3 Tips for Achieving Better Results from your Technology Investments

Leadership is presented budget requests from departments to embark on projects each year.  It could be HR requesting an application tracking solution, marketing needing a new CRM, or clinical deploying another module of your EHR.  Adopting new technology is a significant investment of money, time, and resources.  Was it worth it?  Gaining automation and having a new tool within the department is nice, but so what?  Too often the dollars and pain of such undertakings out weigh the tangible results.  Today we share three tips for ensuring your project is deemed a success throughout your organization. Don’t be Waterworld Many of us are old enough to remember the massive Hollywood box office flop, Waterworld.  The story takes place on Earth, but, as the title implies, there is no land left, just ocean.  The creators were determined to break the bank on special effects to make it as realistic as possible thinking their investment would pay off.  The movie cost $250M to make (that’s 1995 dollars!) and grossed $80M in the box office.  The movie was kind of neat, but not $250M neat.  Have you ever felt that way about a technology investment?  Installing software and getting it up and running is critical, but it is not enough.  You must align your project with organizational goals.  My client went live in January with an HRIS solution including payroll and time and attendance…a huge undertaking. From the start, the head of HR insisted they would not simply pull out the old platform and install the new one and deem it a success.  We began by identifying the organization-wide key initiatives, then...

Covia works with Bright Solutions

A typical day for Prab Brinton, Vice President of Human Resources at Covia, is anything but typical. From tracking performance and overtime costs to managing turnover, her seven years at Covia has taught her that data tells the real story of what’s going on at the heart of an organization. So when Covia wanted to update their HR system to have gobs of data at their fingertips, they called in Katie Griffith, Founder of Bright Solutions, to help weed through the endless vendors and options. In today’s article, we’ll learn about the problems Covia aimed to solve and how they worked with Katie to find the right software for their ever-evolving business. About Covia Covia is a nonprofit organization that has been helping people “live well and age well – anywhere you call home” for over 50 years. Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, Covia provides housing and programs for seniors, primarily in California, with some programs reaching seniors nationwide. Covia’s mission is to promote positive aging by cultivating healthy and engaged communities with a continuum of innovative services that actively support intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. It’s not only a great organization for the seniors they serve, but a fantastic place to work as well. In fact, Covia is consistently named one of the Bay Area’s “Best Places to Work” and recognized by Fortune Magazine as a Best Workplace for Aging Services. Prab loves being part of such a wonderful team of employees, leaders and residents. When she answered the “wanted ad,” Prab realized right away that she had hit the goldmine of jobs! There’s a sense...

Avoid These Mistakes When Choosing a Software Vendor

Like any other industry where technology drives the industry forward, Senior Living Communities are at risk for making quick decisions regarding software vendors that cost MORE time and money down the road. Today, we’re talking about how you can avoid common mistakes that we see among Senior Living Communities. In my previous article, we learned tips for deciding in which senior living technologies to invest. Now that the budget has been approved you must decide which vendor. Time to schedule some demos! Not so fast. There are tons of software vendors ready to solve your problems with new startups opening every day. Whether you’re evaluating Electronic Health Records, HR Platforms, Dining Software, or a multitude of other senior living technology solutions, keep reading to learn the common mistakes to avoid when selecting the right vendor for your project. Don’t start scheduling demos without a plan. I see it all the time. Organizations have a few vendors in mind they’ve seen at trade shows or have heard good things from a friend. They call them up and start scheduling presentations. Show us what you’ve got! Very quickly, they end up going down so many rabbit trails that they aren’t sure who does what much less who does it best. One vendor shows you this great mobile app, and now you aren’t sure if the vendors you saw yesterday have a mobile app because you never asked the question. You will save months between now and go-live by pausing here and being intentional about how you proceed. Simply sit down and list out your goals for the project followed by the...

Are You Investing in the RIGHT Aging Services Technology This Year?

New Fiscal Year, New Budget. Of the many technology applications your community could invest in, which ones will you choose? And how do you decide? Often, individual departments submit a budget request for a technology they need, and you say “yay” or “nay.” Based on what? The cost? The pitch? The complaining? Politics? While these can play an important role, they are not the most reliable way to make a confident decision you’ll be comfortable with long term. Most communities look at the dollars and a few bullet points about why the technology is needed, and the CFO decides if we can do it this year. Where is the strategy in that? David Eldred says it well, “Planning is not a strategy-making exercise; … one cannot develop an effective plan before doing the hard work involved in crafting your strategy.” Planning is comfortable; strategy is uncertain. Planning has an answer; strategy ventures into the unknown. Understanding the difference can be life or death for an organization looking to stay competitive. “Execution is a specific set of behaviors and techniques that companies need to master in order to have competitive advantage. It’s a discipline of its own.” —Bossidy, L. & Charan, R. (2002). Execution: the Discipline of Getting Things Done. Crown Business. Here I’ll share some techniques you can use to ensure you’re investing in the right technology this year. The right perspective: it’s not just dollars and cents Chances are your budget requests look something like this: The Clinical team is pushing for approval to implement the Point of Care modules of your existing EHR including mobile devices to...

3 Tips for Battling the Workforce Shortage in Senior Dining

Workforce shortages are frustrating. If you find yourself in an endless cycle of recruiting and training for the same positions every month, you are not alone. Today, we’re giving you three tips for battling shortages in senior dining to help you reduce turnover and improve connections between residents and employees. Embrace Turnover Lowering your turnover rate is a noble goal to have. But, believe it or not, learning to embrace turnover will have a positive impact on employee engagement and even help you reduce your turnover percentage. What does it mean to embrace turnover? Stop wondering how long an employee is going to stay, and start focusing on opportunities to support an employee in reaching their goals. Don’t tip toe around it. There is immense power in saying, “I would love it if you chose to stay here for 3, 5, 10 years, but I know that may not be your plan. That’s ok! Tell me about your goals while I DO have you here so we can discuss how I can help you achieve them.” Accept that you are often a stepping stone to the next thing, and be willing to offer them opportunities to develop and hone their skills while you have them. You will find yourself with employees that are more engaged, loyal, and fulfilled. Give Them the Tools With a workforce shortage, we must attract talent from other industries like universities, restaurants, hospitality, and healthcare. The competition for attracting talent is fierce. We can showcase ways senior living is a great choice. However, if we are offering sub-standard tools for staff, we won’t convince workers...

