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The senior living industry has a voice. You can hear it on Bridge the Gap podcast!

#ActivitiesStrong 5

Our real-life first-hand stories about the real issues on the T.A.B.L.E. (technology, authority, balance, loyalty, and entitlement) fuel an eye-opening discussion about today’s changing workplace that will shift your mindset about those you work with. A stronger culture means less turnover and high quality of care for residents. Workforce Strategist from Magnet Culture, Cara Silletto, dives into how the resident engagement department plays a role in reducing employee turnover by connecting team members with the “why”.

  • Learn about generational cohorts and why their definitions of “professionalism” vary
  • Uncover exactly why today’s new workforce thinks and acts so differently in the workplace than previous generations
  • Learn how the resident engagement department can improve relationships and retention

The Millennial Mindset ebook.

Connect with Cara on LinkedIn.

Charles:

Welcome, everyone. Welcome, it’s May 4, 2021, and this is an Activities Strong webinar Executive Edition. And as a reminder, this is an Activities Strong webinar that we are doing in partnership with Bridge The Gap in order to elevate resident engagement, invite executives to this very important conversation. And if you are an administrator and executive director or anyone from the C-level position in your organization, we want to thank you because you showing up today shows that you and your organization place a high value, understand and respect activity and life enrichment directors, which is obviously what we are all here about today. Activities strong is a platform, an initiative led by Linked Senior in collaboration with NAP and NCAP an activity connection, to acknowledge the amazing work of activity and love from enrichment directors, but also to empower these individuals and educate them.

Charles:

So that they can turn around and provide the best experience to elders we serve. I am extremely excited about today’s presentation because it is a topic that we obviously feel strongly about, but we actually, in the past 12 months have not really discussed, which is workforce and workforce turnover. And so in partnership with Bridge The Gap, we’re very excited to bring to you today Cara Silletto, workforce strategist from Manage Culture, and the topic is going to be about Staying Power, how to break bridge generations gap to keep people longer. Staff turnover is a huge issue in our industry. And we’ll cover that and obviously have very tangible ways to address this particular issue. Before I get into the session, let me give you a little bit of background on who we are and what we do. As Megan mentioned,

Charles:

my name is Charles Del Vilmorin. I’m the CEO and co-founder of this company called Linked Senior. Because we get often the questions, we are a company based in Washington DC. Five years ago, actually six years ago now, I always get this confused, we started this initiative called old people are cool. For a number of reasons, but one we believe they’re cool. And probably as importantly, we’re not big fans of this idea of segregation based on age. And as the pandemic started last year, we also took a stand and to acknowledge you, activity and life enrichment directors, and the very important work that you’ve been providing, especially through this pandemic. So this is why we launched Activities Strong. So our company, in a nutshell, we provide a resident engagement platform for senior living. We’re fast approaching 50,000 lives that we’re touching every single day through different organizations, ranging from independent living to assisted living, memory care, and nursing homes.

Charles:

What we provide is a way for you to elevate the resident engagement experience. On one hand, we have an application that really reduces that preparation time and empowers the team, all the team, to engage any resident. And then obviously we provide data and actionable ways to elevate what the organization is trying to do in terms of resident experience. All of that is very important also as we’re the only platform to be evidence-based. Our work was actually published in a peer-review journal with very meaningful outcomes. So this is a little bit about who we are. We started this webinar series three years ago because we have, I heard from a lot of people like you, that having access to quality education was a challenge. Getting your CU sometimes was nearly impossible. And so we took a stand and we thought it would be great way for us to give back.

Charles:

And so we’ve had amazing speakers, including today’s, where the idea again, is to provide you with meaningful and tangible ways to improve what you do every day. So now to today’s topic. And I always like to kind of introduce our speakers on the topic with a quick word of introduction. And I think that the best way to present today’s speaker is actually to talk a little bit about what we do in resident engagement, right? What we do in resident engagement essentially is all about collaborating with our elders. So they find purpose. Now, when we say we right, we often all the time include our staff and our team. And I’m sure that all of you are very familiar with one of the biggest challenges, one of the biggest crises in our industry right now, which is staff turnover.

Charles:

And so this is why I’m extremely excited to introduce you to Cara Silletto, workforce strategist at Magnet Culture. You’ll read through her bio, the fact that she is a national speaker, and she’s bought into with different companies across the country with the main goal to reduce turnover. She has won numerous accolades, including Workforce Magazine who named her a game-changer and recruited our com. I also like to share the fact that Cara has almost 20 years of experience in this industry, which obviously speaks a lot about not only her experience and what she’s going to bring us today. So Cara with us, please take the stage and thank you again for being with us today.

