What are your “little things” that make a big impact?

By Steve Moran

Not infrequently a senior living provider will take some idea or program that worked wonders for one provider, put it into play in their own organization and it turns out to be a total flop, doing nothing to help engagement, occupancy or anything else.

Why The Flop

The flops mostly happen for a couple of reasons. First, and most important, when this happens it is because someone is looking for a  silver bullet and, while silver bullets are readily found in cartoons and movies, they rarely — if ever — work in real life.

Most of the time the reason the initial idea works is because it fit a specific situation and there was someone with great passion behind it.  

And Yet . . .

One single idea or person can profoundly impact a senior living community and maybe even a whole company. I recently experienced this phenomena when I went to visit a recently opened community in my home market area.

Almond Heights is a Milestone Senior Living community in Orangevale, California (Sacramento area). This assisted living/memory care community has been open for less than a year and is on target to be full in the next couple of months.

The Visit

Parking was easy, something that is too often not the case. I walked in without an appointment and almost immediately was introduced to Bob Harwood, their community relations director. I asked for a tour and then explained who I was. Immediately we were on our way. We got to talking about the kinds of things I like writing about and when I told him I was particularly interested in company cultures, he headed me off on a detour to their employee break room. Here is what he wanted to show me:

They have this pantry readily available to all team members as an easy option to supplement the grocery shopping or perhaps in some cases to make sure no employee or their family will ever go hungry. The pad hanging on the door is not to log who took what, but instead to make requests for new and different foods. Bob told me that if a team member came in and cleaned out the cabinets there would be no questions asked, the pantry would simply be refilled.  

It is a pretty small thing that likely costs them very little and yet it shouts out at full volume “WE CARE.” It has to help with retention and recruitment, and yet it is such a little thing.

One Person

I can’t say for sure — because I don’t have a window into the internal workings of this particular community — but I can tell you Bob represented the best of the best when it comes to presenting his community. I wasn’t even a prospect and he knew that. Yet, as I watched him talk about his community and interact with residents I found myself wishing I had some family member I could move into this place.

So what are your “little things” that make a big impact?