Regardless of organization size or the resources available to us, every leader within every organization in senior living can build trust with their employees so that they are in turn able to provide residents with meaningful engagement. Without building trust, managers will never be able to drive long-term success for their team, family members, residents, or overall organization.
Anthony Ormsbee-Hale, Vice President, People Operations at Civitas Senior Living, shares practical approaches to building trust with employees, highlights best practices to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and respect and shares how to overcome challenges in low-trust environments. This session is beneficial for emerging leaders looking to lean into leadership or for individuals who have been in leadership roles for years but are looking for new ways to establish connections with employees.
Attendees who joined the webinar were able to:
• Define high trust culture using the Great Place to Work methodology and apply it to their own senior living community
• Recall behavioral skills that support establishing trust and respect between team members and understand how this can help improve resident and family satisfaction
• Compose questions that can be utilized to evaluate employee trust levels and identify barriers to trust so that the community can ensure that meaningful engagement can be offered by a collaborative team
Download 10 Tops for Success: Resident Engagement and Building Trust.
You’re listening to the Activities Strong Executive Edition series on the Bridge the Gap network, the live webinar series aims to promote, engage, and empower wellness directors and senior living executives to continue the conversation surrounding health and wellness in aging adults. This series is powered by Linked Senior.
Anthony Ormsbee-Hale 00:20
Good morning, good afternoon, everyone. It is phenomenal to be with you all. I’m so grateful to Linked Senior for the opportunity to join you today, to discuss a topic that I’m incredibly passionate about which is building high trust cultures. In the last four years, in my time as vice president of people, Operations at Cita Senior Living, I have worked with incredible teams across the United States to develop and sustain high trust culture cultures within our organization. And it’s just been a joy and a privilege to see what happens whenever people work in a environment that challenges them that rewards them and that they feel that they are trusted to do the work that they are asked to do. And so before I get started today, I just wanna take a moment to say thank you to all of you who are taking time to watch this webinar.
I know the past couple of years have been crazy for those of us working in senior living and of course in the greater world. And so taking the opportunity to continue to focus on your own development, to hopefully learn something new, to learn new skills. It says a lot about you and your just your priority to continue to develop yourself. And so thank you for taking the time to do that. Thank you for the work that you do in senior living because of what you all do in your communities and your organizations. Cool old people across the United States continue to live lives that are filled with passion and filled with purpose. And so I’m excited to dive in with you all today to talk about what we can do to develop organizations that empower employees, to continue to support senior adults.
And during this discussion today, we’re gonna talk about what a high trust culture looks like. And we’re going to define that using an established and globally recognized methodology. I’ll share about the value of improving upon our own behavior skills and the impact that those have on establishing trust. And then towards the end of this program, I’ll share details about practices that I personally have utilized and have seen be successful in senior living communities across the United States that can help prevent turnover and establish trust between employees and their managers. During this discussion, please feel free to ask questions, share those in the chat. And I will certainly do my best to keep an eye on those. And I know Megan is gonna help kind of fill in some of those questions as well. And so, as we begin, I think it’s important to, to discuss kind of what the current baseline of trust is within the United States. And so I’d love to just take a quick poll of the audience and feel free to pop this into the chat. What do you think? What percentage of Americans state that they begin a personal relationship from a place of trust? And so when I meet someone, do I, what percentage of Americans do you think instantly have some feeling of trust with that person?
And you can pop your guesses in the chat. Okay. 50, 80, 30, 20, 10, 40. These are some great guesses. I appreciate you all sharing. I know sometimes it can be hard to do that. So less than 50, seeing a lot of fiftys. And so, you know, I am typically a pretty optimistic person. I hate to start something with, you know, something that may be considered negative, but knowledge is power, and it really helps to use data whenever we’re working through this information. So it may surprise you to know that that according to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, which is an annual study of trust, based on a variety of factors, it states that nearly six out of 10 people say that their default tendency is to distrust something until they see evidence that it is trustworthy. In fact, in some of these research trials which include studies of relationships within the workplace of personal relationships, not romantic relationships, but personal relationships within the workplace show that coworkers often remember negative stories about a coworker nearly two times, as often as they remember the positive stories about their coworkers.
So if you learn nothing else from this presentation today, I hope that you take away that our personal mission in the workplace should be to tell three times as many positive stories. So we can outpace the negative stories out there and the workplace, but why is it so important to trust in the workplace? Won’t people just do their job, just do their work, and then leave at the end of the day, isn’t that what we really want? So why is it that we really focus on creating trust in the workplace? And the reason for that is because trust creates joy. It creates an opportunity for us to really benefit from the work that we do. And when you look at research, comparing low trust and high trust organizations, people who work at high trust companies report that they have 74% less stress, that 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, they use 13%, fewer sick days and 76% report being highly engaged or more engaged in their low trust counterparts.