Cara:

Fantastic. Thank you so much. And let me share my screen here so we can get started. Here we go. And we just have to move things around a bit. There we go. There we go. Okay. So, so glad to be here, talking with each of you and first things first. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for what you do every single day. I just want to send my love to you for everything that we have been through this last year and how beautifully you have come through this difficult time. And just continued to bring strength and bring love to your residents and to your team members and to stay strong during all of this. So thank you so much for that and just know that you have a lot of support coming in, even from outside the profession, that really thinks a lot of you and loves what you’re doing and appreciates that.

Cara:

So awesome. So today we’re going to focus on the workforce conversation around who is it that we are trying to attract and retain? What are some of these major and widening generational gaps that we are seeing within the workforce? And then how do we overcome that? How do we get along better? How do we lead better? And how do we bridge those gaps over time and moving forward? All right. So I want to first bring to light that we all judge. We judge all day, every day, we judge people around us. So if you would, in the chat, I’d like to ask you if you’re driving down the highway and the speed limit is 70 miles an hour, put in the chat, how fast you are driving. So tell me how fast you are driving. If the speed limit is 70. Okay. Oh my goodness.

Cara:

We’ve got all kinds of folks. So that’s interesting. Now I’m seeing a few people coming in at 70 and under, which would be following the rules, right? The posted rules. But most of you all are not under 70. I see tons of 75, lots of 80’s, some 85, 90. Whoa, 95. Okay. All right. So you get it. We all are living life at a different speed. We’re living life at a different pace and we’re driving literally down the street at a different speed. So I bring this up, especially, I love talking about this in the workshops that I do with leadership teams because inevitably it tells you a lot about a person. About how, not only how fast they drive, but why do they drive that fast? That’s what I want to do today is I want to look at our behavior and our mindset, and I want to say, why? 

Cara:

Let’s back it up a little bit. Why does somebody drive that fast? Now the speed limit is 70. I told you, but most people did not put 70 as their answer. When I was growing up, my father told me as I was practicing my driving, he said in Indiana Cara, cops will not pull you over unless you’re going more than 10 over. So my entire life, because he told me that, now is that true? I don’t know. That’s not the rule in Indiana, but that’s the way he felt about it. So my entire life, I have set my cruise control at nine over. No matter what the speed limit is, I pretty much go nine over. And I’ve even had that validated by a friend who was a cop that said in the police world, they say nine, you’re fine.

Cara:

10 you’re mine. Okay. So again, that’s not a rule. But that’s what some people have been taught. So you can imagine that if that’s what I was taught, it’s going to dictate my behavior and what I believe is appropriate or inappropriate moving forward. So anybody going more than nine over, that is too fast, they need to slow down. Right? That’s ridiculous. And anybody going slower than that needs to get out of my way. So we tend to in life, and in business, and in our communities, and on the drive home, and when we get home, we tend to judge others around us who are more, less appropriate than we are, because they’re doing something more or less than where we think they should be. All right. We kind of think about that as a spectrum. There’s people at each end of the spectrum and many of us fall somewhere in the middle of those things.

Cara:

All right. So that judgment that we have, that we bring into the world every single day is going to be absolutely based on our exposure and our upbringing. What did my father teach me when he was teaching me the driving lessons? Now we also tend in life to surround ourselves with people who look and think like we do. That’s why we click with certain people. They can finish our sentences. They think like we do. And in your personal lives, if you choose to really connect with and stick around people who look and think like you do, that’s okay, that’s very comfortable. It’s very natural. It’s the way that we’re wired. But in business, in particular, within our organizations, we must, we must be more open-minded and we really need to understand the value of diversity in all the senses of the word. Okay. Not just racial diversity, religion, even gender or generations, but beyond that. Just different ways that people were raised. Different mindsets, different perspectives that people bring into our organization.

Cara:

Because study after study, after study, shows that the more diversity of thought and diversity of mindset that we have within our companies, it is absolutely going to bring us to greater results. And we can get to higher levels of quality care if we embrace different ways of thinking. So we do not want to judge folks during that interview process that we’re looking for a very specific thing. And we have to be really careful with that word fit. We’re looking for the right fit. Because oftentimes we might dismiss somebody who doesn’t look and think like we do because of that word fit. Okay. So we just need to make sure that we’re really re-evaluating that throughout our hiring process and even within onboarding and mentoring as well. So let’s talk for a moment about the market itself. Now, if you think about the real estate market, we all understand that sometimes it’s a buyer’s market.

Cara:

Sometimes it’s a seller’s market. And that shifts back and forth based on supply and demand. How many houses are out there available and how many people are looking to move. That same philosophy is true in the employment market. So, it’s the same situation of how many jobs are open and how many people are looking for positions. Sometimes we are in an employer’s market when it’s easier to get and keep people. But today that ain’t happening. Today, we are absolutely, and even pre-pandemic, we have been for years in an employee market, an employee market, a candidates market, an applicants market, because who’s hiring? Everybody, everybody, and not just the other healthcare organizations and communities within our town, but other retail and foodservice and warehouses, and all different kinds of organizations that right now you can look around. Now, depending on where you are, of course, it’s a regional thing right now with the pandemic and the impacts of that.

