Making Good on Our Promises
Posted on August 25, 2014 by John Moore
I stay busy as Atria’s Chairman of the Board and CEO, and finding time to visit our communities is sometimes harder to do than I’d like. So I really cherish the times when I do get to visit, because there’s no substitute for seeing a community in person and having face-to-face conversations with our customers and dedicated managers and staff. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredible caregivers, housekeepers, servers and other team members, and hear stories from our amazing residents and family members.
Keeping our promises to these individuals is at the core of what Atria is all about. My job is to make sure Atria is a company that supports our leaders and employees…and then, that they use that support to make good on our promises to our customers, to officials who oversee our industry and to the neighborhoods and the larger communities we serve.
Although visiting our communities gives me a feel for how well we’re doing and how we can continue to improve in terms of quality, I know that a visit from the CEO can be stressful. The team wants to put their best foot forward when I’m there, and so I understand and expect that I won’t always see the complete picture. We decided a long time ago that if we really wanted to get it right, day in and day out, we needed a program in place to help us drive quality in everything we do…a program that would give us a realistic understanding of how a community is operating and help ensure that we’re always putting quality first. That’s where our internal Quality Enhancement program (known as QE around Atria) comes into play.
What QE is really about
Our QE tool measures approximately 700 items of daily life and business in our communities, everything from the number of training hours employees have completed and our housekeeping systems to how nice our landscaping looks and the quality of the events we offer. The purpose of QE, however, goes way beyond a checklist…it’s all about creating the best possible experience for our customers and making sure they receive the high level of service they expect, deserve and pay for each month.
Take our culinary program for example, which is an important area of community life that QE evaluates on a regular basis. So what do we check? Just about everything. To share a few examples: We look at the quality of the meals we’re serving – does the food taste great, and is it also nutritious, fresh and delivered with a smile? What about the tables – is each one clean and perfectly set, and are the place settings spotless? We examine menus – do they offer plenty of choice, and are they neat and easy to read? What about our chefs, dishwashers and servers – do they have the right equipment and supplies to do their jobs? The details – big and small – matter, because they all contribute to the quality dining experience we strive to create. We want our residents to be excited to see what’s on the menu each day; to look forward to good food and good conversation every time they dine with us; to invite their friends and families to join them for Sunday brunch because it’s one of the best in town. In short, we want our culinary program to be one of many reasons why older adults choose to make Atria their home.
I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done and continue to do with our QE program – and I believe it’s something that makes us the right choice for our customers and their families, and also for the dedicated people who work in our communities and deliver on our commitment to quality each day.
You may not see it, but you can feel it
We’ve spent a great deal of time making our QE program what it is today, but it’s not something you can see, at least not in the way you would think. It’s what you experience and feel when you walk through the door, when you start meeting our team and making your way through the community. Happy residents on their way to an exercise class, the smell of delicious food cooking, laughter coming from the next room, smiling faces and warm “hellos” everywhere you go – these are just a few of the ways that someone experiences our QE program. Whether it’s a potential customer visiting us for the first time, a resident who has lived with us for years or an employee showing up for their first day of work, we have the same goal – to make sure everyone who steps inside an Atria community feels welcome and at home, and thinks “I like it here.”
The bottom line
Fundamentally, our QE program is in place to help ensure that we’re doing our jobs in the right way. It’s here to make sure that our residents and families receive the quality service they pay for, that employees feel proud to grow their careers at Atria and that we’re building a strong company that’s ready to serve generations to come.