By LANCE CRANMER firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS — A little over a year ago, National Church Residences Lincoln Village needed a helping hand.
The staff turnover rate at the assisted living facility on Columbus’ west side was unexpectedly high and overall moral was heading in the wrong direction.
At the time, Sally Grote was serving as the Assistant Executive Director at National Church Residences Chillicothe campus. But when the organization’s leadership reached out to her to lend a hand at Lincoln Village in April 2015, she was up for the new challenge.
“It’s hard to talk about how it was before, because I wasn’t here,” Sally admits. “We had to work hard to get the right staff in the right positions. It took some time.”
Sally spent two months lending a hand at Lincoln Village. Then in June, she was officially named the facility’s new Executive Director.
“I was definitely worried (about the new challenge), but just personally, I have a certain standard of how I expect things to be,” Sally said. “It’s definitely getting better. There were days where I didn’t want to leave at the end of the day. But now we have the right staff and the right procedures in place.”
After nearly one year on the job, Sally got some exciting news. According to information gathered from organization-wide surveys, staff satisfaction at Lincoln Village had increased by 24 percent in one year – the largest increase by any community in the National Church Residences family.
“We have a really strong leadership team. We worked really hard to establish relationships with everybody here, especially the staff,” Sally said. “We tried to work with the staff to find out what they’re seeing. We’re all together trying to provide quality care for these residents.”
Sally said that embracing National Church Residences President and CEO Mark Rickett’s concept of “shared leadership” has been a key to success.
“Nobody is trying to figure this out alone. We’re doing this as a team,” she said. “Our staff has owned their positions and responsibilities. We foster a learning environment. We’re trying to make our staff successful.”
Sally added that the addition of Lynette Garcia as the new Director of Nursing at Lincoln Village has also been a great help.
“We both started at the same time,” she said. “We had a lot of new staff. Maybe five employees were here before. There was a lot of turnover and we did a lot of trying to find the right people for our open positions.”
In 2016, Sally is happy to report that staff turnover at Lincoln Village is officially at zero percent.
“We have one person leaving in June, but she’s retiring,” Sally said. “We have a pretty good culture here now. It’s family-oriented and is a place where relationships matter. We’re building and growing together. We don’t have all the answers, but we seek to find them.”
Sally credits having a successful first year as an Executive Director to what she learned working for four years under the direction of Chillicothe Executive Director Karen Steinbrook.
“Working under her I learned so much. She’s an amazing woman,” Sally said. “I learned so much about this organization from the Chillicothe campus. It was a great place to learn about all things senior. They really have it all there.”
“Sally is a wonderful person and leader,” Karen added. “She soaked up information like a sponge. I truly liked working with Sally, and I was sure that she would not last long as an assistant.”