of nurses, it's giving communities access to thousands of verified caregivers that can come in and work a shift in their community. So communities when they use care, they just post their own shifts to the platform. They say what type of position they're looking for, give a little shift description, and then thousands of caregivers have access to view that shift. They can apply for that shift. Communities can view the profiles of the care heroes that are on the platform, look at ratings and reviews that have been left about them, and ultimately choose who comes to their building. And if you've had a positive experience with someone, you can hire them for free. So communities are using it not only to help with the immediate challenges of being fully staffed at their communities, but they're starting to look at it at a way that, you know, we can provide relief to our current staff from an overtime perspective and not having to burn our staff out, but also recruit new talent to come into your communities.Amber Bardon:
And if anyone who's listening to this podcast has been to any type of conference in the last two years, I know you have seen care there because your marketing strategy is very bold. It's very out there. Everybody's got the matching t-shirts and they usually have bright orange shoes. And there's definitely a real presence that you can feel with care when you're at a conference. But you also have a very bold marketing strategy with the statement staffing agencies suck. <laugh> , I don't know if you're qualified to dive a little bit into , uh, you know, how you guys came up with that marketing strategy and how effective that's been, but what message are you trying to get out when you say things like that?Rich Kortum:
Yes, we have been very obnoxious with our marketing and ifAmber Bardon:
I didn't say that you did <laugh> , it'sRich Kortum:
It's , it's good. We've got a slide that we share that has that on there. It's, it's really come out that way. And when you see something like that, it's, it one catches attention. But we truly want people to understand we're a disruptor to what agencies have done. There's been a lot of challenges. There's been , um, some bad players that have come into the industry, frankly to take advantage of communities from a price gouging standpoint, stealing their staff, you know, and those are things that with care, we truly want to provide communities , uh, a solution that's gonna be able to give them the power and the flexibility to use care when they want however they would like to, and ultimately try to recruit and hire new talent. We encourage communities to do so. Yes, it is a marketing , uh, stance that's really, we, we've kind of been known for it. We're known for for our orange everywhere as I got my orange kicks right back here behind me, shockingly I happen to be in blue today for whatever reason.Amber Bardon:
So one of the things that I really like about care that I always share with our clients is how, and you did kind of briefly mention this when you're giving your overall description, but just to elaborate and make sure people understand this, is that you encourage direct hires to communities and you don't charge any fees. Can you just talk a little bit more in detail about that aspect of the platform?Rich Kortum:
We're encouraging them to go 'cause we know that we've got data that backs a lot of this up that you know, 60% plus of your frontline care staff has some form of secondary job. And our goal is , is to be their secondary job. I mean that second job, they might have minimums on the number of hours specific dates that they have to work. Now they're working and your community Monday morning from eight to four, and then they've gotta go do their second job at five o'clock and head straight to that care gives the caregiver the complete flexibility to make their own schedule, choose where they work when they work. So they might not have to put in that running from one job directly to the next. And so they can find when it's gonna work with their schedule. So even if a community's hiring our people that are on the care platform, there's a strong chance and what we want to do is to continue to grow our, our labor force that's on the care platform to be able to pick up open shifts, utilize it as that secondary job. SoAmber Bardon:
I know you've been talking about the clinical aspect with nursing specifically. What is the approach and future vision for other positions that are notoriously difficult to hire for things like dining and housekeeping? Yeah,Rich Kortum:
It is something that's been a been, you know, kind of a thought during the pandemic in some of our larger markets. You know, we were approached and had some conversations with some large hotel operators and it made sense at that time and we did help with some of that staff that was, you know, furloughed or wasn't working at that particular timeframe. That was at a time where we were really trying to grow care. Care started in 2019 and then six months after the first shift is spill the pandemic hits and it kind of changes things up. But we wanted to get back to what we were really focused on was growing that frontline care staff. And we've grown to a point today where in 38 states there is conversations in terms of do we look at it from different solutions in the caregiver standpoint that we know that communities are telling us that they're short staffed with? Is it dining? Is there conversations to be able to bring dining and hospitality back into this? There's always that opportunity I think, in the future. But with that, there also comes some challenges with that where if you have somebody that's housekeeper, there's endless opportunities that are open for them from restaurants, hotels and and whatnot where if you're a C N A, you know, there's, it's a little bit more, you know , siloed in terms of where you're going to be able to go work to use their your skills. So there is conversation potentially. Is it something that we open up again into the future? We are having not to reveal too much, you know, where there's conversations looking, how can we grow our current services today and can definitely expect something into, into the futureAmber Bardon:
