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How Eclipse Senior Living Is Embedding DEI Into Their Workplace Culture

August 20, 2021 | Peter Corless

How Eclipse Senior Living Is Embedding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Into Their Workplace CultureLast week, I was joined by Sara Lee, VP of Human Resources at Eclipse Senior Living for a McKnight’s webinar, Workforce Strategies That Make A Difference.

Eclipse Senior Living is a national management company with 100+ independent living, assisted living and memory care communities in their portfolio, including Elmcroft and Embark.

We were so thrilled to be able to host this event with Sara since she and her organization are doing some incredibly innovative things to recruit and retain employees, especially on the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) front. In fact, Eclipse has been featured in numerous publications as a pioneer in this effort in the senior living industry.

And since Sara herself said Eclipse hopes their approach can be leveraged as a blueprint for the industry, I wanted to share what she covered with you all. Be sure to catch the full webinar on demand to hear more about their other workforce successes.

Sara told webinar attendees, “We believe that caring should be an equal opportunity endeavor and individuality is celebrated based on our associates’ unique contributions and this is a cornerstone to who we are.”

It’s that belief that spawned Eclipse’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, Acceptance) initiative in late 2020. The four objectives of the program are: to encourage more diverse applicants (especially for leadership); create a career pathway for university students; establish two-way mentorship and advocacy programs for existing associates that want to grow their career; and to foster more diverse leadership ranks through professional development and succession planning.

While many organizations have recently launched similar initiatives following several incidents of social unrest in 2020, these efforts require a steadfast and thoughtful approach.

“This is not a one and done, it’s one of our values,” she explains. “It’s not just enough to care about IDEA without dedicating time and attention to it.”

That’s why Eclipse has built a long-term plan and is committed to dedicating the time and resources needed to evolve and enhance IDEA. “This initiative will impact our mission, our associate experience and our company,” says Sara.

Since its inception, Eclipse has made strides in embedding the program throughout the employee journey - making it a prominent piece of orientation and onboarding and a component of every performance review, creating mentorship programs, and holding diversity and inclusion workshops.

Eclipse also makes diversity and inclusion efforts part of the daily employee experience, celebrating associates during Black History Month, Women’s History Month and other events. They’ve even begun offering a multicultural day off as a floating holiday.

“Celebrate your employees every chance you get,” Sara says. “Recognition not only boosts individual associate engagement but it’s also been found to increase productivity and loyalty to a company, leading to higher retention.” Additionally, she says recognition showcases what success looks like at your organization, so other staff members can follow suit. “It reinforces the desired culture,” she explains.

“Celebrate your employees every chance you get. Recognition not only boosts individual associate engagement but it’s also been found to increase productivity and loyalty to a company, leading to higher retention.” 
- Sara Lee, VP of Human Resources, Eclipse Senior Living

The future holds some exciting additions to their program, including building out a library of resources and materials for associates on their intranet, launching associate groups such as a virtual roundtable to share evidence-based information to inform policy, and creating a charter advisory committee for developing company-wide initiatives.

“When we come together as an industry to create a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming space, a domino effect of change can occur, from leadership to associates and the residents that we care for,” Sara says.

I’d like to thank Sara for sharing Eclipse’s approach to DEI with us. To hear how her organization is driving recruitment and retention results, watch the on-demand webinar.

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About Peter Corless

Peter Corless is Executive Vice President of Enterprise Development for OnShift. Peter is a recognized HR leader in post-acute care and is well-known for his achievements at some of the country’s largest post-acute care organizations, including Kindred Healthcare and Genesis HealthCare. As an experienced, chief administrative and human resources officer within these organizations, he developed strategies that reduced turnover, improved recruiting and hiring strategies, and reduced labor costs.

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