29% say that they have more personal satisfaction with their lives, and 40% of them experience less burnout. And I know that’s a lot of information to unpack, but when you think about it, I would wager that most of us on this call are working to make sure that our workplaces and our own personal work experiences have less stress. We all want more energy in the workplace. We’d like to be more productive. I personally would like to use fewer sick days. We wanna be more engaged. And so when you look at a high trust culture, it really is a culture that is cheerful, that spreads joy and happiness. And I’m not talking about just the superficial happiness that sometimes when I walk into a senior living community and I ask people, how are you doing today? Fine. I’m okay, thanks for asking. And really what it looks like is these people are, they are excited to come to work.
They can’t wait to come to work because they know that the work that they do really matters. And so whenever we look at work that really matters, in my experience it’s important for groups to agree upon shared language so that there are no misunderstandings. And when we are talking about the personal experiences, geographic or generational differences that make up this melting pot of people who live and work in senior living communities, trust can have a different definition for each of us. And that’s why I think it’s really important from an organizational management standpoint and from our own just our own experiences with each other, that we adopt a shared language. And one of the things that I have used in my own time at Civitas based on my own research is using the Great Place to Work methodology.
And so just full disclaimer for the group. I’m not paid by Great Place to Work to represent their methodology. And they’re certainly are way more qualified people to talk about it than than just myself, but I have used it for several years and it’s something that I find when I go out and I talk to other organizations. And when I talk to individuals who are entering into the workplace, that they really align well with this this methodology. And one of the things that I have loved about working with great place to work is that they’ve established a senior living specific division to analyze the data coming from our own industry. And so it helps to have information that is relevant to the work that we do. So often I’ll read research papers or white papers that have to do with the financial sector or with real estate. And they don’t really apply well to the work that we do within senior living. So what I’m hoping to do is to walk us through the five components of the great place to work methodology, to really establish some common language. So when we talk about things like credibility, respect, fairness, camaraderie, and pride, we all understand what we’re, what we’re talking about together.
And so the first component is the manager and employee relationship, and it focuses on credibility, respect, and fairness. And so when we look at credibility, what we’re really talking about is the employee sees their manager or their leader as a credible, believable, and trustworthy source. My perception of my manager is that they communicate effectively, that they know what they’re doing in the workplace and that they’re acting with integrity. And I think so often we see that trust can be broken in the workplace. Whenever a person believes that their manager has acted dishonestly or without integrity. And so often when I’m helping individuals overcome their challenges with each other, I’ll see that they are that they may say, oh, well, I can’t believe everything that this person is telling me. And so it’s important for us to, to make sure that we are establishing ourselves as credible leaders within the workplace.
And then the second component to that is trust, or I’m sorry, it’s respect employees feel respected by management that they feel their perception is that they’re given professional support collaboration, that they have some involvement in decisions. And again, there’s appropriate boundary setting that takes place there because maybe employees can’t be involved in every decision within the senior living organization, but that they there’s some transparency there. And we’ll talk a little bit about communication as well. And that there’s an appropriate level of care that the management shows for employees. And so whenever a person feels like they’re being respected by their manager, that helps to establish that relationship built on trust. And then the third component of the employee to manager relationship is fairness that employees believe that management practices and policies are fair, that they’re equitable, that they’re impartial, and that if something were to happen, that they would receive fair judgment in the workplace.
And I think that this is when, where particularly coming from the HR field, I see happen a lot where employees are maybe an accusation is made against them and an investigation needs to take place in the workplace. And so what we find is that the accused employee may not necessarily trust that a manager is going to give them a fair review. And so they’ll immediately say, well, I want HR to investigate. And there’s an opportunity there for HR and for operations or whoever is leading the the organization to partner together to make sure that whoever is the appropriate person to lead that investigation is doing so impartially. And then the second component of the great place to work methodology really looks at the employee’s connection to the mission. And one is how does that employee take pride in the workplace? And it measures how employees feel about their own individual impact through their work, through the pride in their work of their team and the pride in the company overall.
And I always explain it to people like this. If a person believes that their work doesn’t matter, they’re more likely to call out or to not show up at all. Most of us on this call have probably experienced ghosting in some form or another. And for me personally, when I was an executive director of a senior living community, I would feel very personally upset by that because I took it as an opportunity to reflect and say, what actions did I, or my team take that made this person feel like if they, that their actions didn’t matter, because we all know that sometimes when an employee doesn’t show up residents ask questions, I, they have their favorite team members. They have their favorite employees. And so they’ll ask, you know, well, what happened to so and so, and so I always start every employee orientation that I have an opportunity to participate in just by reminding people that the work that they do really matters that whenever they show up, whenever they operate, I’m fully engaged with the team, that it enriches the quality of life that our residents experience.