Cara:

But if your state is fairly open and your employers around you are hiring, then you are back in an employee market at this point. So, if we think about the new hires coming in, it’s almost like this revolving door, right? What we see is actually, even though I’m going to share with you a lot of the backstory here about the generational dynamics. Some people say, Oh, it’s just these young folks that are the problem. They’re the ones who are the flight risk. They have no loyalty, no commitment to the organization. They’ll leave for 50 cents more an hour. Right? You’ve heard all of that. But what we have actually found is it’s not necessarily a generational thing. It is the fact that every new hire is a flight risk because they don’t have deep roots within your organization.

Cara:

They haven’t been there long enough to really have any seniority or any golden handcuffs. Golden handcuffs, an example of that would be a lot of paid time off that they’ve built up like a cushion of paid time off. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that the people who’ve been with you longer are more loyal. It could be that they don’t like change. It could be that somebody hasn’t left because they don’t feel like they can make as much money anywhere else or that they can’t transfer their own skills somewhere else and be successful. Certainly, people will stay a long time if they do feel like it’s the right culture, it’s the right mission, they have the right team, the right boss, things like that. But I just want to make sure that we don’t mistake this comment about loyalty and commitment in that the older generations have commitment and loyalty versus the younger generations, don’t have it.

Cara:

What we find today is whether you’re hiring a 25-year-old or a 45-year-old, she is the exact same flight risk. Because, they don’t know you, they don’t owe you anything. And if they had the guts to leave their last company and come to you, they have the guts and the risk tolerance to go on to another shiny opportunity. So let’s dive in here to the different generational names and titles and things like that, just because I want to make sure we’re on the same page on who we’re talking about here. Now, I will tell you that you should not argue with anyone about this because there’s no governing agency that says these other generations, what they shall be named, okay. That doesn’t exist. So it’s just about different researchers and research institutions that make a cutoff saying people born between these dates in a similar place, typically have a lot of foundational similarities in the way they see the world.

Cara:

So we’re going to walk through now kind of this evolution of our workforce overtime here. We had a lot of traditionalists, primarily men who grew up in the shadow of the great depression, my friends. And so they were very grateful to have a job, just wanted stability, security, safety, things like that. So this generation was primarily a punch clock generation. My grandfather worked at a Colgate factory and he punched in and out every day. He actually left work at four 30 to be home by five for my grandmother’s hot-cooked meal. Okay. So now the next generation that came in though, totally different, totally different mindset about the business world. And they said, wait, if I work harder, I can have more. So many of the baby boomers started to stay late.

Cara:

They started to go in on the weekends, you know, in all different professions, not specific to healthcare, of course, but just in general. My father was a baby boomer. He was the youngest of nine. Now my father never had an opportunity to have his own room as a kiddo. He never got to go on family vacations. Heck, he never got anything new because he was the hand-me-down kid. He never got his own new pair of anything growing up as the youngest of nine. So when my dad started his career, he decided to start his own business. And then he worked harder and harder and harder until he actually went all the way down that slippery slope and became a workaholic. So when he was working nights and weekends throughout my childhood, I would often hear, I’m sorry, babe. I can’t tonight. I got to work.

Cara:

So he missed a lot of that stuff in my childhood, which at first would make you think, Ooh, wow, that’s really sad Cara, that he kind of neglected all of your activities when you were young. But then I realized as an adult, you know why he was working so many hours, for me! He was working late and working weekends so that me and my sister never had to share a room. So that we could go on a family vacation every year. So what I’m telling you is that many of the baby boomers worked really, really hard and created a lot of the organizations that we work for today. They created these companies and they built their careers to provide a better life for their family. It was not necessarily just to get rich and to be wealthy, but more so they wanted to pass on a better life for their children and give them even more opportunities down the road.

Cara:

So the next group that came in, Gen X, crossed two important thresholds. First was that this group had more than half of the gen X-ers went to college right out of high school. So we had a more formally educated workforce instead of one that was trained mostly on the job. The second is that more than half of the gen X women went into the work world right out of high school or college. So that meant we saw a huge uptick in the number of women in the workforce starting about 25 years ago when they came in. Now I’m going to talk about these guys more in just a little bit, but as we go through these dates here, we’ve now got the millennials or Gen Y. And this group, that name is synonymous, you can call them Gen Y or millennials. And we, yes, we, I’m a millennial, we were born between 1981 and 1996. 

