In Community, Jobs

What makes Beacon Hill a great
place to work?

Who better to ask, “Why is Beacon Hill a great place to work?” than someone who just chose to work here, who has over 20 years of experience in other senior care environments to compare it to, and who is focused on making it an even better place to work?

Christopher Rigsby is Beacon Hill’s new Human Resources Director. Christopher brings broad skills and knowledge built from the ground up—including over a decade providing personal care as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and, more recently, extensive HR and management experience, including earning a Nursing Home Administrator License. Christopher was looking for a new role that would use his knowledge of regulatory affairs, as well as his background in management and best practices, to make a direct impact on a senior community. We asked him about his experience with Beacon Hill so far.

Size and Culture

What convinced him that Beacon Hill would be a great place to work? “It was a combination of two things,” Christopher explained, “size and culture. In my previous position, I supported almost 1000 employees. At Beacon Hill, with 220 full-time, part-time, and per diem staff—all on one campus—it’s possible to have more ‘touchpoints’ with staff.”

The size difference impacts leadership style. “The leadership staff at Beacon Hill has a ‘boots on the ground’ leadership style. It’s not top-heavy, with boards or multiple management levels to go through. If we see something to do to improve things, and we have the resources, we can decide to do it!”

Christopher noted the impact of effective leadership on organizational culture. “Jeff [President and CEO, Jeff Heugli] really has a feel and connection with the community. He’s been here 16 years and worked to build it to what it is. People trust in his leadership.”

“There was a good example of this kind of leadership during the week of the Polar Vortex,” Christopher said. “The weather has been a nightmare, but most of our staff has come in. Some even stayed here overnight so they could start first thing the next morning. We had rooms we could make available for them. Then Jeff and [Operations Director] April Schaab were out and around Monday afternoon—checking on staff, expressing their appreciation. They brought in breakfast items and bought lunch for staff a couple of days this week. Staff and management being accommodating like this speaks to why this is such a great place to work.”

Openness and Transparency

Christopher experienced this personal stamp in leadership style during his own hiring process. “Jeff was very open and transparent with me about his goals and allowed me to be open and transparent about mine—goals for the community, goals for leadership, and for my own growth and impact.”

“That kind of openness leads to an innovative environment where staff are constantly evaluating how to be better—trying to think out of the box. In my case, that means being able to be creative with new hiring experiences, creating hiring incentives that make it even better and more inviting, and helping people buy into the culture.”

“As an employer, we want to be able to differentiate Beacon Hill from our competitors,” he continued. “That means looking at what our rewards and compensation looks like, outside of just dollars and cents. For example: We offer flexible scheduling, including around school schedules. We offer professional development opportunities and are looking at ways to do even more, including succession planning, growth opportunities and career planning. Another great benefit is that we offer 5-Star dining [to staff] at a discount!”

Person-centered Management and Employees

In a recent national survey, employees said that relationships at work matter even more than job perks or extravagant benefits. Christopher pointed to two things at Beacon Hill that illustrate this. “The management team here has low turnover. That consistency makes them accessible to employees and lets them get to know their staff, their feedback, the things they do. There are consistent touchpoints.”

Also, there are the “co-worker to co-worker” relationships. “Employees are recommending Beacon Hill to their friends. We have hired individuals that came to us from some of our competitors. They have had such good experiences here that they started telling their old colleagues, ‘This is a good place to work.’”

Person-Centered Customer Service

This person-centered environment plays out in caring for residents too. “The senior care profession has been moving towards being person-centered. That means there’s not just one approach to care. Maybe a housekeeper learns not to clean one resident’s place the same way they clean another’s. Or they adapt the schedule to clean a particular apartment at the time that fits the resident’s schedule, not the department’s existing schedule.”

“Good customer service is what we do. We emphasize that this is the standard, not just the goal. It’s not just what we want to do, it’s what we do.”

The Essential Character Trait

Bottom line … Christopher says being a good fit in this community boils down to one thing: Compassion.

“Of course, specialized positions have certain skill sets—CNAs, RNs, LPNs, Directors and other roles all require appropriate training and licensure. But my experience as an HR person has shown me that I can teach you how to do a job and I can give you the resources—the training to build your skills; but I can’t make you compassionate. You need to be a good listener, to be attentive, to be empathetic to the people we serve. You have to already have some ‘soft skills’ that give you that ‘core’ we can build on.  I can enhance what you already have; but if you don’t know how to talk to people and relate to them with compassion, you’re not going to be a culture fit at Beacon Hill.”

Being Part of our Community

Asked if there was one particular thing he’d like everyone to know about working at Beacon Hill, Christopher said: “For me, it’s the experience of knowing that you’re valued. We all know what it’s like to be undervalued. To know that you have value that can contribute to the whole—we really try to let people know that they are appreciated. We can’t do what we do here as a community without you. Working here means you buy in to being a part of our community.”

If you are interested in employment opportunities at Beacon Hill at Eastgate, visit the Careers section of our website.

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