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Reframing Careers in Senior Living with User-Generated Content

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Great Resignation left senior care communities around the nation facing unprecedented staffing challenges. In 2021, Pennsylvania nonprofit LeadingAge PA tapped Marketing for Change to turn the tide. With employers everywhere scrambling for workers, we knew we needed to do more than simply promote open positions. What could make workers who had their pick of the hourly job market choose to work with older adults? We conducted a quick landscape assessment and key stakeholder interviews and found our answer: many current workers loved the flexibility, family-like work environment, and joy of working with seniors — but most potential recruits outside the field thought the job would be dreary rather than fun.

We quickly stood up a workforce recruitment campaign with the tagline, “Find a Career that Loves You Back.” Knowing we were fighting misconceptions about the work, we tapped the best people to tell the story: the workers themselves. Our creative team visited senior communities and helped employees create TikTok-style videos about their work. This authentic, user-generated content clearly communicated the unexpected benefits of the job, including the warm relationships workers enjoyed with residents as well as the fun employees had planning (and participating in) creative and social activities.

Next, we worked to make finding and applying for jobs as easy as possible. We developed a website and linked the ads to a job board where potential recruits could search by location and job type, such as nursing, hospitality, maintenance and life enrichment.

We also knew we needed to get in front of people who were looking for employment but most likely did not have senior services in their consideration set. We used our testimonial-style video ads and short, trendjacking social media clips to attract potential recruits who might never have thought about working with seniors otherwise. We also created partner toolkits with shareable social media graphics and posters to leverage member communities to help get the word out.

During our 2021 omnichannel campaign, the “Careers that Love You Back” ads received nearly 16.5 million impressions, reaching over 2 million potential recruits through Facebook and Instagram alone. The website’s job board was searched over 23,000 times. In 2022, LeadingAge PA tapped M4C to develop a follow-on campaign that streamlined digital