 

Cara:

So I happened to be one of the oldest millennials born in 1981. And I’ll tell you, I am very millennial. I have a lot of bruises and scars from my twenties of doing and saying and wearing all the wrong things in the workplace and really being put in my place because that’s not how we do it here. Because I didn’t realize how different I was and I had no idea how it had always been done. So, I’m really excited to be able to share some of the backstories and the inside scoop on the millennial mindset because I happen to be one. And we need to be really careful when we’re talking about millennials, that we don’t actually mean Gen Z. Which is the youngest generation in the workforce right now of generation Z is about age 25 give or take. 

Cara:

Like all the way up to age 25 and down into the teenage years. So if you’re talking about the newest hires, meaning the youngest professionals that we are bringing in, that is actually Gen Z. Versus the millennials, who are now between about 25 and 40 give or take, but remember different researchers kind of cut those age ranges off a little differently. By the way, my numbers, I get from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Pew Institute for research, that’s where we tend to get most of our data because that’s some of the most commonly accepted dates and ranges for these kinds of things. Okay. So let’s look at the demographics here. This is a big part of the story. So first thing is the baby boomers were huge. And this group is actually shrinking. That 80 million, it’s shrinking from a workforce standpoint because you’ve got at least 6,000 boomers retiring every single day.

Cara:

And a lot of people don’t realize the group right behind them, Gen X, was much smaller. So when the Gen X-ers came into the work world, most of them reported to a baby boomer. And you’ve got these baby boomers who started to say things instead of the punch clock style, they started to say things like, the first one in, and the last one to leave, that’s my hardest worker. They started to say things like you stay till the job gets done. And because I said so, things like that, that came down from the baby boomers. Many of the X-ers that I have a chance to talk to and work with, tell me that they figured out pretty early in their career. If they wanted to succeed, they were going to have to play the boomer game. All right. They were going to have to dress and walk and talk and look like the boomers wanted them to dress and walk and talk and look like. If they want it to succeed, not every gen X-er did that.

Cara:

Some of them remained free spirits and we’re really glad when the millennials showed up because they have more of a millennial mindset. Where many of the gen X-ers then came in and actually became what I lovingly call pseudo boomers. Because if you are taught a certain way to show up at work and a certain way to behave and respond to things or a certain way to kind of a certain definition of professionalism, then that’s what’s going to become deeply ingrained. If that’s what you learn in your twenties. Now, let me give you a quick side note here, professionalism and work ethic are subjective. It is your opinion whether you believe my purple hair here is professional or unprofessional, that is your opinion. And it is going to be absolutely based on the way you were raised and what you have exposure to especially during your formative years of your childhood or your first years in business.

Cara:

And who are those mentors that are telling you what professionalism and work ethic looks like? So here’s what happened since many of the Gen X-ers kind of slowed down the evolution of change in our workforce because so many of them did what the boomers told them to do. So many of them fell in line and conformed to, okay, boss, I’ll do what you want. It kind of slowed down the evolution of change within our workforce. And then bam! Here come 80 million millennials saying, I am not wearing pantyhose. It is not going to happen. Okay. Now the Gen X-ers, they tell me they didn’t want to wear pantyhose either. They didn’t want to be mandated to work a double. They did not want to do everything their bosses told them. They just didn’t have the strength in numbers to push back like the millennials have. 

Cara:

So when we’ve got this group of 80 million millennials now in the workforce, it’s no wonder that we kind of expedited some of that evolution of the workforce and what the workforce has really always wanted: more flexibility, to be heard, to have a great team and culture, and be appreciated. And those kinds of things. I mean, there’s nobody from Gen Xers and baby boomers that wouldn’t like to have that kind of environment, they just didn’t demand it. And it was harder to find. Where now you’re seeing more and more organizations with a lively culture, with really strong managers, with a lot more flexibility, and giving their people a voice. Those types of things that the millennials are looking for. So huge game-changer in having all of us 80 million coming into the work world to say, the way we’ve always done, it might not be the kind of place where, where we want to work.

Cara:

So now we’ve got Gen Z that’s up and coming here, and we’re not sure exactly of their size because we don’t have a cutoff date yet, but we’re looking definitely at a generation that will be larger than gen X, if not rivaling the millennials as well. So I think you’re going to continue to see a lot of this pushback from your workers about, not terrible things, just wanting to be heard and wanting to bring their whole 24-7 person into the organization, not just leave your personal life at the door and just come and be a worker and then go home and deal with that. That’s just not the world that we live in today because of this 24-7 access and technology and different things like that. All right. So let me reiterate here that even though I’ve given you the breakdown based on Bureau of Labor Statistics and whatnot, it’s honestly in the end, not about birth year. 

