A Workplace Is Only Great

If It’s Great for All By Sara Wildberger

collected by Great Place to Work® points to some ideas. The San Francisco–based U.S. head-


quarters of this global people analytics and consulting fi rm that helps companies produce better business results by focusing on workplace culture recently added surveys and certifi cations of businesses in aging-re- lated industries to its studies and services. Director of research and content Ed

Frauenheim shares some of that knowl- edge here.

The big three While the organization uses six factors to determine Great Place certifi cation, Frauen- heim points to three as being especially relevant for senior living leaders: • Build trust: The fi rst key to trust is re- spect for employees. Another vital factor is credibility, with regard to leaders: Peo- ple need to feel leaders are competent and will live up to their word. Fairness is the other essential; people need to feel that no matter who they are or what lev- el, they’ll be treated fairly.

• Build a for-all culture: The culture needs to be consistently great, for everybody. The way to know it’s consistently great for all is to get the data: Survey employees and locate

the inconsistencies. Leadership

members also need to reach out to every- one, at all levels, and connect to mission and purpose.

• Build an innovation-by-all culture: This quality just joined the roster in the past year, after studies of hundreds of compa- nies and more than 500,000 employees. “What we found is that it’s really important


ow do you increase revenue by fi ve times and get turnover down into the teens? Data and best practices

to give everyone a chance to be creative and have a say over how we can get better,” Frauenheim said. “And we found some com- pelling data points to support that.” These include the fi nding that companies

with a culture that encourages innovation experienced up to 5.5 times revenue growth over those least hospitable to innovation.

What the data reveal Great Place to Work started including ag- ing-related companies because they noticed data showing a widely variable work experi- ence, compared with other industries. For instance, companies when grouped

by industry, such as fi nancial services and retail, usually show a satisfaction rate that clusters around the same point, whether that’s mostly 50 or mostly 70. But the results in the aging sector ran

the gamut, from 20 to 80. “People in that industry either have a very wonderful or a very crummy experience,” Frauenheim said. “So, this was a place where we could really make a diff erence and help them get a better experience for all. And it’s also a very fast-growing area.” The data variability along with the

growth make the current senior living crisis no surprise. So, what are some solutions to get to 80 for all? Play to strengths. “Senior living data

shows pride and purpose is higher in our industry compared with all other industries. You almost have the built-in service compo- nent. There’s a lot of research that shows people are drawn to jobs that give back.” He cites some communities’ “Mission

Moments,” where staff and managers gather to remember purpose and hear praise from families, for instance, as a good activity to connect to values.

Thought Leader Profi le

Ed Frauenheim Director of Research and Content Great Place to Work®

Get data, learn from other industries Getting certifi ed by Great Place to Work is, of course, the fi rst suggestion—but it is a good way to get data. “We survey your em- ployees,” Frauenheim said. “It at least gives you a benchmark score. When you get the data, you can see when things are working and not working.” Learning from other industries is vital,

too. When leaders from senior-related companies attended a recent Great Place conference, they heard from a nursing company distressed at its 14 percent turn- over rate and a fast-food company that had turnover at about half that of one of the senior care providers. Learning how they got there started sparking ideas among the senior-related industry leaders. Turnover aff ects more than workplace

satisfaction. Frauenheim spoke of his wife, who is doing a fellowship on brain health and dementia care at University of Califor- nia San Francisco. “She has pointed out to me that conti-

nuity of care is very important. Retention is not just about the workplace, but about helping this aging population have a good life. If we get retention scores higher, we get people delivering care with a real sense of purpose. We all want to have a sense that we’re treating our older generation well.”

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