Let Seniors Out of the Box!

Let Seniors Out of the Box!

 

A recent article in Senior Housing News shows how one community takes on the challenge of seniors and technology.  This community looked outside its own walls to form a partnership that brought great value to the community’s program offerings but more importantly, value to their residents.

Don’t Limit Seniors

Senior man staring into cardboard box

So many times we make assumptions which limit both us (as individuals and companies) as well as those we make those assumptions about.  We make assumptions based on our own opinions as well as past knowledge.  We must not only keep an open mind but embrace that times and people change and evolve.  In our minds, we might limit seniors’ interest and ability when it comes to technology.  We think it will be too difficult, we think they are not interested and even THEY may have these same thoughts.

 

Technology is Increasingly User Friendly

Do your residents shy away from technology? Some may not be interested because they think it is too complicated or difficult even if they wanted to learn.  Equipment is becoming increasingly user friendly and apps make that equipment even easier…well, sometimes.  With so many options, it is not hard to find systems even the most timid can learn and use.

Reducing Isolation

We often criticize technology for isolating our younger generations by limiting their interaction to technological means vs. human interaction.  While that is most definitely a valid argument, some populations are isolated due to circumstances such as residents in senior housing with family in distant locations.  Technology can open doors to communication and interaction.  Emails, video-chatting, Facebook, and other applications can give those residents access to family and friends they may not have right now.  If these residents have family far away, what a gift to be able to see them and be able to stay up to date via video and pictures.

Comfort Zones

While technology may be out of the comfort zone of both the senior student to learn it and the staff who is designated to teach it, rewards can be significant. Don’t hesitate to look outside your community for help with instituting such programs. As this article illustrates, finding partners outside your community can benefit your community as well as your residents.  It does not have to be a partner as large as Google, local businesses and organization offer a wealth of knowledge and resources.

It is a common adage that life happens outside our comfort zone and our senior residents are no different.  When we are pushed to learn and grow, we find confidence, opportunities and great satisfaction in overcoming perceived obstacles.  Find ways to help develop this confidence and satisfaction in your residents.  Give your residents challenges every now and then.  Lifetime learning is exactly what is says, a lifetime of learning no matter your age.  We should adopt this concept not only for ourselves but for our residents as well.

An important reminder for us and them; we are never too old to learn something new.

Explanations Go a Long Way on Resumes

Explanations Go a Long Way on Resumes

 

Leaving off pertinent information is why so many Resume, pertinent information, Senoir Living Consultant, Senior Living Consultingresumes go in the trash.

It’s difficult to balance out the amount of information presented in a resume. With the shorter attention spans today, it’s important to get to the point. You don’t want to bog the reader down with reams of useless information — but you also need to make sure you include vital information that demonstrates why you are worthy of further consideration. You can’t just cut your resume down for the sake of word count.

Make Sure Your Resume Includes Pertinent Information

While there are many areas this tip could apply to, let’s focus on past employment. As a hiring manager, this is the first area of a candidate’s resume that I look at. I want to see if the candidate has any related work experience, and I want to see how stable their employment history is.

Most hiring managers are looking for long-term employees, and stability is important. Despite that, I receive more resumes today than ever before with tenures of five months here, four months there, and seven months here, with no explanation. Short job tenures are not bad in and of themselves, but without an explanation of some kind, the worst is assumed. I will usually not waste my time doing a simple phone screen — and definitely not an in-person interview — with a candidate that has a history of unexplained short-tenured positions.

Case in Point: A good friend of mine found herself unemployed at the end of 2013 due to staff cuts resulting from her company being bought out. Her unemployment dragged on for about six months, with very little activity.

After looking at her resume, I figured out why. She had a stable work history with three companies up until 2009, averaging eight years of tenure at each business. Then, after 2009, she had six jobs in a couple different industries. It was no wonder she was not getting any calls: It looked as if something had happened to make her very unstable in this period.

My friend had been employed in the building material industry for her entire career. Beginning in mid-2006, the housing slow down led to tough times in that industry. My friend had been laid off or downsized in company buyouts or mergers four times during this period. She was also a single mother and had to take a few part-time jobs to pay her mortgage and put food on the table.

Resume, pertinent information, Senior Living consulting, senior living consultantJust looking at her resume, you could not tell any of this. It looked as if something had gone haywire and hiring managers were reluctant to even call her. Don’t expect that a hiring manager is going to take the time to try and connect the dots on your resume. That’s not their job. It’s up to the candidate to try and fill in any holes in their own resume.