And it’s, it’s totally different than so many other jobs out there. And then last, but certainly not least is camaraderie, which measures whether employees believe that the company is a strong community of individuals, that their colleagues are friendly, supportive, and welcoming. And as I talk to a lot of new employees, when I visit communities, or whenever we open senior living communities, and I see these teams get to thrive and join together, I oftentimes will look at the friendships that are established there. And so often what I’ll see is if you’ve ever had the opportunity to listen to Cara Silletto, she talks about the eat your young mentality, that we see a lot in senior living, which is maybe your more seasoned tenure, higher level employees. They may not necessarily be the nicest to new folks. Maybe the new employee coming in is going to be given the busted walkie talkie that doesn’t hold a charge very long, or they may be assigned to take care of your more challenging or difficult resident.
And that does not really establish trust between the new employee and the existing team. And so it’s really important for senior living organizations for any organization, regardless of whether or not you’re in senior living to make sure that when we hire a new person, when we work so hard. I’m sure many of you know, that, you know what it’s like to hire someone in this competitive job market right now that when we’re hiring that person, that we are making sure that they are integrating into the team appropriately, that they’re connected. You know, this is where we see mentorship programs work really well because it’s really important for a new employee in order for them to establish trust with us as an organization, to make sure that they’re friendly, supportive, welcoming with each other. I’d love to hear, you know, just in the chat as we kind of transition here, if you all have ever experienced an action from a leader within an organization that made you trust them, what was it that someone did that really made you respect or, or trust this person?
So if anyone has any managers that they wanna recognize for positive actions that they did, I’d love to just read those stories as we kind of go through this presentation. And as we’re celebrating those individuals who have done a great job of establishing trust with individuals, I wanna take a moment to highlight an organization that made a mistake, something that is all too common in a lot of organizations, and kinda talk about what we can do to learn from that. So we know what a great place to work looks like. A great place to work looks like an organization where individuals feel that they’re a part of a team that they feel like they’re respected. That the work that they do matters, and that they’re going to get a fair review if something were to happen.
And so let’s talk about an example of an action where trust was eroded within an organization. And so this is a news clipping from 2014, when a newly appointed commissioner of the Boston Fire Department came in and they reviewed, they saw, okay, we’ve got a pretty good trend of employees who call in sick on Friday or Monday. And so this person came from a cynical place and said, well, people are abusing our unlimited PTO policy. And so based on the trend that they saw of employees using PTO at higher rates on Monday and Friday, the commissioner revised the policy to limit the number of PTOs, which included sick time and personal time to just 15 days a year. So this organization went from unlimited PTO to every employee could use 15 days per year. And you could use that for sick time or for personal time.
So what do you think happened after this policy was implemented? So after the policy was implemented, most of the employees used all 15 days of their PTO, which was a significant increase from the average of just six days of PTO that was used per employee prior to the policy change. So this organization, based on the actions of a few individuals who, you know, I’m at this, this commissioner used the data, they saw that there was a high trend happening on Mondays and Fridays. They made a policy change. But what they didn’t really understand was that there was a small group of individuals who were misusing the policy and they made a change that impacted the entire organization. And again, when people use event, you know, the average number of PTO days increased almost more than doubled by that.
And so it actually ended up costing the organization quite a bit more in, over and overtime and covering those shifts. And so based on this reactionary, move, the commissioner lost credibility with their management team. They lost credibility within the city officials. And it’s a great lesson for all of us in leadership to ensure that we’re not making policy decisions, that we’re not making rules from a place of mistrust with our employees. And so I liked this example quite a bit because a lot of times organizations will say, you know, will make decisions based on some interpretation of information, but it’s important to make sure that you understand behavior that impacts the data as well. So going through this, so before you make a policy change within your organization, before you make a rule change, go back and understand some of the behavior that’s happening before that. And then I always like to ask myself, am I coming from a place of mistrust? Am I being cynical? And is there someone in the room who can play devil’s advocate for me and really kind of help me make sure that I’m looking at this from a positive perspective as well.
So, as I shared earlier, if employees are entering the workforce with a higher mistrust of others, remember 60% of people start a relationship from a place of mistrust, what actions can we take to establish trust within our teams? And it’s important for us to start with self-reflection and this is where you all get a free gift from me. Especially since you’re sitting through this presentation and I hope that you’re learning something from it, but I know that, you know, it’s hard sometimes to sit through longer presentation. So if you take your phones out and if you scan that QR code, and I believe Jesse’s gonna put a link in the chat as well, if you wanna do this on your desktop, you can either scan this with your phone, or you can click that link. You don’t have to do it right now, but this is gonna take you to a tool that we use at Civitas called the Predictive Index.
