By Gail Peacock

I know this is going to sound crazy, extravagant, and even wasteful, but I have figured out that when I treat my team members — from the front line staff to department heads — they love coming to work and they love residents more.

Here is how it looks for me:

Everyone on the team needs to feel seen, heard, and included for the team to work as one. This has become more important during Covid, which put us into this state of all work and no play. Everyone ended up spending all their time looking down and not up. I needed to remind people to look up . . . that’s when the smiles happen and the memories are noticed! After all, we are working together to make our residents and families happy! 

Some Quick and Easy Tips

I have put into place some easy, cheap, and quick gift ideas:

  1. I asked all the staff including the management team to fill out a “favorite things” sheet where I ask easy things like a favorite snack, flower, hobby, restaurant, etc.
  2. Then every week I pick 2-3 caregivers and bring them a few things from their list. It’s always a surprise, and they feel appreciated. Wouldn’t you if someone brought you a goody?
  3. We take a lot of photos of our residents and staff showing the fun we have each day. Many times, we can catch a priceless moment and it warms everyone’s heart. I then share the photos with families by mailing copies or texting them with a quick note. I also print copies for my team, frame them and add them to the décor of the community.

    Who doesn’t want to show a smiling resident and team member while on a tour??? Families love to see their loved one in a framed photo in the common area.

Make it Personal

Each morning before I get out of the car I record a video that I send to all the staff. I greet them, thank them, and then hit 2-3 things happening that day; move-ins, tours, visitors coming, etc. It makes all people feel included and “in the know” and this helps me build rapport with the team.

They need to see the playful side of my personality as a leader, not just the one that is about tasks and follow-up. Sometimes I refer to a song I heard with a good message or just a memory that came to mind. I always want to make it personal, so they see the real me on the inside!

That’s it. It makes what I do a joy for me, for the team, residents, and prospects.