“It was my first job and I still absolutely love it,” said La’Shaunta Warthen, a licensed practical nurse at The Waterford in Juno Beach, Florida, who joined the community 13 years ago as a dietary aide before eventually transitioning into her current role. “Getting to know the residents, listening to their stories and learning about their lives is wonderful. I also love my colleagues, who are very welcoming and fun to be around. It’s like family.”
Warthen credits her longevity to the support and culture at the community. “Living Lifespace has helped guide how I approach my work with the goal of creating an environment for residents to thrive. It’s also helped me in my personal life. I take some of the things I’ve learned from Lifespace and apply them at home.”
According to Lifespace Culture Training Lead Heidi Bedier, outlooks like Warthen’s are what Lifespace Communities envisioned when it launched Living Lifespace, its organization-wide culture training program. Designed to empower team members to develop habits that promote exceptional service, the initiative is centered around core values and guiding principles tied to the Lifespace name, specifically.
- Life – celebrating life
- Space – enabling each person to pursue fulfillment
- Pace – promoting the freedom people have to set the pace for their own lives
“We’ve received great support from team members and residents since launching in 2016, and we’re eager to maintain the momentum,” said Bedier, who oversees the program. While Living Lifespace was initially a focal point during team member onboarding, Lifespace is increasingly incorporating it into every stage of the career cycle, from recruitment onward. “It’s important to keep things fresh, interesting and innovative,” she added. “Living Lifespace is about making sure we never lose sight of who we are as an organization and why we exist, which is to serve residents.”
Lifespace has grown to offer team members more flexible and hands-on training opportunities to help them flourish in their careers. “Happy and fulfilled team members equal happy and fulfilled residents. And these residents are more likely to invite their friends to join the Lifespace family, so we’re able to positively impact many more people,” explained Bedier. “We believe you matter regardless of what your role is. There’s something special about contributing to a greater good by creating opportunities for residents to live their best lives.”
This approach has resonated with team members like Warthen, who is currently working on acquiring her registered nursing degree. Warthen is thankful that her professional success is a priority for The Waterford and Lifespace. “I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from other team members, management and residents,” she said. “They actually pushed me to go back to school and continue my education, because they see my potential. It’s special to have people who aren’t related to you by blood want to see you succeed in every way possible.”
Bedier explained that such determination and sense of purpose are what Living Lifespace encourages for all team members. “That’s how we’re able to deliver on our mission to celebrate the lives of seniors,” she said. “Fully understanding and embracing our core values can do wonders. It naturally translates to exceptional service, because everything we do is connected to our goal of making retirement the best experience of our residents’ lives.”
Moving forward, Lifespace is focused on further integrating residents into Living Lifespace by developing a training program specially catered to them within the next year. “We want to maximize our efforts through shared experiences and understanding. Inviting residents to experience some of the training curriculum that we provide team members is a nice way of doing so,” said Bedier.
[In the photo: Team members at Friendship Village of Bloomington.]
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