2025 is Near: Attracting Talent in Senior Living

If you’re a senior living executive, you’ve already heard the number in the report from Argentum. 1.2 million additional workers are needed in senior living by 2025. Attracting and retaining top talent is a challenge for our industry as it is. Nothing even close to “business as usual” will get us where we need to be. LeadingAge listened to members’ concerns and created the Center for Workforce Solutions in 2017 to provide support in the “workforce crisis”. The problem must be approached from many angles at once including attractive workspace design, enticing benefits and incentive packages, and a positive corporate culture. Here we discuss why the right technology strategy is a necessity for attracting medical, resident services, and administration staff. Senior living today is pulling talent from other industries like universities, restaurants, hospitality, and healthcare. The competition for attracting talent will continue. We can showcase why senior living is a great choice, but if we are offering sub-standard tools for staff we won’t convince workers to make the move. Unfortunately, an alarming number of communities’ technology is lagging way behind, and it’s having a negative impact. Too often, communities are requiring employees to do mundane tasks that should be automated. By giving them the tools they need, they are free to be innovative in their work which leads to better employee engagement and satisfaction. At Episcopal Senior Communities, VP of HR, Prab Brinton, is leading the way for the organization to remain competitive. She states, “We are getting rid of paper and manual tasks. HR should be training and supporting managers in the communities, not spending all of their time on processes that should be automated. Additionally, most employees are not...

Is that IT project haunting you worse than the Elf on the Shelf?

It’s that time of year again when those of us with young children dust off our beloved, albeit creepy, Elf on the Shelf so that he can watch over our kids and report back to Santa each night if they have been naughty or nice. Children find so much joy in being haunted every day by a so-jolly-that-it-must-be-evil, judging, lurking elf. In many ways, upcoming IT projects can be like the Elf on the Shelf popping up where you least expect it, reminding you that if you had completed it by now your organization would be more efficient, compliant, or prosperous. Allow me to offer four ways to get the elf off your back and your name off the naughty list before Santa arrives. Don’t ask Santa to do the work of an elf. We all know Santa is competent in many areas, but when it comes to making toys the elves are experts. Whether you’re investing in a CRM, EMR, or mobility solution, it is inefficient and risky to ask an internal resource to become a specialist during the evaluation phase. Say you are rolling out a mobile tablet solution to staff. Leveraging a consultant well versed in the mobility market who can quickly boil down your options, advantages, and risks will save you several weeks on the project. How does Santa handle all of that fan mail? Little Johnny had the nerve to write Santa three letters this year. THREE! Luckily, Santa has someone that screens his mail before making it to his desk. When the word gets out that you are in the market for a...

Did you buy the best solution for your project or the solution from the best sales person?

There are probably as many patented sales processes on the market as there are fad diets. Companies spend billions of dollars per year on Zig Ziglar-type training programs. Sales is both a science and an art. As a business in the process of buying technology, it is key to know how to select the best solution for your project instead of the solution from the best sales person. Before I share with you some ways to avoid being misguided to the wrong solution, understand that I am proud to have been a professional sales woman for the past decade. Just like most sales professionals, I pride myself in doing right by my client, being transparent, and providing them the best information for their decision. This isn’t about sales professionals doing you wrong. It’s about understanding the people presenting information to you have a strong biased and knowing how to navigate the process with eyes wide open. Stay Objective No matter the product, a good sales person will have you visualizing your new life as the hero/heroin of the company for implementing their product with remarkable results. A bad sales person asks all the wrong questions and seems clueless about what you are trying to accomplish. Stay focused on your evaluation strategy and remain in control of the process. Having an unbiased third party manage the process makes it easy to remain objective and stay on course. HINT: In order for a third party to be unbiased, they cannot benefit more or less based on which solution you select. Keep your poker face In order to maintain optimal negotiating power,...

3 Things Game of Thrones Can Teach Us About Selecting a Software Vendor

Evaluating software vendors is time consuming and overwhelming unless you’ve decided to just pick one without much research (yikes!). Let’s discuss three ways GOT can guide us through. The Lannisters have a long history of success, but she has DRAGONS! Do you choose the “safe” bet or the new player? Every time you talk to Cersei Lannister, she’s reminding you that when people think of the Lannisters they think success. No one would ever blame you for making such a low risk choice. Do the Targaryens have a record of success half as long? Have the dragons been road tested and proven to produce results, or are they just locked up in a cave somewhere, or worse, mere unhatched dragon eggs? But then the hypnotic Daenerys Targaryen reminds you of your strategic initiative to innovate and separate yourselves from the competition. She is changing the game with these dragons and will lead you into the next big thing leaving your competition in ashes. While you will secretly root for the super cool dragons to come out on top, you must emerge from under their spells and try not to lose your focus. You need to spend your time ensuring you align your criteria and objectives with the right solution. Who has what is required to attain the results you have targeted? HINT: Stop talking to Ms. Lannister and Ms. Targaryen and rely on an unbiased analysis. When encountering White Walkers, you must be quick without hesitation. By White Walkers I mean the leadership team. I am not insinuating that they are immortal killing machines. However, most feel they must...