Growing Pains At A Life Plan Community
Salemtowne Retirement Community, Winston-Salem, NC
Hospitality / Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)
In May 2016, we were called to create a culture of hospitality for both team members and residents. The community was undergoing a major, state-of-the-art construction project, including building Memory Care and Skilled Nursing neighborhoods from the ground up, followed with adding independent residential living villas and rebuilding Assisted Living apartments to begin construction in early 2018.
We understood that this community had a relatively new CEO and that most of the departments were siloed with poor internal communications.
Communications between departments were strained and
team members were looking for change.
During this engagement, Salemtowne required a high level of coordinated communcations and teamwork, while struggling with new leadership in many different departments. The new skilled nursing and memory care neighborhoods included a new philosophy of care and new software. Team members needed to learn all of this simultaneously while providing exceptional care and services to the residents.
To accentuate the scale of this community, Salemtowne has over 300 team members, cares for over 300 residents, and is spread over 116 acres.
For a project of this scope and size, we recommended a three-year program. The process started with defining the desired culture for the organization –– which is branded as “Salemtowne Shines” –– where we provide every team member with the exact same training from the CEO to the dishwasher. The process of culture change for an organization starts with the right leadership. The training process begins the first two days of a team member’s employment.
We explain the behavior, attitude and expectations of every team member. It takes two eight-hour days (Day 1 and Day 2) of training, and an approximately one month later, another eight-hour day (Day 21), which includes a quiz to make sure all team members know and understand the expectations. We also have daily huddles to train them about care, service, attitude, to solve problems, and to care more about each other.
At the end of the year (Day 365), everyone goes through another half-day
of training to reinforce what they’ve retained.
As part of the three-year contract, we provide additional training classes, such as Leadership Bootcamp, How to Handle Stress in an Uncertain World, Conflict Resolution and more.
Based on the Ritz-Carlton service philosophies, you always want happy team members who will support happy residents. This type of training works, but it takes consistency and time to implement culture change for every senior living community. We customize the program for every community or client, taking into account their individual heritage and long-term vision. Typically, the organization has to make the hard decisions with certain team members to help them be successful elsewhere.
The new Salemtowne Healthcare Center costs $42 million and provides 100 suites (80 private healthcare suites and 20 private memory care suites) with 127,000 square feet across four neighborhoods and eight acres.
Salemtowne is preparing to begin construction to build 55 new residential living villas, scheduled to open in late 2018. Simultaneously, 46 assisted living apartments are also being rebuilt.
We measure success by sending surveys to test the satisfaction of a community’s team members.
Over time, we strive for lower turnover, fewer call-outs, higher team member satisfaction, strong occupancy, and happier residents who are cared for by highly skilled team members.