The Proof Is in the Details

My friend went back and filled in all the gaps on her resume by including the reasons why she separated from each company. Within in the first few days of using this updated resume, she began getting interviews and job offers worthy of her experience and talent. Within a month, she was hired by a leading specialty building material supplier.

My friend didn’t change anything about her fragmented work history. All she did was add a little explanation. This had the tremendous benefit of helping hiring managers — especially those that lived through the difficult economic times — understand why her resume looked the way it did.

Are You Explanations Satisfactory?

There are many satisfactory explanations for short job tenures — they just need to be noted for busy hiring managers to quickly and easily see them. The shaky economy of the last few years has increased the number of downsizings, closings, and mergers, all of which have resulted in many layoffs.

Similarly, some positions are, by nature, contract- and project-oriented. These roles will result in job changes every six months or so, but not because you are an unsteady or troubled employee.

Furthermore, there are also those younger adults who have been working internships to try and gain experience in various careers. In today’s new economy, there are also those part-time and stopgap positions that employees need to bridge the gap between permanent, full-time positions.

Resumes, Senior Living consulting, senior living consultantJust remember that having multiple short-tenured positions is not the kiss of death — if you take the time to provide a short explanation for your limited tenure, that is. It need be no more than a few words under the job title, such as “contract position,” “internship,” “temporary work,” “layoff,” or whatever the situation was.

Do You Take Advantage of PR or Public Relations Opportunities?

Do You Take Advantage of PR or Public Relations Opportunities?

 

Public Reations, Roy Barker, Moore Diversified Services, Senior Living Consultant, Senior Living Consulting

 

PR or Public relations should be in everyone’s marketing communications tool kit.

As a Senior Living Consultant working with many Senior Living clients over the years, this is one form of community promotion that tends to be over looked the most. So what exactly is PR? PR or public relations, the noun, as defined by Meriam-Webster.com is as follows:

the activity or job of providing information about a particular person or organization to the public so that people will regard that person or organization in a favorable way

OR

the relationship between an organization and the public

What is PR?
PR is different from advertising in the fact that in advertising you pay for the privilege of controlling the timing, placement, and message associated with it. While with PR, since it is generally free, the control lies in the hands of the writer and media outlet providing you the coverage. I once heard that “Advertising is what you pay for, PR is what you pray for.”

There are many forms of PR. Most of the time the words PR conjure up images of events at opposite ends of the spectrum. Either a publicity stunt where someone is doing something that is outrageous and crazy to call attention to themselves, their company or their mission, or a company spokesperson trying to put a positive spin on a potentially bad situation that has arisen for the company.

Examples
An example of an outrageous PR stunt would be similar to the flash mob dancing troupe a few years ago that held an impromptu performance at Grand Central Station, it ended up netting them 28 million YouTube hits and a lot of media exposure. An example of positive spin on a bad situation would be the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. There have been subsequent news conferences and advertising campaigns trying to convince the public, that the gulf coast is now better than ever.

The kind of PR I am talking about is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. The press release, media tours, special events, sponsorships, public service/public interest stories are all form of PR that your company/community can use to build brand awareness. These types of PR also show that your brand is part of the greater community and can generate loyalty in a larger audience.

Put PR To Work For You
One of the great things about PR is that it is happening all around us and while we get the intended message, we don’t realize the company or brand is promoting itself to us. Instead of thumping our chest telling everyone how great our company and/or products are through advertising, PR is a subtle way of getting a company name out by providing useful information and activities to others.

PR is also a way to have others validate you as an expert. The general thinking of readers or viewers is that they surely wouldn’t be quoting you or doing a piece on you or your company/community unless you were an authority, the best and most knowledgeable in your field.

November Public Relations Webinar
As part of MDS’ “Plug-In and Prosper” Webinar Series, the November 18, 2015 webinar will be “Generating Public Relations for Your Community”. The webinar will focus on the meaning and use of public relations and why it’s important. I will discuss PR as part of a well-rounded marketing communication plan, the benefits of PR, and how it can enhance your relationship between your company and the public.

So mark your calendar and join me on Wednesday, November 18 at 1:00 pm (CDT) for this important webinar.

I look forward to having you join me for this complimentary monthly webinar! You can also check out our past webinars on the Moore Diversified Services YouTube channel!

Registration Link

Roy Barker is Director of Special Projects at Moore Diversified Services, a Fort-Worth, Texas-based organization specializing in Senior Living operations analysis, marketing development, and investment advisory services. Roy is an authority in the field of employee turnover analysis and retention strategies.

