The Best Employees for Your Business Are Closer Than You Think

Every business struggles at some point with finding the right employees and keeping them, and it’s no different in the senior living space. If you’re looking for the best, they might be right under your nose. What can you do to develop your current team into stars?

Thoughtful, purposeful, values-driven and servant-focused leadership is the key to hanging on to quality employees.

This kind of leadership results in employee retention, even in the most arduous of jobs. Certainly, there is no magical pill for employee retention.

So, what does it take to retain quality employees? Leadership that cares.

When employees see leaders getting their hands dirty this shows humility and inspires. Also, employees value leaders who accept criticism as opportunities for improvement. Most importantly, when leaders care for employees like family, this results in retention. When you’re growing fast, your hiring process must be as efficient as possible.

Caregivers do not mind putting in the extra effort when their leaders care about them.

As an owner or medical director of a residential assisted living home, do not assume you have the wrong people working for you. This is usually not the case. The truth is, most people want to work, want to be paid, and want to be heard. Apathy sets in when these needs aren’t met.

So, what can leaders in residential assisted living homes do to retain employees? Try the following:

  1. Ask, “What can I do right now to make your time spent here more valuable?
  2. Ask, “What can I do to help you understand how much we appreciate your efforts?”
  3. Ask, “What can we do to make our residents more comfortable?”
  4. Ask, “Where do you think investment needs to be made in order to make our home more desirable for potential residents?”
  5. Ask, “What do our residents think of our home?”

Have you noticed the trend? It’s really simple – just ask. If you take the challenge to ask, then be ready to listen. That’s right, you must listen, and actively contemplate your reply to each employee. Employees who see managers asking, listening and acting will not easily resign. Here is how you could be doing a video based kyc for securing your transactions.

When leadership takes employees seriously, teamwork happens. People will readily take on new roles to make sure the ideas succeed.

Why? Because they are a part of the solution. They have ownership. Most people recognize that a team can accomplish more than one person alone.

Effective teams mean performance increases exponentially. Exponential performance increase results in resident satisfaction, which equates to limited job vacancies. It’s simple math and it’s mostly about leadership.

Lastly, be authentic and tell your employees, “Thank you.” So often words of encouragement and acknowledgement of effort can mean more than a bonus.

If money is the only incentive, employees will often find a new job paying an extra dollar an hour. Retention is not about money, it’s about cultivating loyalty with recognition and respect.

Lead like a servant and your employees will serve the residents with exceptional skill and care.


What else makes employees remain in your residential assisted living home? Development of their skills with inspiration to reach beyond their current boundaries. How can you accomplish this?

1. Mentorship Matters
Mentoring takes a significant degree of interpersonal skills. Some employees would like to have a mentor but lack the courage to ask. Therefore, offer it in your home. Recognize employees who exhibit leadership skills and have taken their development seriously. They will make great mentors for new or newly engaged employees who want to grow.

2. Project-Focused Home
Projects are exciting and have an end date. People like projects because they are special and accomplish a particular task with results. Adopt a project-focused home, especially if you are implementing ideas cultivated from among the ranks of your employees. The implementation of their own ideas will result in an engaging and exciting home. The residents will take note and desire to be a part of the project, too.

3. Lunch & Learn
The way to most people’s heart is through their belly. Most people love a good meal, and we all have to eat. Make sure the food is good and the education is beneficial. Make sure the presentation is simple, concise, and easily applied. Also, allow your employees to decide the topics needed for these sessions. Remember, they chose it, not you.

4. Act on What You Ask
If you ask, act on it. Be confident and if the request is not within your purview, acknowledge that. If the request encourages regulations, say that. Tell the truth.

5. In-House Experts
There may be experts among your rank and file. Allow them to train the team on certain things. This brings recognition, appreciation, and contribution.

6. Networking for Employees
Do not fear. Networking is more than a two-way street. By opening your facility to sponsoring caregiving or nursing networking events, your employees will collaborate with others in their industry. If you are a servant leader, you needn’t fear employees leaving, but there is yet another side to his coin. Let’s say someone does leave, you have contacts of multiple people who could fill the role. They will doubtless jump at the opportunity to work in your home as they have seen it from the inside. They know how you lead and will relish the opportunity to leave their dictatorial environment.

7. Daily Bread
Be sure to share something new or helpful each day. Give it a catchy name and make sure it is visible throughout the home. Also, make sure it comes out of the mouths of your leaders throughout the day. Speak new life, give fresh breath to your employees who labor tirelessly caring for your residents.


People need to see the vision. When they see the vision, they know how to operate.

They can see where they fit into the future and engage positively on a daily basis. They know the goal, they are a part of that goal, and quite possibly helped to develop that goal.

Also, develop employees so that they fit with the goal. Ensure they have the skills and wherewithal to function at a high level in your residential assisted living home.

People want to be a part, but if they lack the skills to do so, they will wither. Therefore, commit to be a learning organization, one where people can grow and even go.

Just know that the more people you develop, the better your business will function and the stronger the industry will become.

The one constant any leader faces is change.

Be sure to have succession planning. Should a Director of Nursing leave, move, whatever, make sure the associate director is ready to take the reins.

Should a chef decide to take on a new role, do you have someone who is able to step in and prepare the specific dietary meals your residents require?

A learning organization will by default accomplish this. Therefore, commit to being a learning organization.


Learning is as diverse as the people on the planet Earth. Therefore, make sure to offer multiple types of learning opportunities.

  • Mentoring
  • Youth Internships
  • Project-based Opportunities
  • Continuing Education
  • Certification Opportunities
  • Attendance at Conferences
  • Leadership/Life Coach Opportunities
  • Career Counseling
  • Subscriptions to Online Training
  • Lunch and Learns

These types of opportunities excite employees, increase retention, and catapult productivity. What more, for owners, they can be relatively inexpensive.

So, why not give them a shot? You want good people, treat those you have well.


Resignations from your residential assisted living home may very well have nothing to do with you. People move, find other work, have children, take on the care of adult parents, go into business, and the list goes on.

Do not take someone leaving your residential assisted living home as a reflection of you – unless it is or unless you experience a high turnover rate.

In any case, conduct an exit interview and get the truth. When people resign, they might not mind telling you the truth. Hopefully, if you’ve been a servant leader, the resignation is personal to them, not you.

One gem a resigning employee can give you is who they think should assume their role.

This is invaluable to the continuance of quality care in your residential assisted living home. So, once again, ask.


Every employee has the potential to be great. Whatever it is that stops them from doing so, don’t let it be you.

Join the Residential Assisted Living Nation Association for added support to help your business thrive.

Commit to servant leadership. Commit to developing employees. Commit to building a learning organization.

Commit to be a project-based organization.

Most importantly, do not assume you have all the answers and commit to asking. Start by asking support by clicking here.

Remember, after you ask, prepare to listen and act.

Experience the Impact of the National Association

RAL Success Starter Packet

A collection of resources to help the residential assisted living professional maximize profitability and elevate care. Get this free packet which includes instruction related to Dealing with HOAs, Memory Care, Senior Health and Wellness, RAL Marketing, Home Tours, and Dementia.

What You Do for Seniors Matters

This packet is filled with practical and actionable steps to help you do good and do well. Where should we send your copy?