by Heidi Riley
The MacLeod Group was founded in 1984 and now operates in the three Maritime provinces. The company has more than 1,000 employees, and cares for about 640 seniors living in 12 different communities.
On PEI, the MacLeod South Shore Villa Retirement and Nursing Home in Crapaud offers a mix of independent living, community care, respite care, and long-term care services for up to 71 residents.
The MacLeod Clinton View Lodge near Kensington provides community care, respite care and long-term care services for up to 63 residents.
“The company is growing,” says Lindsay Ross, Manager of Recruitment & Retention. “We just acquired another property in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and we also have a management contract for another location in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. In addition, we are about to open another facility in Mahone Bay, which will add another 96 residents.”
Lindsay says there is an increasing demand for the services MacLeod Group provides. “People are living longer and working longer, and so the age that people enter retirement facilities is increasing as well. Our residents also have more complex needs. Those with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and diabetes are under our umbrella of care. We also offer palliative care and respite care.
“The best thing about working for MacLeod Care is that each location is small and intimate, but we have the power of a large company behind us. For instance, when we had an outbreak at one of our PEI facilities, our team from Nova Scotia came to help. Even our CEO was working in the kitchen. When the forest fires in Nova Scotia forced us to evacuate one facility, our whole head office and teams from other locations went there to help.
“Even though our locations are spread out and far from each other, we are small but mighty. I have never worked for a company as caring and thoughtful towards their employees as this one.”
There are about 50 staff members at each site on PEI. There is a wide range of staff titles, including:
- Registered Nurses (RNs)
- Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
- Resident Care Workers (RCWs)
- Resident Support Workers (RSWs)
- Dietary Aides
- Maintenance Workers
- Therapeutic Recreational Program Workers
- Administrative Assistant
- Each facility has a Director and a Support Services Manager.
Full-time, part-time, and casual positions are available. “We have a lot of students working full-time in the summer who go to casual or part-time when they go back to school in the fall. We realize some people work multiple jobs, and so we are happy to take on someone who may want to work just one shift a week.
“Right now, we are looking for RCWs – there is a need across the country. There is also an RN position open at Clintonview Lodge, and LPN positions are open in both South Shore Villa and Clintonview Lodge. And we are looking to hire a Cook at South Shore Villa.
“We are facing a national shortage of Registered Nurses, and that is the hardest role we have to fill,” says Lindsay. “LPNs are also hard to find. It is very competitive, and it is definitely job seekers’ market. RCW roles can also be hard to fill.”
Nursing staff typically work two 12-hour days, followed by two 12-hour night shifts, and then four days off. Housekeeping and dietary workers have 10-hour shifts. “These shifts give people the flexibility to work a second job. We are also open to hiring part-time roles.”
At present, LPNs work eight-hour shifts Monday to Friday, but that is changing to 12-hour shifts. RCWs usually work 12-hour shifts, but they will accommodate them if they need shorter shifts.
“It has always been a challenge to recruit RNs and LPNs on PEI and across the nation,” says Doug Stephens, General Manager of Operations and HR for MacLeod Group Health Services. “But we are starting to struggle to fill occupations such as Cooks and Housekeepers, which has never been an issue before. The workforce has definitely shrunk.”
“Our cook position has been vacant for quite some time,” says Lindsay. “This is not a typical cook position. The shifts are four days on, four days off, with no late-night hours.
“We are also always hiring Housekeeping and Dietary Aides.
“Our biggest challenge in hiring is location. Some of our applicants don’t have a vehicle. We are located in rural PEI, and the roads in the winter can be a challenge.
“Right now, because of COVID-19, there may be some reluctance to work in nursing homes. That should not deter someone from applying. We take issues of staff safety and infection control measures seriously in an effort to provide a safe work environment for our employees.”
Some positions such as RNs and LPNs need to be licensed and/or certified.
“For the Resident Support Worker role, certification is not required. We look for someone with a desire and passion to work with seniors and who may have some work history in a care role such as a daycare, providing private home care, or a stay-at-home mom with transferrable skills,” says Doug.
“When we hire RCWs, we look for previous experience, such as caring for a parent or family member in a similar capacity, so that you have the understanding of how to bathe someone and get them dressed,” says Lindsay.
“If you are coming from RCW community college training, that would be wonderful, but we don’t require certification for all our RCWs. Those with previous experience, a human services background, or who have worked in childcare have a lot of transferrable skills.”
Housekeeping and Dietary Aide positions do not require previous experience. “We can train them in the way our company works.
“For Cooks, we would ideally look for someone with formal training in that area, but if they have a passion for cooking, previous cooking experience, and a good sense of organization, we would definitely consider them.”
In-house training for Resident Support Workers (RSWs)
“We hire RSWs who have had some general background and experience caring for someone and meet some of our core competencies including teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking skills,” says Doug.
“We provide basic in-house training to someone without experience, including TLR (Transferring, Lifting, Repositioning), CPR, and First Aid before someone gets on the floor. They also do job shadowing to make sure they are comfortable in the role. We welcome them to ask for more training if they feel they need it.
“Within the first year of employment, we would work with them to reach the level of core competency of a Resident Care Worker.”
“We have done reviews to make sure we are in line with the pay and benefits other facilities are offering. We offer competitive wages and benefits, including medical, health, dental and pension plans. The benefits we offer are fairly significant and make us stand out as an employer.”
Benefits offered to full-time employees include medical, dental, prescription drugs, Employee Assistance Program, and pension plan.
How to apply
“One of our best recruitment tools is other staff members,” says Lindsay. “If you know someone who works for MacLeod Care, ask them to pass your resumé on to us.”
“In the cover letter or during the interview, be ready to demonstrate how our company goals align with your personal goals, and that you have the transferrable skills to do the job,” says Lindsay.
“I will reach out to applicants and set up an initial telephone interview, and then there will be a second phone interview with myself and the manager of the department. Then I would call references. Applicants also need to pass a vulnerable sector check. I then pass on the names to the department managers, who set up an orientation.”
Providing an up-to-date immunization record is also a requirement.
“Many positions start as part-time, but typically new hires are offered full-time hours,” says Lindsay.
“We look internally to fill many open positions, and new openings are created as people move up or within the organization. Some work their way to management positions. For example, at one of our Nova Scotia sites, one of our staff members started out as an LPN and is now a Support Services Manager.”
“Working at a seniors’ residence involves a lot of learning,” says Doug. “Once you get over the unfamiliarity of the job, it is also a lot of fun. Seniors have a lot of history and knowledge and you can have great enjoyment on the job, sharing memories and even singing along with them.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about MacLeod Group, visit www.macleodcares.com