“We can’t be creative – senior living is such a highly regulated industry.”
“Our communications are so challenging. We have adult kids AND seniors.”
As Creating Results spoke to senior living conferences this year, sharing the best practices of global leaders like Southwest and Nordstrom, we heard a lot of reasons for why senior living communities didn’t have consumer-friendly information.
We pointed out that airlines are indeed highly regulated businesses. Then we offered an inspirational example from within senior living: Pennsylvania’s Landis Communities.
For the last section in our “senior spotlight series” (links below for parts 1 and 2), Larry Guengerich, Director of Communications & Church Relations for Landis, provided some insights into how Landis Communities leadership ‘allows’ team members to be creative. How do they keep it simple and display such joy within a highly regulated environment?
Intentional Consumer-Centered Culture
Guengerich sums it up:
“You can’t build a culture of trust by force of will – it grows over time. But you can damage it quickly. The leadership team has to talk openly, then you can create space to be joyful and creative. Be intentional – it is not happenstance.”
Creating Results couldn’t agree more! When working with our clients to reposition their community or to implement a marketing initiative, we’ve found building a common understanding with all community stakeholders – board members to CNAs, as well as residents and their families – ensures the greatest success.
Landis does this to make sure that EVERYONE in the organization understands the big picture of how they can each affect the lives of older adults.
The Landis “Communicate, Communicate, Communicate” Strategy
1. Members of the leadership team should hold “Conversations with the President:”
- Hold the CONVERSATIONS during every shift.
- Make it paid time and the meetings will be well received, well attended and productive dialogs. The objective is to hear ideas for improving residents and employees lives by encouraging open, productive dialogs with all employees.
2. Understand and respect your multiple audiences. For example with team members, not everyone is comfortable sharing with “the boss” in an open forum. So set up an email that goes directly to the president. Then read and respond to every email.
3. Keep communications clear and consistent:
- Compile answers into a FAQ document.
- Distribute FAQs through multiple channels to all audiences (with tweaks as needed) – newsletter, website, community boards, and more.
4. Multiple-channel communications are important during major projects as they:
- Encourage open dialog,
- Create a sense of community.
- Put people at ease.
Does your organization have a great “communicate, communicate, communicate” strategy? Use the comments section below to let us know, so we can share it!
A very grateful thank you to Larry Guengerich of Landis Communities for sharing his experiences and perspectives!
* Aligning Brand with Mission – slides from the 2012 LeadingAge Annual Meeting, with insights on the “alchemy” between culture and brand