If a community is struggling with staffing. Talk me through how does using Care compare from an R O I perspective to using an agency or direct hire?Rich Kortum:
Agency rates have really kind of expanded. They've come down some from what I've seen, but we don't tell our partners, our clients what they need to set their rates at. You know, we have the same per hour fee that we add on. If they wanna offer $5 an hour or $50 an hour, it's the same flat rate that goes on to that. Now your , your shift might not have filled if you offered $5 an hour. Our goal is to fall somewhere between what you would pay for your own fully burdened full-time employee and overtime. Um , 'cause we know that overtime number is, is something that's extremely costly and I get it, you know, communities will tell us consistent staff is our best staff and therefore we would rather pay overtime have , you know, third party labor that comes in the building. But when you start looking at your overtime expenses, it continues to add up and continue to grow. And so we wanna provide something that's gonna be able to, you know, be uh, competitive with what you are paying from an overtime perspective where your agency rates are typically far much farther over that. So really finding that sweet spot between what you would pay your own fully burdened employee and and overtime , um, you know, to save cost to the community but also provide a relief, a much needed relief and break for your own current team. ThanksAmber Bardon:
For that explanation. I'm sure that's a big question most of our listeners are thinking about as they listen to this episode. Shifting gears a little bit, as we all know, there's been a lot of transition and change in the industry overall in the last few years. Certainly C O V was a huge part of that. Following Covid , obviously the great resignation and a lot of staffing challenges, what is care seeing as far as the major shifts? Like what would you identify as sort of the major trends in staffing and is there anything that you can share as far as your insight in any of the changes that we're gonna continue to see in the next few years?Rich Kortum:
Communities have really started accepting as much as they can, you know, third party labor and where we've seen, there's been a lot of new entrants that have come into the place and everybody's got their own little niche and things that are there. Communities have really learned from this as we look at who our workforce is today and what they are looking for, we've seen a lot of changes on the community front in terms of offering more flexible shifts and maybe, you know, quicker pay. So I think communities are really pivoting and changing as I've heard from folks that they're , you know, staffing challenges are getting better and being able to retain and recruit new folks. But , uh, some of the other changes we've seen over this timeframe is from a legislative standpoint, and I'm not talking from the large minimum staffing ratio, I know this that we'll might get into that, but states are starting to introduce new legislation to provide, you know, a little bit more transparency in terms of what rates , uh, agencies and third party labor are charging, holding them to specific standards that communities are held to today. And you know, for the most part, you know , Kara a hundred percent supports what is going on from a legislative , uh, perspective. Um , states last year that had some stuff passed , I know Pennsylvania had a agency bill that had passed recently. New York has one. I just sat in on a call yesterday, a briefing to discuss it is that's gonna be rolling out Missouri's rolling something out. But primarily because there's been so many new entrants that have come into the staffing place, there's not a good place to be able to identify who are they, you know, and so first phase is really let's have a registry of who is providing third party labor and then two, they want to understand what rates are. There's not a lot of rate caps that are saying you can't charge over this amount, but we are seeing, we want to understand, you know , uh, what you are accepting, but then also what's being paid to the caregiver they want to see. How far off is that from what you know, staff at communities are, are currently making. So we are seeing a lot of changes there cares pivoted to make sure that we're aligning with these to make sure that we're compliant with that. Some of the things are from Caress model being unique from a 10 99 independent contractor perspective, making sure that our partners are protected by have making sure our heroes purchase insurance policies , uh, from malpractice cybersecurity, just crime insurance to make sure that they're protected when they're in the communities. Also offering an E P L I policy to protect communities from harassment or if anything happens within the , within , within the communities. And that's something that we're seeing in a lot of the legislation as well, is to make sure that, you know, communities feel protected when workers are coming in to their buildings to provide, to provide care for the elders.Amber Bardon:
I think that's a really good point is that I feel not just senior living, but the country as a whole is really in this transition period with traditional employee practices changing a lot and shifting to this gig worker economy. And that's obviously just been a huge disruptor in a lot of other industries and sectors and I think it is now hitting senior living and you're a part of that solution. But it is a mindset shift to get communities to think about this differently. Because as you probably know, a lot of communities have really long-term employees that they've had for a long time and that's been their model. So what would you say to providers to help encourage them to think about this new and different way of providing staffingRich Kortum:
