By Pam McDonald

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview a friend and former colleague who’s an operations specialist with 25 years’ experience under his belt. In addition to the consulting Andrew Badoud has focused on recently, he’s also founded a new partnership to do development, acquisitions, turnaround management, sales and marketing, as well as operations assessments. Below are some significant takeaways from our interview. You can listen to the full podcast here.

An ongoing challenge is maintaining occupancy. And I certainly believe that sales and operations are partners and the executive directors especially need to be the sales leader, sales driver in their communities. That’s critical.” 

“Some things that jump out definitely are advertising and digital media, digital marketing, and needing to reinvent how we get out there. A lot of it is grassroots, just going back to basics, you know, relationships.” 

“I think the three key components in any operation [are]: 

    • your outreach and you’re meeting folks in the community and partnering
    • your events and [being a] resource for the general community 
    • and then, your internal systems; first impressions, the customer experience 

Tackle those three areas and some great things can happen.” 

Word of Mouth Is Critical

“Being a resource doesn’t need to be this big loud event . . . Folks come into the community who may not even be looking for their mom or dad or someone, but they experience the environment and they tell others about it. That word of mouth is critical.”

“It always comes down to how well the team is communicating and being attentive to the resident experience. Put the residents first. Really look at why are we here, what are we doing, and how do we communicate together to ensure that we are providing the best quality of care to our residents and to our families.”

Stand Up Meetings as Pep Rallies

“Typically, your management team and all the staff are getting together and talking about the goings on in that community. That is something so simple but so powerful where you have that engagement with your team. Having it be a pep rally . . . and then recognizing and rewarding the team for bringing things to the table, the interests of a new resident or success stories or challenges that need to be addressed . . . it’s very empowering and something that I think is critical.”

“As far as technology, it can be a very helpful tool. I think the goal should be that we are able to see trends, see how we’re doing, and provide efficient service to our residents . . . And, I’m a big believer in technology.” 

“[L]ooking at any kind of report . . . there needs to be some checks and balances. Are we hitting our targets and are there ways to provide that information to have better efficiencies and better outcomes? You need that. But then you’ve got to look for redundancies, you’ve got to look for areas where it can be streamlined. The more reporting, [the] less time on the floor with residents, with staff, and developing people, which is key.”

Getting Regional Teams and Corporate Resources Together

“. . . I really am a big proponent of getting the regional teams or corporate resources together, all disciplines together. . . on a quarterly basis, on a monthly basis depending on what’s going on, so that we have alignment . . . I strongly believe the executive director and the support team at the Home Office level are partners in many ways.” 

“I’m a big believer in creating attainable goals but stretch those goals where you can to see progress. Again, that’s the rolling up the sleeves, the working together, the creating strategic plans. That’s what’s fun to me. And, folks get excited about it, excited about seeing the results of that.”

“[L]ook at what you can do to provide resources to individuals caring for our residents. I think at the end of the day, it’s working smarter, not harder. It’s an old saying, but it’s very true . . ..”

“With care . . . you provide the services that the residents need, it’s going to work out. I mean it’s just as simple as that. You create expectations and tools to deliver on those services in a way that’s well thought out. That’s looking at the time it’s taking, looking at the resources that are needed to do it well.”

“I definitely think the employee is critical. You have good people who are caring for our seniors. It’s a challenging position, so it’s refilling their tank. It’s having the ability to recognize those employees and their contributions and how to keep them engaged.” 

The Better Your Relationships, the Better the Outcomes

“You do the right thing. You build that trust and relationship with your customer, with your families, and then you are able to have those honest conversations about what mom or dad may need, what services may need to be provided.

Obviously, issues come up. Things happen. But the better relationship you have and the more you’re involved with that customer and that family and the staff are engaged, you’re going to have better outcomes and provide great service. Then through that focus on staff, you create opportunities for them to grow and be part of it: be a mentor, be a lead, any number of ways to recognize your top performers.”