The successful businessman, philanthropist and founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson is notable for saying, "Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients".
While this statement sounds counter to old business wisdom, it is inherently true. Employees are the first contact customers (or in the senior living industry – residents) have with an organization. Employees who are treated well, educated and routinely challenged in their roles are undeniably happier – directly affecting how they interact with residents. So what are senior living companies doing to help employees and caregivers reach their full potential and therefore improving overall customer service for residents?
"Oaks Senior Living is in the process of implementing a company initiative for "Person-Centered Lifestyles". This action brings in a clear objective of focusing all of our attention on the three types of people we serve: employees, residents and resident families. We recognize that our best employees are those who are engaged and look forward to coming to work," says Denise Salabarria, VP of Sales and Marketing.
The company asked itself how it can help staff continue to build and strengthen relationships with residents, their families and each other. The answer was to implement and encourage growth through furthering education by supporting specialized training, certifications and retreats. This program is not "one size fits all" and the executive team actively work with each caregiver and employee to identify what aspects they enjoy about their job and where Oaks Senior Living can help them excel.
Recently, two of Horizon Memory Care employees attended a Teepa Snow, PAC (Positive Approach™ to Engagement) course. Considered one of the best in the industry, this in-depth certification takes up to 14 weeks to complete and teaches how to positively impact residents who live with dementia through engagement and connection.
One employee who recently received this certification was Sachi Wilson, Activity Director at Oaks at Hampton. “Oaks Senior Living actively sought out the best available program to help our Horizons residents enjoy a better quality of life. I was the second person in the U.S. to be certified in this program. I am also now certified to teach the tenets & methods of PAC to our care partners ensuring our wonderful residents and their families will continue to benefit from this program for years to come,” says Wilson.
Another Oaks employee who received this certification is Michelle Kacer, Activity Director at Oaks Post Road. "I better understand how to positively respond to an individual's change in cognition and physical abilities. It helped put into perspective that someone with memory impairment is doing the best they can at any given moment and that if an activity isn't working well, it's the responsibility of the care partner to change their approach," says Kacer.
Lastly, Kelsey Moren, aHorizons Lifestyle Director at Oaks at Braselton received CEU Concepts accredidation. This training is a 3 month process that assists employees with better serving residents with memory impairment.
"Any education that helps me enhance the quality of life of my residents is a win in my opinion. One of the best aspects of my position is that I can be a resource not only for my residents but also their families. When I can see that I’ve helped them bring back meaningful relationships with their loved ones, it really brings me a sense of inner peace. I am really looking forward to sharing more dementia care techniques with others outside of our community," says Moren.
These are just three examples of how Oaks Senior Living is promoting employee growth and helping to reduce turnover by over half. As a renowned and respected senior living company, Oaks is striving to be the employer and housing provider of choice. Continuing to implement a culture that encourages employee engagement will always be a major focus for our team.