Long before “COVID-19” became a household term the senior living industry was due for a restructuring. The combination of a growing cohort of aging Americans, ever evolving and mounting consumer desires and rapid technological integration of the global environment set into motion an overthrow of antiquated assumptions about senior living. No longer can this innovative industry be described as single-service, nursing heavy and static. The reputation of the evolving senior living industry must be represented in its approach to full-service, hospitality-centric and dining-excellence philosophies. COVID-19 served as a catalyst for this breakdown of previously established norms. Through this period of technological integration, innovation and forward-thinking, senior living is beginning to be revealed for what it truly is – an exciting industry full of growth, opportunity for advancement and requires only a passion for hospitality excellence.
In a study conducted by The University of Connecticut talent pools identified both job security and flexibility as the most important qualities they look for in a potential employer, followed by the importance of culture-first philosophies. Yet 2020 changed all that – to gain a competitive advantage in 2020 prospecting high-level talent, employers must look internally and rethink their culture to offer: agility, collaboration, diversity, innovation and integrity. Luckily the senior living industry and Unidine specifically deliver on each of these drivers promising long-term job security, flexible work schedules and a culture enlivened by making a difference in the communities that need it most.
Charles Abell, Director of Dining Services joins Unidine from the sports and entertainment industry. His transition into senior living was prompted by the mass closures of arenas and other athletic venues across the country. Like Charles, hundreds of skilled hospitality professionals had to step back, evaluate the future of the industry and decidedly channel into other service disciplines to harness their unique skill sets.
Unique to senior living, there is both engagement and connectivity on a daily basis. Team members are afforded the opportunity to directly deliver on satisfaction, happiness, laughter and engagement — bolstering residents with quality care and hospitality excellence. Charles noted “I absolutely love my position here. The relationships I’m able to develop with clients and the stories they have to share are truly incredible. It’s fascinating to learn about what their lives have held and what they’ve experienced to date. Such closeness with those I serve has been invaluable.” The senior living industry holds opportunities for growth and advancement but perhaps best of all it holds the opportunity to better the lives of others.
New, full-service senior living communities present an opportunity for aging adults to live out a care-free lifestyle with every need, happiness and excitement right at their fingertips. Charles smiled as he explained “The clients truly treat me like an extension of their family. They ask about my family and my hobbies and are genuinely interested in my response. The level of connectivity is so special — it’s almost like having Thanksgiving dinner every day.” For many residents the teams that serve them build a close bond and are looked at as surrogate relatives.
In tandem with the rapid growth of the industry there is both training and advancement each step of the way, in every position. As experienced by Charles in his transition from a Management role to a Director role within just six months. Charles explains “I’m really allowed to own the space and lean into the opportunity.” Going on to detail his experience with rapid advancement he exclaimed “Unidine really gave me the chance to succeed. I truly feel like I have the entire toolkit to be successful in this role and in my career.”
At Unidine we believe that success is attainable for all our team members. We deliver on this philosophy with comprehensive training, learning opportunities and most importantly – the chance to succeed. Charles explains “Possibly the most rewarding aspect of the role is the leeway to use my own creative discretion. In previous roles I’ve been given a recipe where I’ve had to follow it to a tee, whereas at Unidine I can work with residents and teams directly to incorporate their feedback and desires. By doing this I’m able to drive higher satisfaction from our residents which is incredibly rewarding.”
All Unidine team members are empowered to ask the right questions, to plan for the future and to anticipate needs before they arise. Like mindedly Charles inquired “What are the clients and residents going to be like ten years from now? Will they all be tech-savvy and inclined to order ahead and in-app?” It’s this proactive, forward looking approach to the future needs of senior living that continues to propel Unidine as one of the leading food and dining management providers. We would welcome the opportunity to work with passionate individuals who are willing to do the work, fall forward and engage with the next generation of residents.
Interested in joining an industry with rapid expansion, opportunity for advancement and life-enhancing service? Don’t have experience in senior living; don’t worry we’re always looking for the next generation of hospitality professionals to join our team and enliven our culture of service excellence. See our open roles here: www.unidine.com/join-us/
About Unidine: Unidine operates in over 400 facilities and is the leading provider of food and dining management services for discerning clients throughout the United States. Since its founding in 2001 by President and CEO Richard B. Schenkel, Unidine’s success derives from consistent execution in four key areas – and exclusive focus on food and dining management services, a commitment to seasonal, fresh-from-scratch cooking, exceptional customer service and a corporate culture enlivened by each team member’s passion for culinary and service excellence. Unidine’s network of dietitians and culinarians leverage the latest research to support cultural enrichment and wellness strategies for senior living communities, and also exceptional service for hospitals, behavioral health facilities and corporations.
For more information visit: https://www.unidine.com/