And the Predictive Index is a behavioral assessment that has consistently been scientifically validated and used by organizations all across the world. It should take you about five minutes to complete the assessment. And I encourage you to do that as soon as this presentation is over. And then once you complete the assessment, you’ll receive your results via email, and I’ll include a couple of other helpful tools for you as well. And I’ll share some information about what you can expect to get from the predictive index, but the predictive index measures behaviors, it measures behaviors within the workplace. And those are really important to understanding our reactions and our perceptions. So using a tool like predictive index, Gallup disk, or other tools that can provide you with objective information helps you identify strengths and opportunities for development. And the reason that this is so important to use tools like this is because sometimes we’re not necessarily as honest with ourselves as we should be.
And I’ll give you an example of that. I’ve shared kind of a snippet of my own predictive index results with you. And you’ll see the kind of the value of the using a tool like this. So if I ever went on a job interview and it’s been a while since I’ve been on a job interview, but typically people ask you, you know, what are your strengths? And I would even before using the predictive index, I would typically describe myself as you know, well, I take initiative, I’m a self starter, I’m results oriented. I love working in fast-paced environment. I typically don’t meet a lot of management. And you know, that those are all I would consider to be positive attributes depending on the job that you’re interviewing for. And so, but if I were polishing at my resume or answering that question, I’d not, I would not likely describe myself using any of the attributes and the caution area, which is that there are times where I can appear to be tough minded that I can be intolerant of or frustrated by delays.
And so when I look at that, or that I may not adhere destruction or direction, so which person do you wanna hire? Do you wanna hire the person who is a self starter, results oriented or do you wanna hire the person who is tough minded and may not follow all the roles? Well, you’re hiring both, you’re hiring both of those, you know, both of those people. And so when I first took on my role at Civitas I was able to build out my team in my first hire was an internal promotion from a Civitas community. And as this person, and I worked out our communication styles with each other, we set boundaries, we utilized the predictive index, and I was surprised to learn from this person that she found that I initially was very direct and very authoritative. Again, I was trying to build a department and start moving fast and getting things done.
And so, as I asked for more feedback, I learned that this person and I had the exact opposite predictive index profiles and work styles. While I learned, you know, while I loved kind of big picture thinking and strategic planning, I really didn’t like getting into the details a lot. And, you know, if you had me sit down and look through, you know, a big Excel file to try to find issues with stuff, I would probably go crazy. And so, but you know, this person was really fantastic and helped, you know, establish a lot of structure. And so we worked together for the last four years and by providing a space where we could share feedback with each other, we were able to grow in our own in our own skillset. And the using a tool like projective index helped me make sure that I understood, you know, what strengths I had and what opportunities for development. And so if you, as a manager can use an objective tool like this, to understand that there may be some people within your team who think of you as tough minded, who think of you as assertive, who think of you in a way that you may not necessarily describe yourself. It’s a great way to to just start with self-reflection.
And as I shared earlier, once just establishing trust is not enough. It takes daily work for us to build and maintain trust between team members and employees. And so here are a few things that I have found to be successful just in my own practice. And again, this is gonna look differently to each one of us, depending on, you know, our behavioral skills in the workplace, our level of experience. And but these are things that I think that any organization or any leader can immediately adopt. And the first one of those is to recognize excellence. So often, particularly if you’re managing a large department, or if you’re managing multiple senior living communities, you find that you spend most of your time putting out fires that you’re putting out most you’re spending most of your time focusing on the issues that happen.
And so often we don’t get a chance to recognize people who do their jobs really well. And so when you have an opportunity or when you see someone doing something that reflects the values and the mission of your organization, take time to really stop and tell them that is amazing. I want you to do that again and again and again, because the people around you who recognize that you are celebrating this person for doing something that really reflects your values. They will copy those actions. And it’s a great way to build habits within individuals on your team to make sure that they are continually sustaining excellence within your organization. And I love the second one because it’s important for every organization to set ambitious goals. And so an example of that might be, if you were working within a senior living community, maybe you set a goal to have 90% of your residents participate in three or more activities a week.
You know, that may look differently based on your, your organization or your community, or however you wanna set that up, but it’s specific, it’s measurable, it’s attainable, realistic, and then you you’ve set a time there. So I’ve got my SMART goals done for the day, but when you do that, then everyone within the community knows, okay, I need to encourage Mrs. Smith to go to an activity today. And if she doesn’t wanna go to an activity today, how do I give the feedback to the team, to where maybe we create something that could better engage that person? And so that’s what we call challenge stress. They’re ambitious goals. You know, again, we’re trying to get 90% of our, of our residents to participate in some form of an activity multiple times a week. And so, but they’re achievable and you can go back and you can say, wow, we got so close to our goal this week.
