Welcome to Bridge the Gap with hosts Josh Crisp and Lucas McCurdy. A podcast dedicated to inform, educate and influence the future of housing and services for seniors. Bridge the Gap aims to help shape the culture of the senior living industry by being an advocate and a positive voice of influence which drives quality outcomes for our aging population.

Procare HR Case Study with Chris Krebsbach of RM Management and Brett Landrum

Best practices in recruiting, onboarding, and encouraging enthusiasm in the roles of executive directors, administrators, and managers in communities is discussed.


You have to create this team of people that are there for one another…There's so many different facets to it, but it really starts with the energy and the passion for doing the work.

Chris Krebsbach

Guest on This Episode

Josh Crisp

Owner & CEO Solinity

Josh Crisp is a senior living executive with more than 15 years of experience in development, construction, and management of senior living communities across the southeast.

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Brett Landrum

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Chris Krebsbach

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How do I schedule my time and the team's time so that we get all of that information to them so that they can start to become proficient?

Quick Overview of the Podcast

Best practices in recruiting, onboarding, and encouraging enthusiasm in the roles of executive directors, administrators, and managers in communities is discussed with Brett Landrum of Procare HR and Chris Krebsbach of RM Management. Tune in for this Procare HR Case Study!

This episode was recorded at the NIC Spring Conference.

Produced by Solinity Marketing.

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Welcome to season seven of Bridge The Gap, a podcast dedicated to informing, educating, and influencing the future of housing and services for seniors. Powered by sponsors Accushield, Aline, NIC MAP Vision, ProCare HR, Sage, Hamilton CapTel, Service Master, The Bridge Group Construction and Solinity. And produced by Solinity Marketing.

Josh 00:54:

Welcome to Bridge the Gap, the senior living podcast. I'm your host Josh, and today, sad news, we don't have Lucas with us. But I have two incredible guests, many of whom will very much recognize Brett Landrum with ProCare HR, and also a special guest today, Chris Krebsbach. Did I get that correct?

Chris 01:15:

You got it right. Yes, you got it right.

Josh 01:17:

First time. With RM management. And we are going to talk about an extremely important topic. If you're in the senior living industry listening to this the magic happens in the community with the executive directors, the administrators, those general managers, whatever you call that title in your organization. That's what we're talking about today. We've got two pros who have had a lot of experience, not only recruiting for this position, but very much important to how you interview, how you onboard, and how that person really becomes the champion of your community. So, guys, I couldn't be more excited. Thanks for taking your time away from a very, very packed NIC Dallas event. We're excited to be back here again. Bridge The Gap for all of our listeners, you heard our content for years as a NIC partner and they have a setup right here. If you hear all the background noise, we are like almost in the middle of the NIC Cafe right outside of Networking Lounge and beside the coffee bar late in the afternoon. Thank you, guys, for joining us, Brett, how have you been?

Brett 02:21:

Great. It's a good conference.

Josh 02:23:

Absolutely. So talk us through this topic just a little bit and what this means for you guys and how on a daily basis you're helping these communities, these operators, with this most valuable position.

Brett 02:35:

When we look at senior living organizations and operators, what we've traditionally seen is not surprisingly, the health of the business is really predicated on the strength of the folks that are sitting in that ED or administrator chair. And usually, that follows performance, it follows employee engagement, et cetera. And it's such a critical role, particularly because I think a lot of senior living operators, how they think about this role as, it's kind of like the mini CEO, their job is to operate the business. They own the P and l, they own the employee relationships they're making, hiring and firing decisions, typically with quite a bit of discretion. And so having really strong senior living leaders, but also just I think in general business people is really important to the continuity and health of these organizations.

Josh 03:27:

Yeah, absolutely. Such a critical role that never stops. I've often said it's like hospitality meets healthcare, but these executive directors, to your point, they have so much discretion, so much responsibility, so much weight, so much burden. So finding the right one, but you guys have kind of formalized some of this, right? And I think in a very difficult time for many operators to operate, having some support systems, some systems processes in place, that's where you guys come in. So tell us some of the key things that you all focus on kind of together and your unique perspective is as an operator, as a management company, I'd love to hear your perspective on this as well as how you're putting some systems in place to help with the challenges.

Brett 04:13:

Chris, you know, I'll let him talk about this, but I think he's done a fantastic job of building a followership. And when I talk to him about his regionals, we talk with him about how do we interview, how do we get the right profile person, and some of those things. But he does a really great job, both with himself and with his team, and his key leaders have really encouraged them. Look, recruiting for these key positions is not just posting a job on Indeed and hiring. You should have a Rolodex of people that you can call.