 

Cara:

The ultimate relationship that you have with folks and who they bring into the organization, it’s not really about their age and what year they were born. It’s about their mindset my friends. It’s about the way they were raised. It’s about what their parents taught them and told them and their grandparents and their neighbor’s parents, those kinds of things. And certainly, it’s about our first mentors and our older siblings, just kind of paving the way for us and telling us how to think differently. A lot of the millennial generation, of course, and gen Z now, have had exposure to all different styles and different organizations, and different cultures. And what did previous generations learn from their parents? You don’t talk about politics, money, and religion, right? And now what is all over the internet? Politics, money, and religion, all of this stuff that’s now way more exposure where people talk about to their friends and even family, how much money they make.

Cara:

People didn’t used to do that. But now we do. It’s a whole different mindset, a whole different level of exposure that your younger workers have today. So, I’m going to tell you some stories today, but I have this great little pocket-size book called The Millennial Mindset, and it’s some of my backstories of growing up as a millennial. So feel free to go to magnetvault.com. This is a great resource where I’ve got all kinds of downloadables totally free stuff for you about retention and about these generational dynamics. So make sure to go grab the ebook version of this. So you could share that with your leadership team and even your staff of caregivers and activity leaders and everybody across the organization.

Cara:

So I’m going to cover a few of the issues on the table. T A B L E, that’s what’s in the little pocket guide there. But I just have time to cover a few of these issues. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a spectrum on each one of these of kind of a traditional mindset and what I deem the millennial mindset, and there’s no right or wrong. Did you hear me? There’s no right or wrong. I’m not trying to tell anybody that they need to shift one way or the other. But I think as leaders, we must absolutely understand both sides and never think, Oh, that’s ridiculous. I can’t even imagine why they think that’s okay. Right. Instead of being critical, saying, Hmm, that’s interesting. I wonder why they think that way, because that’s not how I see it.

Cara:

Being much more open and finding the backstory of how people are coming at something with such a different mindset and different perspective. All right. So first I want to talk about technology. If you think about how you listen to music as a small child, how did you listen to your favorite song over and over and over again? Driving your parents crazy. Most baby boomers started with a record player. They came out in this, in the forties. So most baby boomers had records as small children into high school, even into their early adulthood. They were still playing on a turntable. Now, if I go to the opposite end of that spectrum remember, by the way, I’m not leaving out gen X, cause you tend to fall in the middle here, but I’m gonna show you that kind of traditional and baby boomer upbringing versus my experience as a millennial.

Cara:

Now, if we look at my childhood, I was born in the eighties. So by then, we had cassettes. I didn’t forget eight tracks. Millennials just missed them. Okay. So we had cassettes that had come out in the late seventies. Then by the time I’m eight or nine years old, I’m switching to CD. Then I’m going off to college. And we were the first group to start illegally downloading music on Napster. But I promise I deleted it all. Then for my 21st birthday, the iPod had come out and that’s what I wanted for my birthday. So you can see during those formative years of zero to 21, I was forced to change. I was forced to let go of the things I love, my care bear, cassette tape, or my Shania Twain, greatest hits CD, or whatever it was. I had to let go and move on to the next technology.

Cara:

Okay. So it’s no wonder that now we have found that your relationship with technology as a child tends to equate to your comfort level with change as an adult because the more change you experienced and had a positive experience doing those updates and upgrades as a young child, then the easier that is as an adult to then move on to the next version. Right? So if we look at the spectrum here, a traditional mindset might say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This has been working for me just fine. The way I’ve been doing it the last 10 or 15 years. So don’t you come in here, you little whippersnapper, and tell me how to run my department better. So again, very extreme, but maybe we’ve heard somebody with that type of mindset within our workforce. Now the other end of the spectrum is going to say, but there’s an app for that now.

Cara:

Why are we doing that manually? And as an organization and a leader within your organization, we really have to figure out where in the middle is the appropriate pace for change for our department, for individual roles, for our technology and software, for our organizational policies, all of those things we have to figure out where is the new pace for change that is the most appropriate and most effective for us moving forward. So again, I’m not trying to get people to necessarily go one way or the other but to understand the different sides. So now you can lead people at any part of the spectrum. You lead people better and make better, stronger decisions that are appropriate for your organization or your department. So, I want to talk definitely about loyalty for a moment, because this comes up all the time. And for many of the younger workers, even under 40, so our millennials and gen Z workers, for many of us, we don’t even know what loyalty looks like.

