How to Prepare Your Senior Living Community to Manage Growth and Change Sometimes organizations experience growing pains because different facets of the business are adapting and changing at different speeds. This impacts several areas in an organization, especially technology and human resources. However, for an organization to grow, every part of it must grow, as the various departments and resources are dependent on one another. For example: Core areas of your business, such as IT, customer service, and human resources should enable growth by being flexible, adaptable, and scalable. Ultimately, for senior living organizations, continued growth leads to being able to accommodate new residents seamlessly. Ensuring that you have scalable solutions in place can help speed up the entire process, and allows you to launch new communities faster. So, what does that look like? Let’s take a look. TURN UP: A SMOOTH PROCESS Consistent, scalable human resources functions across multiple properties help bring your new senior living community online or transition an existing community to new management quickly and more efficiently. These functions should feature familiar processes, supported by an experienced team and proven technology. Consistent onboarding and benefits enrollment processes on user-friendly platforms simplify the effort, allowing employees to enroll without delay. It also allows your employees to stay focused on their jobs, instead of worrying about their benefits or spending too much time with the onboarding process. Most importantly, consistent processes and platforms establish a procedure for each new community, so you’re not recreating the wheel every time. Ted Turner, Chief Operating Officer of Morton Senior Solutions, learned the importance of these consistent processes through a recent transition phase of one of their new communities. “As we grow and continue to implement new communities, it makes our decisions easier, knowing that we have this established process to help us,” said Turner. POWER UP: EVERY STEP OF THE WAY Like human resource functions, rolling out new technology to accommodate growth should be fast and efficient. This can be accomplished with a well-conceived launch plan that documents the technology requirements within each phase of the project. Being prepared will save you time and money every time you open a new community. Let’s walk through the process one phase at a time. PHASE ONE: PLANNING AND BUDGETING During this initial phase, your future technology needs should be reflected in your budgets and project management plans. This prepares you to begin mapping out your objectives and implementing your plan with relative ease. PHASE TWO: CONSTRUCTION PROCESS As completion nears, you can stay on schedule by procuring hardware, software, and network services. This includes obtaining final numbers and establishing install timelines. That way, when it comes time to open your community, your technology is in place and tested, thus reducing the possibility of delays. PHASE THREE: IMPLEMENTATION The implementation phase is what it sounds like: getting your community opened. Once you receive the Certificate of Occupancy and FF&E, your technology can go in right away. This helps close the gap between FF&E and resident move-in, so that you can launch as soon as possible. PHASE FOUR: ONGOING SUPPORT Following the opening of your community, your technology partner will need to provide ongoing support. This ongoing technology support will provide you with the services and IT professionals to help you grow and solve day-to-day challenges. By working with a single IT provider through the entire process, you’ll get your communities opened on time and residents in the door quicker than ever. SUPPORT UP: NEVER MISS A SALE Your customer support is more important than you may realize. Great support leads to satisfied residents and productive staff. Poor support can turn away staff, residents, and even prospective residents. To prepare, assemble your support team early, so that they can gain a deep understanding of your organization. This leads to better interactions with staff, residents, and prospective residents, since they’ll be able to resolve issues quicker and more efficiently. And when sales calls come in, you can ensure that a capable person is available to answer and forward the opportunity on. The customer support solutions that you implement should also be able to scale quickly to handle call volume, flexible hours, and peak seasons. A customer support team managing your inbound sales enables your staff to focus on the more complex issues. With inbound sales support, you never miss a sales opportunity. Whether it’s after hours or your staff are giving a tour of the property to another prospect, you can ensure that someone is always there to promptly field inquiries and schedule visits. Having this kind of support ready to go before launch enhances your staff’s productivity and gives you peace of mind that there’s a capable team handling your inbound sales and customer support 24/7, year round. STAFF UP: HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE According to Argentum, the senior living industry will need to hire 1.2 million employees before 2025. With an industry average turnover of over 40 percent, organizations need to think differently to avoid a staffing shortage. Utilizing a staffing agency to solve this workforce problem allows you to scale your workforce and fill positions quickly. With temporary-to-hire and direct-hire services, you can fill the kind of positions you need to provide quality service to your residents. A staffing agency can work with you to understand your culture and organization, so that you only hire employees who will be a perfect fit and will be with you for the long run. ALL TOGETHER: A SCALABLE START As you continue to open new communities and grow your senior living operation, you need solutions that will grow with you. Implementing scalable HR, technology, customer support, and staffing services keeps you prepared and ready for growth or change. Ultimately, preparation is key, and having scalable solutions in place will set you up for success now and in the future. Could your senior living organization benefit from more scalable solutions? Steve Simpson Steve Simpson is an experienced Account Executive at Aureon, where he works with senior living communities and management firms to make wise decisions around technology. He has been helping clients understand technology for the last 30 years.