Up & Coming—Resident Small Group Discussions

Covenant Village’s CEO, Dale Melton, recently stated in a Community Memo, “…the unexpected….times in our life bring the opportunities for a new approach and an occasion to re-envision the way we live, even work.”

Matt Gibbons, Sr. Director of Resident Care and Services, and Jenn Barker, Sr. Director of Human Resources, recently had the opportunity to organize a series of Resident Small Group Discussions addressing a current and specific need of Covenant Village: recruiting and retaining quality employees.

This new approach of resident-led small groups sparked when a single resident initiated conversation with Dale and Matt about gleaning from the experience, insight, and wisdom that so many CV Residents carry with them. This resident’s driving mission was to offer solutions to this looming issue that so many businesses and organizations have been experiencing over the past couple years, namely, staffing shortages.

Dale, Matt, and Jenn collaborated three (3) small groups, each consisting of approximately 6-8 CV residents. Small Group Discussions took place over the course of one week, all focusing on the topic of recruiting and retaining staff. It was discovered quickly that these discussions were fruitful and eye-opening. Fruitful, because so many great suggestions were offered. Eye-opening, because residents didn’t realize how many of their suggestions were currently being implemented by CV!

Some of the suggestions that were common across all three groups were: greater community awareness of Covenant Village; the potential to refocus monies (wages vs benefits) and make CV more competitive; referrals through residents and current staff, including a referral incentive program; and residents making a greater effort to create a warm environment for employees to work in.

On March 23, 2022, Covenant Village took part in the Gaston County Job Fair, which created a greater presence/awareness in the community AND has already attracted a handful of new employees! HR is also planning to have a presence in local high schools to recruit teen workers. CV currently offers a referral incentive program which awards the referring employee $150 bonus when/if the new employee reaches their 90-day mark and a $250 bonus when/if they reach their 1-year mark. Jenn noted that 94 employees have been referred to CV over the past 2.5 years! WOW!

Human Resources has worked diligently over the past few years to make Covenant Village one of the best places to work in Gaston County. One thing that is evident is that CV Leadership puts in every effort to show employees they are valued and appreciated.

The following is just a sample of all that has been implemented and/or expanded for CV Staff since 2018: PTO accrual, special-duty pay, scholarships, emergency assistance fund (EAF), department-wide appreciation days, special CV CARES Core Values drawings with monetary payouts, as well as focused and intentional training. Another, yet very important note, was the amazing job supervisors have done creating an enjoyable work environment for their employees.

Some actions steps that CV will take following the Resident Small Group Discussions include: encouraging residents (via Wellzesta) to network with people they know in the community to promote job opportunities at CV, as well as reach out to grandchildren about job opportunities; resend information to local churches about job opportunities at CV; promote CV-provided training for jobs where previous experience is not required; provide more scholarships for continued training/education if donors are found; and creating a Recruitment Card to hand out, to name a few.

The success of these discussion groups prompted the desire to implement Resident Small Group Discussions as an ongoing part of the life of Covenant Village. It was once said, “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”

We would love for you, Residents, to be proactive in helping your Village by providing ideas you have that may afford the opportunity for small group discussions with fellow residents, as well as a few applicable CV Staff members. You can present your ideas to Matt Gibbons and/or Dale Melton.

This is just one more way that we are BETTER TOGETHER!

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