What can you do to make sure no team member goes without hearing appreciation and encouragement for their hard work?

By Lisa Fordyce

I recently read Steve Moran’s piece on his experience connecting with a line staff member as opposed to an industry executive and the lack of appreciation she received from her director. After reading this story, I couldn’t help but share an experience of my own that’s stuck with me over the past few weeks.

The Hospitable Phone Call

Recently our CEO at Senior Lifestyle, Jon DeLuca, and I reached out to one of our communities to follow up with an Executive Director after a conversation with one of our investors. This turned out to be a community I haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting. We needed to connect with the ED sooner rather than later so we sat down and dialed in.

The ED was out that day, so we began talking to the concierge about the recent renovations happening in her community and some of the residents’ responses. Our conversation with the concierge has stuck with me for a few reasons:

  • She was friendly.

  • She was not intimidated by the prospect of having a conversation with the CEO and COO.

  • She answered with clear knowledge.

  • She responded to our comments with polite, encouraging feedback.

Having started in this industry as a caregiver, I’m amazed that it’s often all too easy even for me to forget what it’s like to work in a line staff position. Her hospitality reminded me of the value of communicating with and appreciating our line employees on a regular basis. After all, they truly are the ones who represent the values we hold dear to our residents and family members.

Our Response and Recognition

This year, we’ve undertaken a couple of initiatives at Senior Lifestyle to work toward making this front line “Appreciation” a public reality:

  1. We’re spending 100 days featuring all of our nominees for the prestigious Heart of Caring award, the highest honor at Senior Lifestyle, on our company blog.

  2. We use an online recognition platform called CHEERS to allow any employee across the country to hop on and send a recognition for outstanding work (think Facebook for appreciation).

  3. We’ve recently launched a brand new general orientation program emphasizing the importance of hospitality as part of our core values and our culture.

Besides all these wonderful programs, what it came down to for me is what can I do as one of the leaders in this organization to make sure, to the best of my abilities, no team member at Senior Lifestyle goes without hearing appreciation and encouragement for their hard work. What a great reminder to keep the front line team at the front of my mind.