Let’s try it one more time next week and see if we can do better. And that works for sales. It works for food and beverage. It works for activities works for clinical care. And so when you do that and you get everyone involved, then it really establishes. Okay, I am going to trust Megan that when she and I are working a ship together, we’re gonna partner together and we’re gonna overcome any challenge or any obstacle that gets in our way of getting this done. And so we’re working together towards a common purpose versus I’m trying to get my work done. And Megan, if she gets her work done or not, I don’t really care about that, but I’d much rather work with her so we can accomplish a shared goal. And the third point is giving people the autonomy. So again, here’s the goal that I’ve set.
I wanna get 90% of my, of my residents to an activity multiple times a week. You trusted in beloved caregiver or activity professional or salesperson. You go make that happen. However you need to do that. And so people have more input in how they can direct their work throughout the day. Sometimes we have to set clear boundaries and we have to set expectations. And this happens a lot in like regulatory work, but in other spaces where we may be able to give people more freedom or more autonomy, this goes into the fourth point, which is enabling job crafting. It gives people an opportunity to take their job and to go beyond the basic expectations. And one of the things that I love about job crafting is I had someone sent a screenshot of something to me on LinkedIn.
And I thought it was absolutely brilliant. It was a activity professional at a senior living community. And she added an additional job within her current job where she was the social media champion for her community. And I loved it because I reached out to her and I said, “Hey, I saw that you added another job. Did you get a promotion? You know, congratulations.” And she said, “Well, you know, to normally our corporate team manages our Facebook account, but they wanted to give me the opportunity to, I told them that I really liked social media. And so they said, well, why don’t you run the Facebook account for your community for the first month? And let’s see what type of engagement you get. Let’s see what happens there.” And so she was able to apply a new skill. It went towards her professional development and she added a component of her job that she liked.
Not that she didn’t dislike other parts of her job, but it was one more thing that she looked forward to. And so I absolutely loved that, that it wasn’t, “No, this is the way that we do things at this company and you can’t do that.” It empowered that person and said, “we trust you to take this additional responsibility and we’re gonna reward you for it.” And there was great outcomes as a result of that. And that that employee just became harder for me or for anyone else to recruit away because she’s doing something that she really loves. And last, but not least, is sharing information broadly. Sometimes I think that we don’t share enough information with any of our employees. And so what I love is, you know, if you’re doing a shift change meeting at Civitas, we do what we call daily team huddles, where every day we share company announcements and department information, but share information that if you ever find yourself thinking, oh, well, nobody’s going to care if we, you know, if they know about this. And an example of that, maybe your move in goals for the month, do your staff on your team other than the department managers, and maybe not even all of your department managers know this, but does everybody know that our goal is to get eight move-ins a month and we’re two weeks into the month and we’ve only gotten three move-ins.
So what do we do as a team that really supports the sales process? And again, it goes back to that, how do I create this shared goal between everybody within the organization? I’ve introduced a little challenge, a little, you know, healthy stress for folks and really helping to kind of say, okay, now I’m gonna stop by, you know, Jesse’s office because Jesse’s my wonderful Sales Director, and I’m gonna ask her, Hey, what can I do to help you reach your goal for today? And so those are daily actions that don’t anyone on in your organization to do that. It doesn’t cost anything to do these things. And so it’s really great to to try them out and you don’t have to do them all at once. It takes time and practice to build these healthy habits.
And last but not least, we have to be intentional about building relationships with individuals so that we can establish trust with them. And so I wanna share a little bit about a program that we’ve adopted at Civitas and I’ll kind of walk you through what that process looks like. I cannot, for the life of me, think of a better name to call this program. And so at Civitas we call them Stay-interviews, and that’s a pretty typical name for some organizations that have a similar program. And so if you can think of a better name for the stay interview program and pop it in the chat, I promise you I’ll be forever grateful to you for doing that, but it’s not so much about what you call it. It’s more about what you do and how intentional you are with this. And so at Civitas we do Stay-interviews within the first week of a new employee joining the team, and then we do them again at day 45.
And so, and the idea behind that is you have your check-in on week one, check-in kind of within the first two months, and then we do a 90 day performance discussion. And so you’re having three structured check-ins within the first 90 days, and it’s a great way to reduce your 90 day turnover. And what I love about this check and chat, I love it, Beth. That’s fantastic. And so when you’re looking at, you know, a program like this, the first step is to prepare for that. And again, it goes back to I, as a manager, have to reflect on myself and think, okay, I’ve just hired Beth. And did her process, or did their onboarding go smoothly or did they get rushed into the process and, I know that maybe they didn’t get all of the training that they needed to have.
