6 Ways to Improve Collaboration Efforts in Your Company

By guest contributor Emma Grace Brown

Senior living owners and operators today should be well-versed in the concept of collaboration. Some researchers say that working with people of varying backgrounds and different areas of expertise will generate stronger ideas. When put into action, your employees should feel the effects of collaboration and be comfortable with speaking to you about their ideas for the company. If you want to create a more efficient work environment, consider these six ways to improve collaboration efforts, courtesy of Grow Your Occupancy.

1. Nurture Effective Communication

Communication is the foundation of teamwork, both within and across department divisions. Consider training programs to help your team understand the benefits of using positive body language and maintaining eye contact when they speak. These techniques show that the speaker is self-assured and interested in the conversation. Additionally, keeping your arms to your side makes you appear more confident and relaxed, whereas crossing your arms can appear aggressive or distant.

2. Improved Software Tools

Collaborative software tools can boost communication through email, digital voicemail, chat forums, and instant messaging. Remote work relies heavily on software tools that allow video conferencing and document-sharing. If you give employees the ability to call conference meetings or collaborate quickly online with minimal effort, you’ll find they communicate with each other more often.

You should also take advantage of tools that will greatly streamline your interaction with customers. For instance, an online invoice generator simplifies record-keeping while also facilitating faster and more efficient payments from customers. And best of all, it’s free!

3. Encourage Feedback

If you create a work environment that promotes consistent feedback, you’ll notice that operations will improve all around. You also show your team that you have faith in their ideas and respect their opinions. For those team members that are shyer about speaking up, offer a platform for them to share their thoughts anonymously or in private.

Another way to effect positive leadership with your team is to make time to connect one-on-one with each of your team members. In the busy senior living community environment, this may seem impossible at first blush. But the benefits to trust and empowerment within your team are worth it. A team that feels comfortable offering feedback is one that can collaborate effectively.

4. Reward Efforts

Openly reward your team when their collaborative work pays off. If you see a project come to fruition, give them positive feedback in front of the office. Have weekly or monthly company meetings where you discuss successes and recognize the employees that made them happen. Offer incentives for important goals and follow through with your promises in a timely manner.

5. Build a Creative Environment

There are many ways that you can build a creative work environment. Get to know your employees and try to incorporate their interests into the office culture. For example, if your senior living community or headquarters office allows pets – and it doesn’t interfere with staff duties – allow office pet days.

If you allow pets, find fun ways to incorporate them into the workday, such as having a walking meeting outside. Search online for a Walk Score map first. This is a great way to locate and evaluate at a glance the areas near your office that are best suited for walking. You, your team, and their pets will all feel energized and engaged with the occasionally walking meeting.

Avoid micromanaging employees. Allow them to take risks, and you’ll create an environment that fosters innovation. Also, promote opportunities for continuous learning, and when you have employees that are actively learning new ways to benefit the company, ask them to share them with the other employees. This creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable learning from one another and asking each other for help when they need it.

6. Strategize Cross-Team Collaboration

Cross-team collaboration is the creation of an interdepartmental team to work on a single project. You can boost collaboration among departments by:

  • Choosing team members that understand each other
  • Assigning a leader to delegate
  • Aligning project goals and communicating them to the team
  • Encouraging members to understand each department’s goals
  • Setting a timeline for the project

Another way to foster collaboration is to create a process map using a template. A process map will allow you to define project goals, brainstorm ideas and solutions, and determine the steps involved. This can keep your team organized and improve efficiency.

Obviously, collaboration hinges on good communication. When you encourage people to work together and help them better understand one another, you create a work environment that nurtures productivity. Your goal as a leader should always be to make sure your team members are happy at work.

Ready to take your senior living sales success to a new level by elevating your executive directors to community sales leaders? Grow Your Occupancy provides the sales coaching, accountability coaching, and sales-skill coaching essential to fill that important role. Learn more about Grow Your Occupancy’s sales coaching and training here. Or book your free 30-minute consultation today.

The 5 Hottest Marketing Ideas for Nursing Homes

By guest contributor Dr. Cameron Zargar, Content Director, Experience Care

Digital marketing has not only changed the business world but also the long-term care industry, though the latter has been a bit slower to adjust. “Senior living long-term care tends to lag a bit in its adoption of certain things like technology and marketing automation,” said Julie Podewitz, the founder of Grow Your Occupancy, during her recent appearance on the LTC Heroes podcast. She then shared with Experience Care’s Peter Murphy Lewis her hottest marketing ideas for nursing homes. Watch the discussion below:


Here we will summarize Podewitz’s five best tips for marketing in long-term care. These are divided into two sections, one on the basis of nursing home marketing and sales, the other specifically about branding and messaging, or nursing home advertising in the digital age. 


