Nowadays, it feels like we have such little time to stop, take a breather, and realize all the progress we are making in our work. When our professional lives have become so caught up in deadlines and assignments, it’s difficult to appreciate the work that has been done. We even tend to forget why we set out to do the work we do and this can devastate employee motivation.

Matt Reiners, Co-Founder of Eversound, recently interviewed Shanna Eckberg, Chief Operating Officer at American Baptist Homes of the Midwest (ABHM), on the importance of employee motivation and appreciating staff for all their hard work in serving senior residents.

In the senior living industry, staff recruitment and retention are always buzz topics. When asked how she and her organization motivates teams, Shanna responded with three tips to ground employees:

Tip #1 Transparency is key

“When there’s a lot going on and sometimes you don’t know what to do, you have to stick with being consistent, transparent, and just keep moving forward,” Shanna said.

Transparency is really crucial during times of uncertainty. Keeping people informed and up to date eases unnecessary stress employees face. Letting staff know what’s going on in the community through transparent communication also benefits the residents as they feel safer or more prepared for different issues that may arise.

It is also important when it comes to the hiring process. Shanna explains the importance of streamlining the hiring process. Consistent and honest contact with prospective hires shows the reliability of the company. Transparency throughout the hiring process also sets the expectations for new employees to communicate just as honestly and consistently in return once they start their new job.

Tip #2 Recognize hard work

“We need to make sure we’re appreciating people because they are working so hard to serve our folks,” Shanna said. “We want to remind people to still have fun.”

Shanna explained that rewards for hard work can be motivating for staff. To recognize hard work at ABHM, Shanna and her team brought in food trucks for the community. During the pandemic, residents and staff were able to eat food and spend time together, socially distanced from each other.

“Our team is one of our most important assets and we want to serve them, as they help us serve our residents and families,” Shanna said.

Recognition of hard work allows employees to see that they are valued and appreciated by their company. If employees receive little feedback or their work goes unnoticed, their motivation to continue doing work diminishes. By recognizing the hard work of employees, their levels of happiness and productivity will drastically increase.

Tip #3 Remember the “Why”

“Making people feel heard is crucial,” Shanna said. “It is reminding them why we do what we do, why we serve seniors, why healthcare. Your why is really, really important.”

When employees get caught up in the hustle and bustle of their work, it can be difficult to remember why they set out to do the work they do. Most people who work in the senior living industry are dedicated to improving the quality of life for older adults in the community. Other employees may have a different “why.” Once the “why” is remembered, that spark and passion that drives employee motivation will shine through the work they do.

At Eversound, our “why” is to help improve the quality of life for at-risk seniors. We are dedicated to building technology that can change lives. Our advanced listening systems allow seniors, especially those with hearing loss and focus issues, to better communicate and engage with people on a daily basis. Learn more about our “why” at