A unique approach to a routine problem.

By Steve Moran

This is part 3 in a 5-part series about how to create culture where every team member loves coming to work each day:

Introduction:  4 Keys to Having Employees Who Love to Come to Work Every Day

1st Key:  Why Trying to Meet Every Need Every Time is a Senseless Idea

The second key is:

Standardize and Empower

The Paradox

This is, for me, the most paradoxical of the 4 keys but it actually makes sense. Here is the big idea. Every single thing that is rote or routine should be standardized so that it can be done in the most efficient way. It is possible to figure out the most efficient way to do dishes, clean bathrooms, fold laundry, stock shelves and deliver mail.

Senior living companies need to figure these things out and they must be absolutely rigid about these standard ways of doing things . . . until someone comes up with a more efficient way of doing things at which time they should adopt the new standard with the same fierceness. (See why it is a paradox?)

The Pay Off

You may be thinking I have lost my mind; that I am off my rocker because this seems so contrary to so much of what I write about. I confess I really did struggle with this idea while reading the Good Jobs book, but slowly the light dawned.

If you can create a system where your team members are very efficient in getting done the day to day chores that absolutely need to be done, all of a sudden something magic happens. You have team members who have extra time and energy to do the fun stuff, the meaningful, important stuff, like interacting with residents and family members.

Imagine what it would be like if you could magically add one additional hour to each team member each day or maybe even just a couple of hours per week where you could say to them go out and find a resident to visit or do something with. What would that do to your life enrichment program? How would residents like living in your community? How would family members feel about recommending your community?

How would your team members react to the work they have to do if they knew the last hour of each day or the last half hour of each day were going to be spent just hanging out with the residents?

Don’t Cheat

Don’t cheat because it won’t work. If you are thinking ah ha! I am going to go do this standardization thing and use it to reduce costs and increase profits, forget it. It won’t work. Your team will figure out what you are doing and will get less efficient. They will despise you and sabotage you.

The possibilities here are endless and I would love to hear about what you are doing to be more efficient and the payoff in employee and resident engagement.