Do You Market For Human Talent?      Part 2 of 2

Do You Market For Human Talent? Part 2 of 2

 

 

How Often Are You Recruiting For New Top Human Talent?

It is easy to form a perception that talent should only be recruited when there is a position vacant in your company, but unfortunately, that kind of thinking is not very helpful to your company. You should always be recruiting and finding top talent so that they are ready when positions open up for any reason.

Don’t Rely on the Internet Alone

The advent of the internet and job boards was thought to be the end- all- be- all for recruiting. But, it has proven to be a double edge sword when it is the only method used. The great thing about internet job postins is that you can cast a wide net by broadcasting your current job openings to many individuals that may be looking for employment in your town, or even across the country. The downside is that you can be flooded by many applicants that are not anywhere close to being qualified for an opening in a specific position.

Now, relate this to your community’s marketing department for new residents. Can your community just post an advertisement saying “We have rooms available”, and the right person shows up and there you go, you have a new resident? Not quite, or there would be no need to have a sales and marketing team. It should be considered the same with community staffing. It takes a lot of work and effort to find the right fit for the community, both for residents and staff.

Always Be Recruiting

It’s important to augment the posting of job openings through portals such as Indeed, Career Builder, or others in this category. Talent Mangers must actively recruit to find the best employees available for the many different job functions within the community/company. This includes giving talks throughout the community at different functions and gatherings of people like civic clubs, high schools, junior colleges, colleges, and other professional organizations throughout your operating region. It is very important to educate as many people as possible about the existence of your community/company, that it is a great place to work with many opportunities besides those of just direct caregivers. Target programs and organizations can include, but are not limited to, those affiliated with business, nursing, culinary, and hospitality.

LinkedIn is also a great place to gather potential contacts for professional level jobs. LinkedIn should be used to identify individuals with skills that will be beneficial to your team now and in the future. Don’t limit yourself to just those that may currently hold positions in the Senior Living industry, but look in other industries for transferable skills as well. Establish casual relationships in the beginning and watch how they interact with others in their peer groups. Do they post timely and relevant material? Do they have original thoughts? How many connections do they have (a peek at how good they might be at networking and recruiting prospective residents)? Do they seek out and participate in continued education opportunities? LinkedIn will also let you glance into the individual’s employment past. With this feature, it is easy for an individual to write anything they want with little to no cross-checking by others, so proceed with caution. Trust, but verify. Once individuals are identified as potential employees who could be an asset to your team, then it is prudent to reach out and make a connection with them.

Start an HR newsletter to keep current employees and those interested in working for your company informed of current happenings within your company/community. Not necessarily resident-focused, but more about job openings, training, and highlighting employee accomplishments. The added communication will go a long way in both employee retention and recruiting efforts. While this form of communication usually will not lead to instant gratification in the recruiting of other professional individuals, it will build a pattern of contact that over time will lead to candidates keeping up with your company. If they like what you have to say, it will leave them with the sense of wanting more information about company activities and available openings.

So get out from behind the desk and computer screen, and endeavor into the community, market yourself, your industry, and your company for great talent. A great side effect is that while you are getting the word out of your community/company, simultaneously you just might accidentally uncover a prospective resident or family member looking for a loved one.

Make your company an employer of choice, not an employer of last resort!

 

Roy Barker is Director of Special Projects at Moore Diversified Services, a Fort-Worth, Texas-based organization specializing in Senior Living operations analysis, marketing development, and investment advisory services. Roy is an authority in the field of employee turnover analysis and retention strategies.

 

Is “Cost Creep” affecting your income statement?

Is “Cost Creep” affecting your income statement?

 

Cost Creep, senior living consulting, senior living consultant

What is “Cost Creep”? How is it measured?  How does it affect your community, division, or company? What can you do to stay out in front of it?  These are some questions I hope to answer for you.

Cost creep, in its basic form, is providing more care to residents than you are being compensated for. This can come about for many reasons, such as:

  • an incorrect loaded hourly rate on which to base monthly service fees (MSF) and care tiers upon;
  • not having residents assigned to correct care tiers;
  • not catching resident’s decline soon enough; and
  • caregivers not understanding the dynamic of what they provide the resident and the company through their service.
Has Your Senior Living Community Adapted to the New Information Paradigm?

Has Your Senior Living Community Adapted to the New Information Paradigm?

 

New Information Paridigm, senior living consulting, senior living consultatnts, Moore Diversifed Serivces

Welcome To The New Information Paradigm!

