I'm told that the official period for making New Year's resolutions is over (I must have missed it while on vacation). So I won't offer any of the traditional vague advice like, "just appreciate what you've already accomplished and what it took to get there," or "engage in creative ideas and inspirational ventures," or "focus on who you are and who you'd like to be down the road." It makes the business of running long-term and post-acute care organizations sound so easy, which it isn't. Not in today's competitive market.
However, I can list a few things every organization--from assisted living and continuing care retirement communities to skilled nursing and hospice--might benefit from doing this year.
- Give your facility a marketing makeover. Reputation is made of bricks and clicks these days. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, and those of your competition. Revisit your advertising strategy, and if you don't have an active social media presence yet, you're way behind the curve.
- Invest in your most important business asset--your employees' skills sets. Today's long-term care market requires new proficiencies in memory care, infection prevention and short-term rehabilitation services. Find a way to make continuing education a craved reward instead of a checkmark on a service log.
- Revisit your customer satisfaction surveys. Are your survey questions outdated? How welcoming is your process to active feedback from residents' families?
- Decide that 2014 will be your facility's lowest staff turnover ever. Then be willing to engage your staff in conversations on how to achieve that goal. Find out what your employees value, and ask them to brainstorm on creative ways to reward exceptional work or important milestones.
- Consider adding a new service line this year. That decision first requires careful research on what services are needed by current and future residents, as well as deep consideration of the staff and other resources needed to do it well. Then remember that some ROI isn't about money.
- Become a more visible leader in your local community. Find ways to involve staff and residents in events or causes that the community cares about. In other words, be more than an entry in the local Yellow Pages.
- Stay up to date on the long-term and post-acute industry, and on your organization's role within it. Technology is rapidly changing the way you'll provide clinical care and resident services, and how you'll operate as a business. Consumer expectations of the industry are changing even faster.
And, even though 1Q is already under way, I can still say, happy new year!