Career Corner Q&A: Belmont Village Looks to Culture in Tight Labor Market

CMO Carlene Motto Talks Workplace Culture with Senior Housing News

Senior Housing News (SHN) caught up with Carlene Motto, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Belmont Village to talk about how the 27-community organization is overcoming human capital challenges in a record-low unemployment economy, and about their recently awarded “Great Place to Work” certification.

This interview has been edited for clarity.    

SHN: How many Belmont village employees participated in the Great Place To Work Initiative Survey? What insights were you able to extract from that survey?

Carlene: Well, over 1,500 employees, more than 42% of our population, took the survey, including our Mexico City community. They provided a Spanish version and we were really excited to be able to get their perspectives as well. Great Place To Work has allowed us to say that who we are and what we do is truly special because it comes directly from our employees. As a company, we’ve always valued integrity and trust. Two important parts of the survey tell us that, yes, we are delivering on those values in our day-to-day operations.

Also, this process has allowed us to compare philosophy with practice in a way that lets us check in on who we are and how we’re doing. I’m extremely proud that we’ve been able to create the kind of culture and environment that is positive and encouraging. For more than 20 years, we’ve operated on some of the key values outlined by Great Place To Work. This is an affirmation that we are on the right track and contributing to something better for our people. The Great Place To Work certification allows us to sustain our culture by recognizing what we’ve accomplished and identifying areas of opportunity moving forward.

SHN: Is Belmont adopting any unique strategies to attract and retain talent in this strong economy with extraordinarily low unemployment across the country?

Carlene: Yes. First, we’ve made changes to our employee referral incentive program that encourages existing employees to become more engaged in the recruitment process. Secondly, we’re developing defined career paths throughout our operations, along with a training program, targeting new college graduates in an effort to spark interest in the field and develop a diverse pipeline of talent. We’re also partnering with vocational training programs and social service agencies who provide support to the underemployed as a source applicant referrals.

Through the caregiver training programs we’ve developed in select markets, we’re able to offer candidates the ability to learn a new skill as a caregiver. They are paid through the training process and then immediately begin their new career with Belmont Village. This is ideal for applicants who may have been displaced from another industry like retail, or high school graduates looking to jump into a career in the health care field, rather than working on a more advanced degree.

SHN: Do you believe there’s a correlation between employee engagement and occupancy at a community, and do you think highly engaged employees can help turn around underperforming communities?

Carlene: I absolutely do. There are so many studies that have been published and have found that the most engaged employees, those who are fully invested in their jobs and committed to their employers, are significantly more productive and drive higher customer satisfaction. In senior living today, customer satisfaction is a key driver to overall occupancy. Happy employees translate into happy residents. Prospective families feel this when they walk into a community.

Since founding our company, our employees have lived one of our core values of putting residents first, and I think that has been part of our success at Belmont Village today. They’ve contributed to creating the family-like environment with an inclusive culture that welcomes all of our residents. I think you’ll also find Great Place To Work research shows that the winners on these lists outperform the stock market and beat industry rivals when it comes to talent retention. All of this leads to better business success.

SHN: Is Belmont utilizing any tools or technologies to aid in that talent acquisition process?

Carlene: Yes, we are. We established an in-house recruitment department in 2015 and since then the department has grown to support the needs of our communities. Some of the tools that we’ve recently implemented are a new applicant tracking system specific to our health care field and a software platform that assists our employees with scheduling. We are also exploring tools such as a predictive index to better coach, on-board and train.

Read the complete article on Senior Housing News here.