By Susan Saldibar

What is it we still don’t get about engagement?

Years ago (way before we got hammered by COVID), when I’d read something like, “we encourage engagement” on assisted living websites, I’ll admit I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. It sounded good, but …

Then a Lot of Things Happened.

For one thing, engagement technology got really good. Companies like iN2L (a Foresight partner) knocked it out of the ballpark with their easy-to-use platform and preloaded tablets.

And then came COVID, and boom! It woke us up to just how critical engagement is. We were all craving to connect to each other and to the things we needed to keep our sanity.

And Technology Made It Possible. That Was Huge.

The visionaries at iN2L built their engagement technology platform around our need for engagement. And if you had been proactive enough to have already brought iN2L in-house, then you were well equipped when COVID hit. And it made a big difference.

In Today’s World, Engagement Technology Is Now Considered Table Stakes. 

It took a while for the C-suite to get the message. But, according to iN2L’s surveys, they’re wising up. iN2L has been tracking the use of engagement technology before COVID hit, while it was raging, and now as it is (hopefully) abating. Same questions, different responses.

What the survey revealed is the steady increase in awareness of just how important engagement technology is. Eighty-six percent of leaders with technology in place report that it is either “very” or “extremely important,” which represents a 10% increase year over year.

So, use it right and it can impact every area of your community. Here’s what I mean:

  • Staffing: Huge problem, right? iN2L data shows that engagement technology connects staff to residents more effectively. In a study conducted with Methodist Senior Services in Mississippi, 85% of staff members who were surveyed agreed that the iN2L tablets helped them learn more about residents’ personal interests, and 71% agreed the tablets made their jobs easier by being another tool in their toolkit. Picking up an iN2L tablet and conducting instant meditation sessions or activities helped reduce stress for both caregivers and residents. And they’re finding that it’s leading to higher staff retention. Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed thought engagement technology would be helpful to alleviate staff retention issues.
  • Residents: Since the iN2L tablets are so easy to use, residents started picking them up more often and checking out all the capabilities. Not only were they able to find personalized content and activities to engage them, but they were also able to use the tablets to video chat with their family and friends, allowing them to stay connected to the world around them.
  • Families: Who are your best advocates? Where do your referrals come from? When families can connect with loved ones, staff, dining, and activities all from one simple interface, they will not only do it, they’ll tell everyone they’re doing it! It brings them into the community in a way that smartphones and regular tablets can’t.
  • Management: You know you need it because you’re on record as saying so. According to the survey, 67% of leaders would love their engagement technology to help fill workforce gaps and create efficiencies that improve workplace satisfaction. And 80% of those surveyed find that tech sets their community apart!

Bottom Line: It’s Engagement, Stupid. 

Back when James Carville uttered the now-iconic words “It’s the economy, stupid,” regardless of your political stripes, you got the message: Leaders were leaning into all the wrong things, neglecting what was really important in the eyes of citizens. Maybe that’s happening today. And maybe that’s what we have to “get” about engagement technology. It’s not just about fun and games on a smartphone or a Zoom session on an iPad.

It’s all the places engagement technology touches our staff and residents and the huge and amazing ripple effect of benefits that come from using it. Ninety percent of the survey respondents reported staffing challenges. Ninety percent! Seventy-eight percent said it had noticeably worsened since the pandemic’s start.

Now you have something to help. But don’t take my word for it. To learn more, download iN2L’s survey results here.