By Steve Moran

Recently Garry Ridge, the CEO of WD-40 — a company with a remarkable and enviable engagement rate of 92%, which really means nearly everyone loves coming to work every day — published an article on LinkedIn titled, “The Great Resignation or Great Escape? Create the Culture That Invites Great Talent to Run to You.” It is a worthwhile read.

Garry Ridge will be joining me as a Foresight TV guest on August 19, 2022, to talk about how senior living can be a place everyone loves going to work every day. Do not miss this episode.


The thing that really hit home to me was that when people resign or quit showing up or ghost you before their first shift, it means something. It is easy to think they have a terrible work ethic, they were parented badly, the government is providing too many benefits, or they are simply bad people. I would even acknowledge that in some cases some or all of this may be true, but mostly not.

But maybe it is something else.  

Maybe they are sending you a message that the package of what you offer employees is simply not good enough, not worth wasting their time and energy on. In other words, “it is your own damn fault” they are quitting. But this is also good news because it means you can change this.

There are companies, including senior living companies, where they do have enough people to fill all their shifts and that have low turnover.

What They Want

There are four things people are looking for:

  1. Money: They want to be paid fairly. This means, at least in senior living, that you need to be competitive with other senior living communities in your area, and it’s better if you are at the top of that scale. Money is important, particularly right now.
  2. Purpose: They want to know that they are doing something that is making a difference in the world. This should be easy, but most communities are not so great at this. I know that it is happening, but you need to be collecting and telling those stories.
  3. Better Because of Me: They want to know that if they were not there, the company and the community would be worse off. They want to know they are more than just a warm body that is doing something that anyone could do. This means they need to have a voice. They need to be able to offer suggestions, even criticism, and that voice needs to be taken seriously.
  4. A Better Life: In Garry Ridge’s article, he offers up this quote from the Dalai Lama: “Our purpose is to make people happy. If we can’t make them happy, at least don’t hurt them.” I would argue that if you want people to love coming to work, you need to be focused on making your team members happy at work and at home. I do want to note this might mean that sometimes you need to rid your organization of people who are keeping that happiness from happening.

You have complete control over the message your quitters are sending you. You can turn this around. And, if you get this right, your occupancy problems and profitability problems will be much smaller or nonexistent.