As Labor Woes Continue, Senior Living Providers Must Invest in People

Investing in people panel

While many senior living owners and operators stress investing in their buildings to keep occupancy high, investing in their workers is equally as important, if not more so.

That was among the top takeaways from a panel discussion at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) fall conference in Chicago, which began in full Wednesday. The panel included leaders from Belmont Village Senior Living, Trilogy Health Services and The Springs Living.

There’s another, more abstract way employers can keep workers from walking out the door — make them feel like they’re part of one big happy family, according to Doug Lessard, COO and executive vice president for Houston-based senior housing provider and developer Belmont Village. Currently, Belmont operates 28 senior living communities in seven states and Mexico City. It recently ranked No. 15 on the Best Workplaces for Aging Services 2018 list.

“You want to make sure you have engaged and happy employees,” Lessard said. “They like being part of a family.”

To help forge those familial ties, Belmont management strives to be flexible with time off requests, and celebrates important work anniversaries with fancy dinners and awards. The company also asks its employees: what ideas do you have? How can you help us innovate? Just last year, Belmont fielded 260 such ideas from employees, on topics such as improving operations or boosting resident satisfaction.

The end goal is to make employees feel valued and instill a sense of trust throughout the organization, Lessard noted.

“A high-trust environment is one where employees feel the leadership is credible,” he said. “They can relate to [leaders]. They feel like they’re doing their job. That they’re honest. Credible. And they feel like they’re being respected.”

Read the complete story on Senior Housing News.