Chris 04:45:

You're always recruiting and you always have to be recruiting. For me, first and foremost, one of the loves of my life was being an administrator. I loved that job, I loved doing that job. And one of the hardest parts about these last few years is that it's really taken the love and the joy out of it for a lot of people. So a lot of people have left the business, the profession, and we've got to find those people to really want to still do that work and do that job. So first and foremost, find them and then recruit like heck, and then find the fit. Not every building fits every person. And then from there, that's where the real work starts. Now you've got to support them. It's a lonely job. So you've got to create this team of people that is there for one another that the team that they work with and for. So there's so many different facets to it, but it really starts with the energy and the passion for doing the work.

Josh 05:39:

Absolutely. So you mentioned Brett, and Chris, you've done a great job at, I think you said building a following and you also mentioned always be recruiting. So that sounds easy, but probably not as easy. So what are some of the things that you're doing and you could tell our listeners some tips that have worked for you to build that following and to kind of always be in the game of recruiting. What are the things that you're doing practically?

Chris 06:04:

Well, I mean, again, recruiting is a passion. You have to be looking for the people and they can be in the weirdest spots. They can be in your church, they can be at your school, they can be on your bus, they can be at your gas station. You find the person, you find the energy and then you get them into that position. I recently hired a marketing person who was a choir director, but he's phenomenal. He loves the work and he's growing into the role. That is where it starts for me. To me, I almost try to schedule the time on a weekly basis. Like who am I reaching out to every other day? And you know, that association work, I'm involved in care providers in Minnesota, American Healthcare Association. So being on those committees, being a part of those events and seeing those people and going to the leading the life programs and seeing those people that are coming up and through you start those relationships. And then when there's time for a position now, you make the call. But you kind of got them in your pocket, so to speak.

Josh 07:05:

So transitioning from the time that hopefully you've got a following. You're out recruiting and you get someone in the door, you have that first virtual, what are some systems and tools you've put in place to ensure, I would call it almost like uniformity into ensuring that you're giving your teams the best opportunity to succeed?

Chris 07:27:

Well, first we've got to know where the strengths are. What are they good at, what do they gravitate towards and what are the things that they're not comfortable with? Putting those things in front of them as well. Sometimes someone will be afraid of confrontation, you've got to know that, and you have to mentor and grow and develop them through that. Sometimes someone might not be that strong financially, so then it's sitting down and really spending the time to go through financials and doing repetitive work of drilling and exercising that brain so that they understand. I think for me it starts with a framework of here's what the job is, here are all of the components, and how do I schedule my time and the team's time so that we get all of that information to them so that they can start to become proficient?

Chris 08:16:

When I started as an administrator and a lot of administrators, you get keys thrown at you, you get airlifted into a position and you go to battle. And that's not what we want. I mean, it's one way to learn, but it's not the best way, and only the strong survive that, but we don't have enough people to have that luxury to find the one out of 10 that will do it that way. So it's having a structure, having that job description, knowing what the tasks are, and then training to it, and then understanding the skills that that person has, shaping that around that.

Josh 08:51:

Well, it sounds like you guys actually working together here, and I'd love to hear more of how that works for our listeners to describe two partners here that are tackling the same issue together, and I'm assuming better together than what you would be a part of. You made a comment earlier that we've probably lost a lot of great team members over the last few years for all the reasons that we don't have to get back into that have just caused a lot of burnout. How do we attract those back potentially? And then how do we attract new talent? How are you guys doing that together?

Brett 09:24:

Not necessarily on the attraction, but on the process side of things that as an organization, ProCare, we just started digging into, and Chris is one of the first clients we've really, I would say started working on this process with, is there's a concept for hiring called top grading. It is super rigorous. It is best in class hiring practices. There are a couple of different books on it. The idea behind it, and Chris, a hit on this is you start with developing a scorecard. And the idea behind the scorecard is it's not just a job description, it's the job description plus. So as an example, you start with like, what's the vision statement for the role? That's the first thing you write a couple of sentences and it might be, for an ED, it's to drive the building to a community to a high level of resident satisfaction, quality of care, employee engagement, and financial results in this fashion.

Brett 10:22:

And then the other elements of the scorecard are you're actually writing down three to five things that you want this specific person to achieve in a measurable fashion over the next three years. To Chris's point that not every person's the right fit for that building community job, it might be like, Hey, we're in a really distressed property, so this person's job is, they need to improve occupancy by 30% year over year. And that's like written in the thing, this is exactly what we need, or Hey, we've got really terrible turnover at this site. It's driving a lot of agency. So a metric might be, hey, year over year, I'm expecting this particular ED to drive turnover down by 10% a year. And so you really get crystal clear on what measurable success looks like for this person in this spot?

