When I read that Brookdale was turning loose 100 folks during the holiday season, I wanted to beat my head against a wall.

By Steve Moran

When I woke up to the Senior Housing News story that Brookdale was turning loose 100 folks during the holiday season, I wanted to beat my head against a wall. My initial reactions looked something like this:

  • It is hard to imagine a better anti-leadership recruiting strategy.

  • It looks like desperation.

  • They are fixing the wrong problem.

  • They are doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results.

It took me about 20 minutes to write a critical heat-of-the-moment article (nope, you don’t get to see it), but I have a personal policy to never publish something like that immediately because sometimes I overreact or get things wrong.

I did send it to some of my Brookdale friends to see if I was missing something. Some of my feelings remain but I have a bit of a different perspective on it now. Here is what I am seeing/thinking . . . with the disclaimer that what follows is from my fertile mind and should not be interpreted as “well, that must be from Brookdale’s lips.


  • One of my biggest criticisms of Brookdale is that they put layer upon layer of bureaucracy between top level management and executive directors. This layoff is all about reducing the number of people in that bureaucracy.  

    In my conversations with my friends at Brookdale there was a sense of frustration that on one hand I was complaining about the layers of bureaucracy then complaining again about the process of eliminating some of the bureaucracy.

    If the bureaucracy is reduced this is a good thing.

  • Layoffs are terrible for team members and their families no matter when they happen. They are also not much fun for the people who got to keep their jobs. I am pretty well convinced that, in fact, this was done in a fashion that gives folks the very best opportunity to get on with life.   

    Better to know in November, your position is going away on December 30, than being let go on, say, February 2, still recovering from Christmas spending and with no time to polish your resume.

  • Because this is a realignment and elimination of positions, many (maybe all) of those whose positions are being eliminated have the opportunity to find new positions within the company, something that has already occurred.

  • While I don’t want to minimize the pain of being laid off, in the scope of the size of the Brookdale workforce, the 100ish number (It is not quite clear to me what the exact number is) is not huge. This layoff did not trigger the Warn Act (more than 500 employees). 

  • If there were ever a time to go job hunting in the senior living industry. There is no doubt that being a regional leader or subject matter expert is probably the most difficult area but, nonetheless, it is a robust job market for candidates. When I talk to my recruiter friends, they have more requisitions than qualified candidates.

Don’t get me wrong . . . I still find myself worried that there is too much focus on cost cutting and not enough on improving occupancy, but it is possible that this is a first step in becoming more nimble, which will lead to improved occupancy.

I still think Brookdale needs me on their board.

A final thing, take my two question poll? Should I sell my 100 shares of Brookdale or do you think they are at the bottom and on the way back up?