There has been a new day dawning concerning the flow of information in the Senior Living industry the last few years. Some in marketing/sales have gotten this and some haven’t quite embraced the movement yet. The larger movement has been from transaction-based selling to relationship building. Transaction-based selling is where the sales person shows the prospect the living unit and dining area and then does a 30-minute information dump about their community.

Relationship building involves a lot more listening than talking, asking the right questions, really being interested in the prospect’s current situation, their history, wants and needs, and opinions, and really CARING about them, not just lip service.  In this piece I’m not going into the entire relationship building concept, but more how the information is exchanged today. The New Information Paradigm!

Continue reading “Has Your Senior Living Community Adapted to the New Information Paradigm?”

Is Your Business Prepared for the $15-An-Hour Entry Level Worker?

Is Your Business Prepared for the $15-An-Hour Entry Level Worker?

 

increase in entry level wages, senior living consulting, senior living constultant, Moore Diversified Services

Is your company or community ready for the financial impact of rising entry level worker pay? While $15 an hour is the new “rally cry” for the minimum wage, whether it will happen nationwide can be debated. But it still begs the question, “Can your current financial structure handle entry level wages increasing to $14, $12, even $10 per hour?” Reality is there are a lot of communities that struggle even with current entry level wages somewhere between $8 to $10 an hour. A recent Wall Street Journal article indicated U.S. wages were on pace to increase at rates not seen since 2008. So while we don’t know where entry level wages will land ultimately, it is certain that wages will continue to increase, and more than likely increase at a faster pace than over the last few years.

Continue reading “Is Your Business Prepared for the $15-An-Hour Entry Level Worker?”

We Decide Our Own Path

We Decide Our Own Path

Businessman Forward Path
Choose Your Own Path

As we get further into 2015, most of us are still planning for both business and personal success this year. Some of us may be realizing our plans are not working out as we had originally intended. This realization doesn’t mean we that we have to throw up our hands and pack it in for 2015. Rather we, at any time, can effect and create the change we desire in our lives! I listened to an inspiring interview the other day and I wanted to share the concept with you.

Neil Patrick Harris has been making the rounds plugging his book entitled “Choose Your Own Autobiography”.  While I have not read this book yet, the title really struck me.  It’s very simplistic and yet very powerful at the same time.  Choose your own autobiography should be the model we live by every day!  It’s not always simple, and there are a lot of outside influences in our personal and professional lives that affect our decisions and life direction.  However, if we keep the idea that we are in control of our own fate in the forefront of our thoughts, it will have a huge impact on our thinking and decision making throughout the day.  Living with this in mind will then impact the course of our lives. We don’t have to be stuck in the spot we are in today forever. We have control of our destiny and can make our future whatever we choose. We can take a poor situation and make it work for us.

Continue reading “We Decide Our Own Path”

10 Must-Dos for Community Call Takers

10 Must-Dos for Community Call Takers

 

CallCenter[1]Over the last few years, the Senior Living space has done an outstanding job attracting top educated talent to the industry. We have become very good at developing and working with complex models and plans in all aspects of the business. But, along the way, some of the very important little things have fallen through the cracks. These little details are specific to sales and marketing and are essential components and relating to prospects and closing a sale.

Continue reading “10 Must-Dos for Community Call Takers”

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What is Your Digital Media Strategy for 2015?

 

digital media strategy, senior housing consulting, senior housing consultant, Moore Diversified Services Are you about to move right past this post because you don’t believe you need one? THINK AGAIN!

Digital Media is now an integral part of any comprehensive marketing strategy/plan. While some products and services may use digital media more than others, every business needs to utilize digital media in some form to build and enhance client and customer relationships.

Product Marketing vs. Relationship Marketing

There was a time when you strictly marketed your product or service to your target audience. While that is still a part of an effective marketing plan, relationship marketing is extremely effective in our industry. As a provider in the senior living and housing industry you actually have two target audiences. The first target audience is the senior themselves. The second is the family members of the senior who may be the primary decision maker or at minimum highly influential in the decision making process. You must be building relationships with current and potential customers as well as their family members.

In the case of a senior living and housing community, if an individual is not a resident or has a family member as a resident, you still want to be the first community they think of if the need arises or if someone asks for a recommendation. This means getting your community name out there and engaging with the public, resident or not. This process does not have to be complicated. Start with a simple plan and build from there.

 

Continue reading “What is Your Digital Media Strategy for 2015?”