Brett 11:14:

Then you go through and do like role competencies and cultural competencies. You put what are the KPIs we've measured to be successful? That's such a critical element when you're going to market and you're trying to find thousands of EDs that could fit any particular community. How do we figure out the right fit for this ED and this community? And I think it's going through that job scorecard process. This top grading process also has, I'll say, an upfront interview, understanding what the person's goals are to Chris's point, and what are we good at. What do I like to do professionally? What are the things I don't like to do professionally? As an example, if employee engagement isn't something that they're great at or like to do, well hey, if we're dropping them into a building that's really been struggling with employee retention, we might have the wrong fit.

Brett 12:04:

It's a really rigorous interview where you've got a panel interview, it's typically three to four hours and you actually ask the same series of 10 questions from college education all the way through their last job. And the reason is you're picking up themes. You want to understand, hey, why'd you go there? Why'd you leave? What would your boss, you know, what would your former boss say when we talked to them? Because we're going to call them, what would they say your strengths are, your weaknesses? And you start seeing the themes over the course of their career. And I think that process just helps really get you comfortable with the candidate and are they the right fit for today and this spot.

Josh 12:44:

Wow. That is such a wealth of information and you're exactly right. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach to where, hey, if you're a licensed administrator in this state, you're gonna work great at every building. You might check the compliance boxes, but does that mean that's the most successful thing that you're going to be fit for between all the product variants, whether it's a new property, a distressed property, whether it's a stabilized property? There are so many different variables. And I'm sitting here thinking what you're saying makes so much sense and I'm putting my my operator hat on them and some of the small to regional operators are thinking that makes total sense. But gosh, that sounds like I don't know if I've got enough team in my back office to support that process or how do I even create that? Where do I start, Brett? Is that where your team comes in to help come alongside the operator in that situation?

Brett 13:38:

We started doing this with our business about a year ago, and we tested it out, really worked the kinks out on how to systematize this and make it more programmatic. And I remember calling Chris and that's exactly what he said. He is like, that sounds really cool, but like I got limited time buddy. How to do all that? How am I going to execute that? We made a deal. I was like, look, read the book it's called "Who" is the name of the book. And he read it and he called me and I told him, I was like, I actually listened to it. I didn't read the book.

Josh 14:11:

It counts. Yeah, it counts.

Brett 14:13:

He called me back and he is like, okay, I get it. I'm understanding where we've all been missing the mark on hiring for so long. And then now he's going through the process of building those job scorecards. And I think the role that I play for him is bringing the idea and then being the sounding board when he gets those job scorecards done to say, do these metrics seem right? Does the vision seem right? What am I missing? Because it's a really hard process. It's one of those things that a lot I think you, I avoid because it takes like 2, 3, 4 hours of like really disciplined thought time, but then you do it and you're like, okay, is this the right thing? And having a partner who can talk you through it, I think has been hopefully valuable.

Josh 15:01:

Yeah. Well, it makes a lot of sense. I know our listeners are gonna probably want to go out if they have it and read this book that you're talking about. Drink the Kool-Aid and then when you buy into that, which I'm sure everybody's ears are already perking up, then if your organization is struggling with, well how do we create this process? How do we implement this process? We need an HR partner, then that's where Brett, your team at ProCare comes in and can make this a lot easier. And so it's great to have you as an industry partner, obviously living proof, talking to a management partner right here, making this happen. And we've got to do it because our industry is doing nothing but growing more and more communities, more diversity in the types of communities, which means the vanilla one-size-fits-all is becoming less and less appropriate, less and less needed. And so we've got to get more sophisticated, got to put in the time and the work and you know, what a great opportunity for us to grow together as an industry. Well, I appreciate you guys coming on today, and taking time out of your busy NIC schedules, our listeners will be looking forward to hearing from our great partner at ProCare and all that you guys are doing, appreciate what you're doing for the industry and helping make us better, Brett.

Brett 16:12:

Thank you. Yeah, thanks for having us. Thank you.

Josh 16:13:

Thanks for coming on, Chris. And if you want to tune into all of the show notes for our listeners who don't know, you can find us on all forms of social. You can check out our website at btgvoice.com and actually all the show notes are transcribed for you. If you want to take those and share them with your team, reach out to Brett and his team. Hope that you all have a wonderful day listening to Bridge The Gap.


Thanks for listening to Bridge The Gap podcast with Josh and Lucas. Connect with the BTG network team and use your voice to influence the industry by connecting with us at btgvoice.com.

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