Gig economy? It's, it's continuing to pop up. You've seen it in other industries. It's coming in in healthcare. It's , it's been there and in senior care and it's, I don't think it's going away anytime soon. And so it's to be accepting of it and you need to look, especially when you're looking at like a model like care that you can hire for free is , is you have a lot of long-term employees that are at these communities. But the other piece that we're not, that we didn't mention is there is, think of the number of employees that are turning over in that first 30 to 90 days . You know, it's a huge number that is, is not there. And communities that feel I I know everybody's been guilty of it, you make a bad hire, you know, it's been so challenging to get candidates to come in when you do have someone come through, you go ahead and , and make the hire. 'cause you definitely need a body that's on , um, on the floor. And so looking at who you're partnering with from a third party labor standpoint, it's can be your best new recruiting method to be able to see somebody. How do they engage with your current team to make sure there's a cultural fit as we know that's so important, but also how are they engaging with your family members and your residents to make sure it's a fit and it is a fit on both sides , you know, well , not just for the community before the caregiver as well, giving them the ability to kind of try before you buy. I think that there's, that's something that it should be a new method of recruiting for, for communities today if it's not.Amber Bardon:
Yeah, we're definitely going through a lot of change right now in , in so many different aspects and this is just a , a part of that. Is there anything you are at liberty to discuss that is new with care that's coming out that people can look forward to?Rich Kortum:
We will have some things, but some of the changes that we've, that we've made and , and making sure our clients, it's really just to provide a little bit more transparency with the help that were being provided. You're able to see hours that heroes have worked for you. So that way if you're curious to make sure that somebody's not working over X number of hours in a period of time, providing a little more flexibility for communities to see that. Really just continuing to enhance the platform to make it more user friendly for those. And also, you know, we're really kind of pushing and growing our partnerships piece with other vendors and different partners that we can do so that way we can certainly be a resource to be able to, you know, help with other issues that you currently might be having that we can certainly make introductions to our partners, to others that we feel might be a good value add for 'em .Amber Bardon:
Rich, we've covered a lot of topics today. I'm really glad we got a chance to sit down together again. Is there anything else that you think our listeners should know about care before we wrap up?Rich Kortum:
I think one of the things is everybody looks at it just from a providing labor type of standpoint, but I do think one important notice is because we have so many caregivers on our platform, we get the opportunity to ask them questions, not just what's your shift preference and this and that. We ask questions in terms of what motivates you to come to work each day. If you were offered an extra dollar 50 an hour at, you know , the hospitality industry, would you leave? And it's some pretty fascinating data. We get into a lot of stuff on benefits, but then we also ask community leaders these same types of questions and so you can really see where there's alignment, but then also where we might be missing the boat on some of these things. I I encourage folks, you know , check out, you know, our white papers that we do have, but if there's even one piece of advice that I can offer off of this, we learn so much by asking questions and we love to go around and speak on this. I encourage, you know, communities to make sure that you're asking questions to your caregivers. You're gonna learn so much one of the studies that we do have and we start asking, you know, about disrespect and we dove into disrespect a little bit more. And why don't you feel respected? Caregivers are saying, well, you're not listening to my ideas. So if you are going to ask these questions, it's extremely even more important that you do something with it to show that you're taking in consideration what they're saying , uh, to be able to drive improvement for you. And ultimately I think it's something that can lead to your retention rates , uh, but also from helping from a recruitment standpoint because I think your current employees could be some of your best recruiters and if they enjoy where they're working, they're gonna be able to talk well about it out to their friends. IAmber Bardon:
Agree with you a hundred percent on that and I didn't know that you guys had all that data. It's really interesting to know. It's something that I learned today as part of our conversation. Do you share that with all of your clients or is it available with your white papers? Like you said,Rich Kortum:
It's , it's available in white papers that we have on the website. It's, it is something that we will push out. Our marketing team pushes new things out to our partners as it's there. Typically on the website you can go and download any of those white papers that do get published.Amber Bardon:
So speaking of that, how can our listeners find out more about care and who can they reach out to if they'd like to learn moreRich Kortum:
Simply? Our, our website is do you care.com and cares with a k? You go on there, you can certainly, there's, there's a link at the bottom of the page that'll say, subscribe now or you can learn more about care. You can go to the community experience, need the hero form. You can simply complete something and it sends it to our team or we're able to follow up with you. Otherwise, there's also a number on the website.Amber Bardon:
Thank you so much for joining me today. I really enjoyed our conversation.Rich Kortum:
Thank you.Amber Bardon:
And listeners, if you'd like to find more episodes on Raising Tech, you can find them on our website, parasol alliance.com under the resources page. And as always, thank you for listening.