Cara:

All right friends. We’ve never seen it. Divorce peaked in the 1980s. And my parents split when I was 11 or 12 years old. So I saw that commitment break right in front of me at a very young age. Then the 1990s caused the internet to come into the corporate world and push for globalization. So the internet came in and it allowed and encouraged organizations to offshore and outsource more of their work, which meant mass layoffs. Mass layoffs started to be tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1995. That’s the beginning of the research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on mass layoffs. So what that meant for the children of that era was that our parents often lost their job no matter how long they had worked there, no matter how hard they worked, and how many hours they put in. My mom is a corporate accountant and she got laid off three times before I graduated high school. Three times. And she got stellar performance reviews. The situation was always that her entire department was eliminated. If you are a 15-year-old girl and your single mom comes walking through the front door with tears and the box, 

Cara:

it’s going to give you a whole different perspective on company loyalty. My mom told me don’t ever depend on a company or a spouse. She said, you’ve got to be able to land on your own two feet, Cara. So it was a very different upbringing than the way she was raised, which was to find a husband and have children and stay home. And don’t worry about going to college and you know, very different upbringing and different priorities. Now we also saw some people stick it out from that generation. Our parents’ generation, aunts and uncles, all those folks. We saw them stick it out and work at a company they didn’t like, or for a boss they didn’t like, or in a job they didn’t like. Heck some of them stayed married to people they didn’t like. But then after 10 years of coming home every day and complaining, or 15 years or 20 years for some of them, when they finally walked away from that situation, whether it was personal or professional, when they walked away from that situation where they were unhappy, you know what they turned around and told their children?

Cara:

Don’t do it. Don’t be unhappy for long. All right. Life is too short kiddos. So follow your passion. Be happy. Don’t work a jerk. You know, those types of things. All right, now the millennials translated this into our own mantra. You’ve probably heard it, of YOLO. You only live once. All right now, it’s not cool anymore. Don’t hashtag it. But the yellow mentality I still think is relevant to talk about today because it’s the reason people quit. This schedule isn’t working for me, I’m out. I am not wearing this new uniform you gave me, I’m out. This supervisor I have, this is not going to work for me. I’m out. So I will be the first to admit that that YOLO mentality has kind of swung too far. And now we’ve got a lot of new workers, and workers in general who don’t know how to weather the storm.

 

Cara:

To get through a bad day or a busy time and those kinds of things. But I really want you to take that as a mentoring opportunity to try to work with your younger or new hires to figure out what is worth sticking around for versus when is it time to jump. And really talk through that with them more. On the spectrum here, you’ve got a traditional mindset that says, if you make a commitment, you stick it out. Versus the millennial mindset, which of course is going to be more about, call me selfish, but I’m going to take care of myself. I’m absolutely going to focus on my safety in this situation. And if it’s not the right fit for me, I’m out. We have to think about the employer-employee relationship today as mutually beneficial. The moment, my friends, that we have low occupancy, we cut hours.

Cara:

So even though we promised somebody a certain amount of hours, well, sorry, occupancy’s down. I’m even seeing some organizations, we’re not a profession that does layoffs and closures very often, but I’m seeing more of that right now. So we can’t make any promises to people because if the situation changes, we may have to pull back on that relationship. And it’s the same, the other direction. If your employees, your staff, your caregivers, if they do not feel like it’s the right fit, for whatever reason, they’re going to walk away. So we can’t say, well, you’re lucky to have this job. Because A, it’s an employee’s market right now. And B, we really need to see this relationship as mutually beneficial, that we’re both winning by having this great relationship together. So, a couple strategies here that I want to dive into. First is going back to the judgment conversation of it’s about your exposure.

Cara:

It’s about who have learned from? And have you just learned from people who look and think like you do? Have you really formed strong relationships and a strong understanding of others by widening your lens? That does not come naturally. Remember, we are naturally wired to surround ourselves with people that look and think like we are. So we have to proactively be more curious and seek out different perspectives. And the backstory of where people are coming from. Then the next one here is appreciate any job well done. This is the point in my workshops. This is the point where somebody goes, Oh no, Cara, I am not going to thank somebody for showing up. That’s why they get a paycheck, right? Because they think that I’m telling them to praise mediocrity. That’s not it. So what I’m saying is every one of my senior care clients, coast to coast, every organization right now has people who don’t show up. 

Cara:

They have people who don’t show up on time. They have people who show up, but don’t do their job while they’re there. Right? So I’m not going to like make you put that in the chat or anything, but if that’s your organization too, first of all, you’re not alone. And second of all, we need to just recalibrate our expectations here and realize that because we’re in a tough situation with staffing and in an employee’s market right now, we absolutely must dig down deep, super deep. All right, you’re going to do this with me. Like dig down deep. Are you in fact, in your heart, grateful for the people who show up and do their job?

Speaker 3 (43:32):

Sure. We absolutely are. So all I’m asking, this is one of the easiest things to kind of bridge the gap here and to absolutely keep people longer if you’re seeing too much of that revolving door, we have to appreciate any job well done and recognize not just when people are late, that’s where we tend to focus our attention is where, Oh, you’re late again. Well, I got to talk to you, right. Instead, if we focus our attention to the ones hitting the mark and the ones who are here on time and just thanking them, it doesn’t cost a dime. So just saying, Hey, thanks so much for being here on time, man. Things move so much smoother when you make it in on time. So I really appreciate that. Especially saying it to somebody who isn’t usually on time, right? If you think about it, what gets recognized gets repeated.

