Giving, receiving and creating a great place to work

Can you believe it? Christmas came early for me this year! (Maybe even my birthday, too.) Because you see, last week something EPIC happened.

Aegis Living was recognized as one of the top 50 U.S. employers out of more than 600,000 employers rated on Glassdoor. NEVER has a senior-housing company even cracked this list, much less ranked so high. In the top 50, Aegis Living was among notable worldwide brands such as Facebook, Google and Apple.

This recognition is beyond thrilling for me, and I’ll tell you why. In the 31 years I’ve worked in this industry, a continuous challenge has been the perception of it. You know, that it’s dreadfully depressing, unfulfilling work. That (very wrong!) perception is an enemy to building a great company culture that attracts and retains great staff members — who are of course the touchstone to great service for our elderly residents. glassdoor

So when I started Aegis Living, I knew we had to address this issue head on. I became the maniac with a mission to recruit and retain great staff. Nearly 17 years ago I wrote my first book called “Help Wanted,” which delved into how everything in our industry had to change — from where we looked for staff, to how we advertised, to how we treated them.

We set out to create an employee-first culture where we treat everyone with respect and love. We believe that if we have happy employees, we are more likely to have happy residents. We build promotional opportunities for employees, provide excellent training and develop career paths for growth. But there’s something else. We make fun a priority!

Something that has always been fun for me is giving. We do a lot of that at Aegis Living. Every Christmas we have a huge give-away for employees called Winterfest. We have our own annual internal lottery that awards cash prizes to employees. We give away ten dream vacations to employees every year (how’s that for rejuvenation!). And this year on our 20th anniversary we will give one lucky employee…a new car!

It’s better to give than to receive, right? But receiving last week’s recognition made me realize…we’ve accomplished the company culture we set out to create. And for me, THAT’S better than anything Santa could ever put under the tree.

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