And so I’m already anticipating some of those concerns. And then, you know, what I love about this on step one, when we piloted the program was managers never told employees what the purpose of the conversation was for. And so everyone freaked out when you know all, oh my gosh, all of a sudden I have to come in for a meeting with my boss. And again, 60% of people start a relationship from a place of mistrust. So if you sit down with the employee and you say, “Hey, in a couple of days, I want to have a conversation with you that talks about how you’re adjusting and moving into the workplace.” And in a couple of minutes, I’ll share some of the questions that we ask in the program. And so, you know, just we’re gonna have this meeting in two or three days. I want you to think about the feedback that you’re going to offer during that time.
It takes away a lot of the anxiety that people feel whenever they’re asked to sit down and have a formal meeting with their, with their employee or with their manager. And then step two is actually doing the interview. And I always encourage people to do very casual Stay interviews. If your community has a bistro, maybe you can sit down and have a cup of coffee with that person. You wanna gather some information, how are you fitting in with the team? Does this job match your expectations? And then, you know, at the end of that, you can say, well, you know, this is really great feedback. I’m going to, here’s what I learned from it. And then here’s some action items that I have. And I’ll give you a great example of one stay interview that I thought was just a great example for this program is we had a server who started at one of our larger campus communities.
And he was referred by a friend who also worked in the food and beverage department. And so the chef sat down with him and, you know, he said, you know, I’m really learning a lot. I’m super excited that I’ve worked here, but I just found out that my friend who works here, he is going back to school and he’s decided that he wants to live on campus. And so, but the campus is really far away, but he is my transportation to get to work. He’s how I get to work right now. And so whenever he goes back to school next month, I will not have transportation to get to work. And so all of a sudden it’s like, okay, we’ve got this new employee, he loves his job. We think he’s doing a great job, but now we have a problem and we’re gonna lose this employee unless we can help them determine some solution to their transportation issue.
And so the chef manager was actually able to help that employee get signed up. Luckily they lived in a city that offered public transportation, and so they were able to get that person information for the bus schedule and get them set up versus just saying, you know, Hey, figure it out on your own. And so I thought such great initiative to save this employee. That employee is still working at the community a year and a half later. And it was just fantastic. We would’ve spent so much more time hiring to replace that employee than just the couple of minutes that the chef took to really understand and help that person solve their problem. And again, that goes into to step number three of evaluating, you know, what are some of the requests that employees are making? We won’t be able to meet every request, but it’s important to identify, oh, maybe there’s a common trend here.
You know, one community that I worked with said, well, every employee said it would be better for them if their shift started one hour later. And so we shifted the schedule for the community because it made sense for the majority of our employees. And we documented that a couple months later we analyzed the information and the actions that we took. And then we followed up, we checked back in with the employees, “Hey, is this still working for you? Are we still meeting your expectations, any feedback that you have for us.” And what I love about this program in this process is that these are also great questions for a new manager. If you were just hired and joining an organization for you to ask, to get to know your team. And so I’ll share some of the questions that we ask and if anyone wants to follow up with me after the session, you’re certainly welcome to do that.
And I can share more questions that we ask new employees. And so my personal favorites are, what were your expectations when you accepted this position and how were we measuring up to that? So often, sometimes I’ll go into a community and I’ll sit down with someone and they they’ll say, you know, oh, I didn’t realize that I was going to have to do blank, you know, whatever this task was. And so their expectations, you know, their perception versus reality of the position was different for them. And so I love asking, you know, do you have the tools and resources to do your job effectively? I remember going into one community and they said, you know, well actually when the managers all leave in the evening time, we don’t have a way to get the trash bags out of the supply closet. And so then they’ll like, well, then we get in trouble because we don’t pick up the trash in the evening time.
And so that was a very easy fix for us to do. It’s like, okay, we can make sure that somebody in the community has a key, so you can get access to the supplies that you need. Remember that camaraderie that we talked about earlier. That’s a great way to measure that is by asking, how are you fitting in with the team? Do you have someone on the team that you can go to and ask questions if you’re not sure of, of something? And that’s really important, again, we’re not creating lifelong lasting friendships here, but do I feel like there’s someone on the team who I can go to and I can ask a question, because even though you, as a manager may have this great relationship with someone, sometimes people are embarrassed to ask their manager questions. I know even myself sometimes as a seasoned professional, can, you know, I don’t wanna ask my boss something.