Cara:

So if you recognize the good work and the hit the mark, it doesn’t even have to exceed expectations, but when they hit the mark right now, which is what we’re looking for, we want to recognize that and appreciate that job well done. So, all right. And then don’t forget, I’ve got another really strong strategy for you that you can immediately use. But before I wrap up on that, don’t forget to go to magnetvault.com and get all the TABLE stories, including the reason millennials are so entitled. It’s my favorite. So definitely go check that out with getting that book at magnetvault.com. Here is the number one strategy. Number one strategy for keeping people longer and bridging generational gaps. We must as leaders and team members within our organization, we must communicate our expectations because our staff and our team can not read your mind.

Cara:

They don’t know how it’s always been done. They don’t know what you were taught. They don’t know how you were raised. So we really must communicate more clearly than we’ve ever communicated before what our expectations are. Now at my very first job, I actually worked for a long-term care state association. And it was carpeted. It was about 10 staff members that work there every day. We knew each other pretty well. And about three o’clock every day, I would kick off my cute little high heels and I would walk to the copier barefoot. Now, I didn’t think that was any big deal. We didn’t have any visitors coming in. Boy, was I wrong! There were two ladies in the office that thought that was completely inappropriate and unprofessional and immature. All these words, they were judging me left and right.

Cara:

And do you think they came and told me? No. They told everybody except Cara. Okay. And so finally, one of my peers who was a few years older, she came to me and said, Cara, you’re doing such great work. And I think people would notice that and talk about that more if you kept your shoes on all day. But that had not been in the handbook. It was not covered during orientation. And I just didn’t think it was a big deal. Now, a lot of times we’re going to judge people in that situation based on what we know and what we learned and phrases like, that’s just common sense. Who doesn’t know that? Or she should know better. Right? How did her parents raise her that she doesn’t know that? Those are phrases of judgment my friends. Anytime we see here say things, that we hear those kinds of comments, 

Cara:

we need to let that be a trigger to ourselves and our leadership team. Oh, maybe we haven’t communicated our expectations as best as we could. Because remember they cannot read your mind. And so much of our workforce today has a different background and a different perspective on things. So we have to bridge that gap by communicating much more clearly, even simple things like giving a two-week notice or why punctuality matters. I’m sure that if you are on this call right now, people taught you that at a fairly young age. But think about our new workforce today, friends, many of the folks that we are trying to attract and retain and keep on our teams, they didn’t necessarily have parents and role models who got up, got dressed professionally, and went to work on time every day. They don’t even have in some cases that exposure.

Cara:

So we’re going to have to bridge that gap. We’re going to have to be the best employer and the best mentors ever to help get them to hit the mark on what we need in order to get the staffing stability, where we need it to provide the greatest quality care possible. To provide the greatest resident experience and life for our guests, our residents, that live within our communities. So I’ve got just a few minutes now to take a few questions. So I’m going to pass things back to Megan and have her tell me what good questions came in that we can wrap up with.

Charles:

Sure. Okay. Fantastic presentation. Congratulations. We are, it’s funny. Like we had a number of people ask, as you know, in this industry, we also collaborate with our elders and they range from a lot of different generations as well. Can you talk a little bit about the frictions we have obviously with team members, but also the elders that we serve?

Cara:

Absolutely great question. You know, the purple hair comment, that conversation often circles back to, well, it’s not me, the manager that has a problem with the purple hair. It’s the residents that we serve that have an issue with that, right? And they look at that generational gap. And the reality is, couple of things, one, I have some clients who have actually surveyed their residents on that particular issue about crazy hair, tattoos, those types of things. And what we find is year after year, the residents care less because many of their children and grandchildren are coming in with a sleeve of tattoos and those types of things. So I want to make sure that leaders aren’t set in their ways, or sometimes what I see is they’re set in the late 1900’s, they’re still managing and thinking about things like they did in the 1990s, and come on we’re 20 plus years beyond that expectation.

Cara:

So a lot of the same things apply as far as widen your lens, think about different perspectives. Listen to people more to understand whether it’s the elders and the residents’ perspective, or it’s the staff, and then communicate the expectations. Because I find it’s often a regional thing or even a rural versus metro where sometimes you’ll have more traditional residents that want to be called ma’am. And sir, you know, things like that, that sometimes the newer hires don’t understand that, or don’t know that, or don’t know why. So if we can also not just tell them what the expectations are, but explain to them the why, particularly if we’re dealing with a population that has dementia and other things, that’s a whole other level of the caregiving and the communication and expectations. 