The Essential Nursing Home Marketing Ideas

According to Podewitz, many of the best nursing home marketing ideas simply aren’t being utilized enough because they are still new to some marketers. “Back in the day, it was phone calls, walk-ins, and referrals,” she said. “But now 80% of our customers find us through digital channels – either organic search or paid search,” she noted on the podcast.  So how does one keep up? 

Tip #1: Value Every Lead 

Digital marketing moves quickly. And the number of prospective nursing homes your target audience is looking at is higher than it ever was before. That is why one of the best marketing ideas for nursing homes is to act fast. “The biggest difference is that we now need to respond quickly when leads are coming to us and be diligent in our attempts to connect,” Podewitz said. “So, the way that we approach sales is a slight tweak of that initial inquiry.” 

Even with the rise in online campaigns, though, Podewitz emphasizes first and foremost telephone conversations. “First of all, pick up the phone,” she said. “Pick up the phone, because we still have the challenge of lost leads or mismanaged new leads in our industry.” 

Tip #2: Connect With Your Local Community

It’s easy to get caught up in the metrics of Google ads or email click and open rates, but marketers in long-term care would be wise to keep in mind their immediate surroundings, Podewitz said. “Local networking, local outreach to influencers, and potential referral sources in the local area still have a huge impact,” she said. 

The logic behind this strategy is that potential residents and their families want to know that you actually care, and the best way to convey that is to really engage them. “We’ve got to have meaningful conversations,” Podewitz said. “We just have to. We want them to feel seen and heard and then take the next steps with a great follow-up, differentiating ourselves and, finally, closing to the final decision.”

Regardless of one’s preferred approach to interacting with the community, the bottom line is, marketers have to be more active. When Lewis asked Podewitz what she thinks marketers aren’t doing correctly in their community engagement, she replied: “They’re just not doing enough. They’re not doing enough local “boots on the ground” marketing, networking, messaging, and engaging with the local community.” Another way of establishing a presence is to form partnerships with local businesses, pharmacies, and institutions of learning.  

Tip #3 Emphasize Closing Sales

Marketing can only be sustainable if you have a plan for converting those leads into sales. According to Podewitz, that makes finding a “sales driver” an absolute necessity. “You need someone who is competitive, who wants to go for the win, who doesn’t give up, and who’s motivated in that arena,” she said. 

What are the signs of a good sales driver in long-term care? “Look for curiosity,” she advised. “During the interview, ask yourself, ‘How curious are they? What kind of questions do they ask? How much research have they done?’” But while they should be competitive and competent, they must also be caring. “They still need to love working with older adults, and they need to understand metrics,” she said. It is that knowledge and interest in the industry that will better guide their success. 


The Secrets to Effective Senior Living Advertising 

Tip #4 Create Educational Content

Improving census numbers is not always about promoting your organization. Rather, savvy marketers responsible for nursing home advertising will know that one of the best marketing ideas for nursing homes is to create awareness about the industry and demonstrate their dedication to it. “Content marketing is critical in our business because senior care isn’t something that people know much about,” Podewitz said. “It’s not usually in our vernacular until there’s a crisis or we have a problem.” By exploring the concerns of the target market for nursing homes, your organization can stand out from the rest and demonstrate its dedication to a higher culture of care.

Tip #5 Capture Emotion

Podewitz reminds long-term care leaders that they should remember their roles as caregivers when speaking with prospects. “We’re not selling a commodity but rather serving in an advisory capacity,” she said. While obvious, keeping that in mind will better shape the messaging of your brand. In part, that means avoiding stereotypes about long-term care, eliminating fear, and highlighting activities important to seniors. 

Meanwhile, for families, the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a big one. So those looking for the best nursing home marketing ideas must “understand the impact of empathy” and learn to connect with prospects. “Because it’s such an emotional decision and so emotionally difficult, this isn’t based solely on logic,” she said, “so your message has got to get to the core emotional components of what drives people.”

Perhaps the most valuable of the marketing strategies for elder care that Podewitz offers is: listen. “Really try to lean in and understand what they tell you and the emotional components of their words,” she said. “Don’t jump to solve (their problem) right away. Rather, identify what the heart of the matter is for them, and only after obtaining that should you present the solutions you offer.” Honest communication with potential residents and their families plays an important role in alleviating their fears and helping them make a decision.


A Summary of the Best Marketing Ideas for Nursing Homes

The marketing ideas for nursing homes that Podewitz provided on the podcast can be boiled down to two things: capture your culture and be efficient. It is by demonstrating your dedication to care—at your organization and in general as well—that you will set yourself apart. Still, you must get the word out and take advantage of any interest received from prospects, as the other available options are usually well-known to your target demographic.