So I’ll call a colleague and I’ll say, “Hey, can you help me out with this?” And then people get nervous to ask this last question, but I think it’s important. And it’s, you know, what would cause you to leave our team? You know, if you got a call from a recruiter or you got, you saw this job posting online, what about that job posting would cause you to want to go and interview? And I think it recognizes that, you know, careers are journeys throughout people’s entire lives that, you know, an employee may not be with us forever. And so, but it also helps you as an organization, identify what can you do to be more competitive in the workplace? And so if all of your people are leaving you because your competitor down the street is offering, you know, gas stipends, or toll tags for people who maybe drive quite a bit at of time, then you now know something that you may need to consider to be more competitive.
And then at the end of this conversation, it’s all about the follow up. It’s all about me going back and saying, “Megan, thank you so much for telling me about, you know, your experience with us, for sharing what you love, sharing, maybe some of your concerns. Here’s what I, as your manager, have done to address them. And maybe I’m not able to fix all of your problems, but we’ve come back to it.” And okay, now Megan knows in the future, if she, or if they have a concern that they can come to me, that I’m gonna give it my time and my attention. It may not always work out the way that we want it to be, but at least the effort is there. And so these are great questions to look at just gathering that information and asking those follow up questions is critical.
And one of my favorite quotes from Ernest Hemingway: The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them. We, that may, that doesn’t necessarily mean you give everyone, you know, the PIN Code, you know, the PIN code to your ATM card, but it means that we assume that people are good and we assume that people have good intentions. And unfortunately, sometimes that doesn’t always work out the way that we want it to, but we will create more workplaces that have high trust and have a lot of joy if we start from a place of trust. And so I appreciate you all taking the time to hear me out today. I’d love to hear any questions that you have. I don’t know if I missed any questions or thoughts, but in the chat box, but I would absolutely be happy to answer those now. Or if you want to connect with me after the series, you’re welcome to shoot me an email, connect with me on LinkedIn. And I’d love to hear how you take this information, adapt it within your organization. And just always excited to hear what people are doing in the senior living space. So thank you so much for your time today! Thanks again, to Linked Senior and to Megan and Jesse for the opportunity to be on the series today.
Anthony, thank you. You’ve given us so many great tips and the comments really are flowing in here. So I have a comment from Diana. She says, this is all such good information. We have difficulty hiring people or they’re leaving for much higher pay the company just doesn’t get it. So in regards to that, I’m wondering Anthony, you know, if people could walk away from the webinar today with a concrete strategy for how they can get started with building trust, do you have some tips you could share for today or this week, how they can get started with that?
Yeah, absolutely. And I, you know, every organization is so different in how they, you know, evaluate, pay and compensation and all of that. So, you know, this will be, I don’t want to be too generalized, but what I would say here is, you know, take the opportunity to get feedback from your team. If everyone is leaving for more pay, you know, I always like to ask the question of, okay, well, where are they going? Are we comparing apples to apples here? And then if the answer really is, well, we need to increase our wages. Then the business question to that is how do we make up that expense? And so, you know, one of the things that I think you can really do here for if you create a team of people that are, that have a lot of trust in each other, you know, and you can accomplish things that are really great, then maybe it’s something where, you know, we can generate a different, maybe we identify a different revenue source. And so it’s like, okay, we can open up a bistro or maybe we open up a bar in our community, whatever makes you competitive in your market. So I know a lot of times people will say, okay, we have to raise wages and you should always pay competitive wage. But the business side to that is how do we then offset the cost of that? And that’s different for every team, but a high trust team is typically always more profitable than a team that’s has pretty low trust.
That is great. Thank you. We do have, from Martin says, did you always come from a position of so much trust and positivity or did you need to learn how to do it?
Yeah, I, I had to learn you know, I started in senior living as a director of sales. And so it was always, you know, you always have that assumption that you are going to be able to help people and to work through those issues with folks. And so it definitely, as I transitioned from an individual department head to an executive director I’ve made hires before that I thought, oh my gosh, I’ve missed red flags or things like that. So I don’t regret ever having that trust, but it definitely takes a lot of practice to do. And one of the things that I will say is that, you know, look at the diversity of the people around you. So I naturally, am a cynic. So if I hang out with a bunch of cynical people, then that’s probably not gonna help me. So my best friend is an eternal optimist. And I love her to death, but so it’s great to surround yourself with people with different points of views. And I think that that really helps.
Thanks, Anthony. And from Michelle here, we also have a question. Michelle shares, we are a nonprofit and money is limited. Our LNAs are leaving and going to an agency that pays double what they make here. What can we do to keep the LNAs working here?