Charles:

And then we had a number of questions about the millennials themselves. If you have any specific recommendation when it came to communication with them, somebody very specifically, but maybe you can broaden the question. Somebody very specifically asked if you would recommend texting and messaging in a way to communicate to them before hiring them versus emails and calls. You know, you obviously take that question and expand it or just answer that question. Yeah.

Cara:

Yeah. So in general, you know, one of our classes is a communication class and we spend a lot of time on the channels, the different communication channels and why do different people have different preferences and comfort levels, right? Different people have not only the preference but a comfort level with those different channels. So here’s a news flash for everybody. One size no longer fits all. So even to answer that question Charles, about millennials, I can tell you statistics and certainly your younger workers are going to lean more heavily toward text than they do email or even phone conversations, but you really have to get to know your people. So I encourage you when you have new team members coming in, make a get to know you sheet and have them fill that out. During an interview, you can’t ask, do you have children?

Cara:

And are you married? You know, you can’t ask that stuff, but after they’re hired, you can absolutely say, tell me about your family. Do you have animals? Where’s your favorite vacation spot? Whatever, you know, and you can ask on there, what preference is your communication channel? Those types of things. I also love to ask what’s your favorite snack and candy or soda pop, Coke, you know, that kind of thing. And they might think it’s one of those behavioral interviews. Like if you were a flavor of ice cream, which flavor would you be? It’s not that it’s just when they come in for their orientation or you want to recognize them for being on time all week, you can give them a Snickers and a Mountain Dew because you know, that’s what they really love. So the communication question is the same. We really have to think about them as individuals. I know we need to mass communicate and you’re going to have to do that on every channel possible, but for individual communication, that’s going to vary for sure.

Charles:

Great. Thank you, Cara. And obviously, a question that came up very often is where can we find more resources about you and the work that you do? So I know that you have another slide for this, and then we can switch back to my deck after that if you don’t mind.

Cara:

Yeah, sure, absolutely. So I’m on all the channels. You know, LinkedIn is the best place to follow me if you want to see articles and videos and things like that. And of course, themagnetvault.com is where you can download all kinds of resources and get ahold of our team as well. So yeah, thanks.

Charles:

Thanks Cara. You know, one of the comments, you know, I have to say something about the Care Bear cassette player, because we did have one at home, but I personally loved your comment about how much we need to appreciate our staff. I think this is obviously true regardless of the industry. And I think that one thing that is actually really special about everyone on the line and everyone working in the senior living industry, is how much they’ve actually made a choice every single day through this pandemic for showing up at work. And I’m sure you remember early in the pandemic, I mean, still now, actually there’s a high level of unknown risk, right? So it’s something that as an industry, and I think even as a society, we need to be thankful for all these professionals that have taken up on them and decided to show up at work.

Charles:

Cara, thank you so much for this amazing presentation. Everyone. I know that Cara has said the different ways to reach her. Here’s her email. So please, please, please feel free to reach out so that you can become a better team member. You can become a better leader and your organization can reduce staff turnover, which is really, we all need it. And again, please consider this amazing resource in Cara and her organization as a way to educate and help us advance what you do so then the experience for residents is advanced. As a quick reminder, I went through that very quickly at the beginning of the presentation today. This is something we’re still firming up the details, but I’m very excited to share with you, the audience. The fact that we, with Activities Strong, we’ll be launching an industry-wide nationwide, actually, senior living has got talent event.

Charles:

So I don’t have a specific date, but stay tuned. It will be at the end of the month of May in a few weeks. And we’ll provide you with more detail. This can be specific to you and specific to our elders, to your residents. And so we’re very excited about that. And as always, we have an exciting upcoming list of webinars coming up. The one on May 18th in two weeks is going to be led by an expert in the field of dementia care called David trucks. And he’s going to be leading a panel with representative dine from Juniper Communities and medicine from Merrill Gardens. On June 1st, Jerald Cosey from American Senior community. We’ll be talking about the companionship culture and we have our Activities Strong events of Virtual Summit on June 22nd. And I’m going to share the detail next slide.

Charles:

But before that, we have the team, Katie and Alex, from the petty team joining us on July 20th. We have, firmed up our schedule for our June 22nd event. I’m very excited to share that we have more than six hours of content ranging from leaders in the technology to the C suite, but also people living with dementia and people living in senior living communities, which I’m personally extremely excited about. Last but not least, we have these quarterly round tables that we’ve been leading in partnership with Rochelle Blau and Ohea. And I’m looking for the chat to paste the link here for anyone that wants to register. And with that, I wanted to thank everyone for joining today. Cara, thank you so much for an amazing presentation. I’ve learned a lot and I hope that you’ve enjoyed engaging with our audience today. Please stay in touch and everyone please consider Cara and her organization, Magnet Culture, as a way to obviously reduce turnover, but obviously improve your workplace. Cara, thank you so much. Take care, everyone.

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