By Elise Riley, for Vi
June 1, 2017 – For employees at Vi, it’s much more than having a job – it’s a career. The distinction, to them and their managers, is an important one: Good work here impacts lives.
A collection of 10 continuing care retirement communities across the nation – including two in Scottsdale – Vi provides five-star living for its residents. In addition to providing quality care, residents also enjoy a luxurious lifestyle and cuisine that resemble what’s offered at a resort. It’s a high bar to meet, and one that employees enjoy surpassing daily.
“It’s important for people to understand that Vi is a company that loves to educate and promote from within,” said Jill Wolverton, Executive Director of Vi at Silverstone in Scottsdale. “I’m an example of that. I started as an Associate Executive Director at our community in Naples. Within a year, I was here at Silverstone in Arizona.”
Promoting from within, providing training and investing in employees are foundational philosophies of Vi’s culture. They’re among the many reasons why employee retention is strong – better than many other employers in the senior living industry.
“It’s not just a meaningful place for employees to contribute to the lives of residents, we also want to give them opportunities to grow,” said Judy Whitcomb, Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Learning at Vi. “Our average employee retention is six years. It’s one of the best retention rates in the senior living industry. We know that coming to work is about more than a paycheck or benefits. It’s also about the employees feeling invested in.”
Vi’s employees work at 10 locations across the country, from San Diego to Naples, Florida. Those 3,000 employees serve 3,700+ residents, providing resident care services in addition to lifestyle services that include dining, recreation, fitness and more.
“When you look at Vi and the careers we have, it’s a combination of hospitality and resident care,” Whitcomb said. “We have positions that range from servers and concierges to nurses. In fact, one-third of our employees are care providers.”
Employees who choose a career path in one of Vi’s care centers are likely looking at work that involves the 24-hour health and well-being of residents.
Independent living residents interact with Vi employees in areas beyond resident care. Vi employs fitness instructors, lifestyle directors, drivers and coordinators who help direct and manage a portfolio of amenities for residents. Professionals interested in pursuing careers in the culinary field can work as a pastry chef, line cook or sous chef, among others.
“There are so many careers here, so many different disciplines,” Wolverton said. “And all these positions come together to make our communities beautiful for residents.”
In addition to creating a world-class living environment for residents, Vi also wants to create a best-in-class working environment for employees. As a result, residents will interact with staff members they know, like and trust, rather than seeing a continual overturn of employees who have no personal connection. These relationships, both Wolverton and Whitcomb say, are critical to both resident and employee satisfaction.
“We know that continuity matters to residents,” Whitcomb said. “We know that it’s a big decision to move to a senior living community. People want to know that the people serving them are going to be consistent. They want to be able to count on them. That connection matters.”
In fact, in both of Vi’s Scottsdale communities, residents felt such a strong connection with employees, they have generously created scholarship programs to help employees and their children pay for college.
But the residents’ scholarship isn’t the only opportunity for learning and advancement at Vi. If an employee wants to advance, Vi has programs to help them achieve including a generous tuition reimbursement program
“We invest heavily in employee training and development,” Whitcomb said. “We want our employees to learn and grow in the organization. We have stories about employees who have grown in the company – they started out as a server and today they’re a nurse.”
For seven straight years, Vi has been recognized as one of Training magazine’s top 125 organizations. This year, Chief Learning Officer magazine ranked Vi number four on its list of LearningElite organizations. And Vi has been classified as a “Learning 100” organization by E-Learning magazine for the past seven years.
Vi offers thousands of online learning classes for employees to access. Employees are encouraged to enroll in certification programs to advance their skills and potential. They can also take Rosetta Stone classes free of charge. Tuition reimbursement programs also are available, and for employees who are interested in management or leadership, Vi offers three one-year programs – the Management Development Program, the Emerging Leaders Program and the Breakthrough Leadership Program – to help develop the skills necessary for managers. All of the programs help employees develop a career path.
“I value the fact that we put an emphasis on bench strength,” Wolverton said. “It’s not common to hire people to be ready for when a position opens in the future. It’s a great testament to how our company values our talent. And I’ve seen it at every level. We look within first, always. We’re asking, ‘Is there someone who’s ready?’”
To learn more about employment opportunities with Vi, visit https://jobs.viliving.com/
Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Learning, and Organizational Development
About Vi: The Vi family of companies consists of 10 continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) across the United States. We have more than 25 years of experience as the owner/operator of residential communities for older adults, and have continued to work toward providing quality environments, services and programs to enrich the lives of those we serve. Our corporate office, located in downtown Chicago, Illinois, supports Vi's 10 communities.