Question of the Month: Smart Growth Strategies

How does a seniors housing operator grow its portfolio while maintaining a high level of care and service?

 Strengthen your principles

By Josh Crisp
President, Founder, CEO
First, an operator must understand a few things: Mission, vision, and organizational values are key. Second, an operator must have a strategic growth plan that includes a fundamental understanding of the operators’ strengths and geographic area in which the operator can service the community, team and residents without too much difficulty. Finally, an operator must ensure they have systems in place to build the team physically, emotionally and spiritually so that all the communities served are filled with the same love and compassion that solid, high-quality care and service models are built upon. Fill those love tanks!

Staffing is the key
By Randal J. Richardson
You need to have the right people. We establish a separate operations team focused on new development and acquisition so that the stabilized community operations team won’t be distracted from their primary objective of providing high-quality service and care. As new developments reach stabilization, or as an acquisition completes transition, they can then be folded into the stabilized portfolio. This approach requires an upfront investment in personnel, but allows the core portfolio operations team to stay focused on providing high-quality service and care. You will see savings by protecting existing community operations, minimizing mistakes due to competing priorities and quicker integration of new communities. If you have a major acquisition of several communities you’d better have a dedicated team to run them separately until systems and cultural integration can be completed in an organized way.

Resident satisfaction is baseline
By Chris Bird
Director of Rental
Both link back to occupancy. Many seniors move when a life event occurs and it’s no longer ideal to live in their current environment. The key to growth is delivering on the daily promise of providing care and programming to enhance the resident experience. When that promise is kept, resident satisfaction increases and so do resident referrals. Growth also relies on family, friends and healthcare provider referrals, which are a product of top-level care and outcomes. The bottom line is that high quality care and programming create highly engaged residents; high engagement leads to more referrals.

Strategic hiring helps prepare
By Bob Karn
Executive Vice President, CFO
Allegro Senior Living
We understand that growth is key to success, but also presents risk factors that can negatively impact culture and quality of service. Until recently, we grew primarily through our own Allegro brand. But as we’ve become more well known, we’ve entered into various co-development, acquisition, and third-party management arrangements with respected partners in the industry. To plan for this growth, we reorganized and hired key positions to ensure we had excess capacity in advance. We also hired a change management consultant to assist. We’re very selective with opportunities and build infrastructure prior to growth.

Assign duties carefully
By Gale Morgan
Senior Vice President, Sales
Mather LifeWays
First, assure you’ve identified your brand of quality and service, and that brand is in place in your current offerings. Have a team and a process dedicated to monitoring the continuation of delivering that brand. Meanwhile, have a team designated to peruse new opportunities, looking for value, intelligent investment, and growth while protecting your organization’s financial integrity. A third team should be dedicated to assuring your acquisition or new product can assimilate into your brand. Be certain each team continually searches for best practices in existing and new products that everyone can utilize.