Dominion Rebrands Itself as a ‘Culture First’ Organization

Culture is a huge deciding factor for many people looking for a job, and a lack of culture at a company could drive people away. One senior living provider has rolled out a new program to put culture at the front and center of its company.

A fairly new player in the industry, Tennessee-based Dominion Senior Living was founded in 2014 and started out with one senior living community. After growing to eight communities, the provider saw it was time for an overhaul in the form of a “culture action plan,” Josh Crisp, vice president at Dominion Senior Living, told Senior Housing News.

“We formed extremely quick, and now that we have a couple years behind us, the leadership came together and began to think about how we could better represent ourselves to match our desire to be really intentional about everything we do,” Crisp said. “We partnered with cultural strategist Judy King to develop and implement an entire program, and have recently rolled it out.”

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King is from Nashville-based Quality Management Services and designed the culture action plan to be easily duplicated consistently in each Dominion community as the company grows, he added.

The plan takes the mission statement of the organization and applies it directly to how the company recruits, screens and interviews potential team members, as well as how it on-boards, trains and sets career paths for new team members. 

Encouraging Creativity

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One large aspect of the culture action plan is initiating new team new team members into a rich, vibrant culture where they serve not only residents, but other staff members, Crisp explained to SHN. 

“We feel like our team members are the hands and feet of the operation,” he said. “If we don’t get that right, our mission and purpose won’t be fulfilled and residents won’t realize the impact we desire to make.”

Dominion wants to do all of this without putting the system in a box that eliminates creativity. For instance, the company wants to let current employees help write job descriptions.

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“The problem with many how-to manuals in this industry is that they leave out the element of content creativity and recreation of programs as research changes,” said Crisp. “As people’s abilities to care are redefined, they may have new and exiting ideas that may translate better to some residents, and we want to encourage those ideas. This program has the ability to establish a tool kit that is constantly relevant.”

But hearing every team member’s ideas may become overwhelming if Dominion does continue to grow in size. To make that process go smoother, the company is working with a tech provider to develop an app to be used as a platform to collaborate in real-time. 

“The platform technology will not only be used to collaborate among team members within one community, but to communicate and share ideas, insights, and inspirational thoughts with team members in our other communities,” Crisp said.

With six more communities in the pipeline over the next three years, Dominion needed to find an approach that’s different from other senior housing providers, Crisp added.

“Most organizations have a very top-down leadership approach and the message that is carried down gets very diluted along the way. With this technology tool, there can be communication among those working in the communities to those at the top of the ladder,” he explained.

Measuring Outcomes

The encouragement for each worker at Dominion to have a part in the hiring process could also lead to lower turnover and increased employee satisfaction.

“We believe letting caregivers take ownership in the process will deliver a better value in quality standard across the board,” said Crisp.

To check how the program is doing, Dominion will be tapping into hiring and recruiting assessment tools, as well as conducting a series of surveys for residents, their families and team members. 

“We already have lower than industry employee turnover. The industry level was a good benchmark at the beginning, but now the goal isn’t the industry, it’s benchmarking against ourselves,” Crisp explained. “Our total turnover the last two years has averaged 15%.”

Dominon aims to continue compete against itself in the coming years as they continue to look to improve in the coming years, Crisp added.

Written by Alana Stramowski

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