Chartwell Employee Initiatives: A Message from Vlad
I love my job! Over the last two months I have toured over 30 of our residences from Quebec to Alberta, including some overnight stays. These visits gave me new insights into the experiences of our residents at Chartwell and reinforced my confidence in our team members’ dedication to providing exceptional services and quality care to their residents and in their commitment to our vision of Making People’s Lives Better. Our residents themselves told me so time and time again. Even when they were bringing up concerns with me, without exception they made sure to mention how much they appreciated the work our teams were doing for them.
I know that despite our teams’ tremendous efforts over the last two years, we have not always delivered exceptional resident experiences. We have all seen how labour shortages, exacerbated by the long-lasting pandemic, have been affecting many sectors of the Canadian economy, particularly health care and senior living. Chartwell is not immune to these challenges. We have experienced higher staff turnover and recruitment challenges, which have resulted in the need to rely more heavily on agency workers. This has impacted the consistency of our service delivery to our residents, and our lower 2022 Resident Satisfaction Survey scores reflected this.
We know we must do better, no matter the environment, and we will.
Serving seniors is fulfilling and rewarding work which attracts caring and kind people. Our values of R.E.S.P.E.C.T (Respect, Empathy, Service Excellence, Performance, Commitment and Trust), strong leadership in our residences, inclusivity and opportunities for learning and development is what differentiates Chartwell as an employer. As valuable as this is, it is not enough to solve all our challenges. Here are some new key initiatives we are implementing to attract and retain highly engaged employees.
We increased our investment in the promotion of Chartwell as an employer of choice, added corporate recruiters to support our homes in their front-line recruitment efforts, established new partnerships with schools, colleges, and new immigrant organizations to attract new workers to our sector. We are piloting a program of providing student accommodation in some of our residences as they live, study and work in our homes. We also updated our job postings and descriptions to better convey our culture and employer brand and introduced a new employee referral program, which has already proven to be successful.
We offer competitive compensation packages to our employees and continuously assess market conditions to ensure we remain competitive in this evolving environment. We continue to work collaboratively with our union partners to make the necessary changes to our compensation programs, as required. We have also been standardizing staffing schedules in our homes to increase, where possible, the number of full-time positions. These jobs are more attractive for candidates and provide a better continuity of services for our residents.
Learning & Development and Onboarding
We have significantly improved our staff training programs. The learning path is now well defined, materials include many interactive and engaging videos, making it easier to complete and retain important information. Our proprietary Customer Experience (CX) program is key to training new and existing staff in delivering exceptional personalized experiences to our residents. The new online learning module of our CX program will be launched in early 2023.
We are also updating our onboarding program to make it even more employee friendly. The updated process will be more personalized and engaging to ensure our new team members receive the required training in an efficient manner and are ready to begin their contribution to our vision of Making People’s Lives Better.
We carefully select our staffing agency partners and are implementing standardized contracts with them. This will result in better continuity of staff and more appropriate training. It will also improve our management of costs.
These are just some of the many initiatives we are working on to improve our chances in this difficult environment to recruit and retain team members who are driven to deliver exceptional and personalized experiences to our residents.
Our culture is strong, our purpose of Making People’s Lives Better is inspiring, and our people are committed to it. This gives me confidence that in working together, we will achieve our aspirational resident satisfaction, employee engagement and occupancy targets.