I think that’s a great question for you to ask your employees. So, you know, maybe take some of those you know, that’s one thing that I think too from a recruiting and retention standpoint is something that I’ve done may be successful in my market, but, you know, if you’re in a totally different geographic area or market, you know, ask your employees, especially the ones that are staying, you know, what is it about this organization that you, you know, that you stay? And I think it’s okay to acknowledge that the job market is competitive. People see what prices are, you know, what wages are on Indeed. And you can say, I know you can go to X place and make, you know, $5-10 more an hour. What value do you find here? And you may, you know, a lot of times people will tell you that it’s their connection with the residents or one thing that I have found to be a, a really great determining factor is distance.
If my community is three minutes away from my job, I’d much rather stick with the lower distance time. And so, but it’s great to yeah. Ask your folks, you know, what is it about that that makes them stay because then you also know what you need to continue to reinforce to retain those individuals. And then you can tailor your recruiting to also focus in on that as well. But, but I would also say too, we’ve looked at driving distance as a huge factor. That’s a pretty consistent item I see in all of the markets that we operate in. And so just measure out, you know, if you’ve got somebody driving 60 miles each way to get to work, they may be at more of a risk of leaving than someone else.
That’s a really good point. Anthony, do you think you could share any other examples from your own community about how building trust has been successful? Anything that’s been really inspiring or that you could share with the group?
Yeah, absolutely. I’ll share a little bit about the last community that I was executive director for because we went through hurricane Harvey together in Houston. And I was fairly new as the executive director. I had been with the company for a couple of years, but I think I maybe had been there for five or six months. And so the good thing was of course with a hurricane, we knew it was coming. And so what I did with the team is, you know, I pulled them all together and I showed them, you know, here’s what our emergency response plan is and kind of what everyone’s role. So I kind of clarified expectations. We had specific tasks that people had to do. But I also acknowledged to them that this information will change pretty constantly. You know, that hurricane may take a different path.
It may intensify. We may not be able to get all the, all of the supplies that we need. And so I created, or at least I hope that I did you know, created this this ability to be comfortable with change because I had people on my team who were very concerned about, you know, they wanted to know, when is it gonna hit? When are we gonna be, you know, when are we gonna have to power back on? And so it took a lot of communication, not just with the employees and residents, but also with the family members. And so if you take the opportunity beforehand to say, here’s how I’m gonna share information with you. So I told families, I will only communicate with you by email during the first part of the storm. Once the storm is over, we’ll start doing phone calls and things like that.
So people knew what the expectations were. And so if you plan ahead and communicate that, then people have more confidence in you as a leader to know, okay, gosh, Anthony knows what he is doing. And if he doesn’t know what he is doing, he’s got resources and tools to do that. And so I hope that that explanation helps. And then if you, as a leader, are in a situation where you have no context or, you know, you’re not quite sure what to do in that. I would imagine there’s somebody on your corporate team who could do that, or you could also reach out to your state associations, you know, if you’re part of leading age or to get some guidance on how to handle, you know, whether it’s COVID outbreaks or natural disasters. If you’re a single site, you may not have kind of a robust corporate team like I had to, to lean on for help.
That’s an incredible example. Thank you for sharing that. And I think it’s also a really good segue Anthony, into talking about this tip sheet that we worked on together. So for everyone who wants to learn more about how they can build trust that you were talking about today Jesse’s gonna go ahead and put in the chat box, a link to this tip sheets, 10 tips for success. And in addition to reaching out to Anthony, if you have other questions, be sure to download this resource as a way to keep the conversation going with your teams and take away what you’ve learned today, back into your communities. And I know Anthony already shared his contact information. I am gonna put it back up here again as well. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions and Anthony, thank you again for sharing your time with us today.
We just have a few other announcements before we wrap up. I wanna remind everyone that we are having our Decoding Dementia Gathering. So this is a free three hour gathering with free continuing education credits. It’s going to be specifically about how to improve dementia care in your communities. So we hope that you can join us for that. Jesse is gonna go ahead and drop the link for that event that has the full agenda in the chat box. Now, in addition, we hope you’ll join us for our next activity, strong webinar. This is happening on August 23rd. We’re going to have the preference based living team with us. So be sure to shine, sign up for that event, using the link in the chat box now, and then finally last but not least, we are partnering with the Ohio person-centered care coalition to host a free August webinar about connecting resident rights with person-centered care. So Jesse is gonna go ahead and put that link in the chat box as well. That’s happening on Thursday, August 25th at 1:00 PM Eastern time, you can also earn free continuing education credit for that. And Anthony, I just wanna thank you again for your time today. I know everyone’s walking away with a lot of strategies and tips that they can use in their communities. And Jesse, if you could go ahead and put the continuing education survey link in the chat box, we’ll leave that there for people to fill out. Anthony. Thank you again.
Thanks Megan. Thanks everyone.
Thanks for listening to the Activity Strong Executive Edition series powered by Linked Senior, find more resources and webinar information at btgvoice.com.