Feeling Critiqued Versus Evaluated in Senior Living?

Feeling Critiqued Versus Evaluated in Senior Living?
Do They Feel Harshly Criticized?

Do They Feel Harshly Criticized?

“Critique” and “evaluate” are two simple words but often misconstrued by the receiver.

In a recent team meeting, one department head described how one of her staff cries every time she tries to critique her.  This makes it very difficult for this supervisor to work with her employee.  The senior living team brainstormed together.  Another department head said that it really should be called “evaluating performance” of the staff member and not critiquing.

It is the responsibility of supervisors in senior living communities to continually evaluate his or her residents and document everything (particularly in skilled nursing care, assisted living and memory care).  It sounds so simple, yet when a supervisor starts evaluating the caregiver providing the care to the resident…it can be misinterpreted as harsh criticism.

Hopefully, supervisors continually critique themselves and try to improve their own coaching skills.  How is a supervisor approaching an employee to administer an evaluation or yearly review?  Everyone has different personalities and some supervisor’s direct approach can be confrontational to another personality type.  Our marketing team just read, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie.  It is an excellent book on how to interact with other employees.  Evaluations should be capitalized on as a teaching opportunity, so the evaluated employee can continually improve.

Can you share how you evaluate your senior living employees?  How do you handle an employee who reacts negatively and turns the performance improvement plan into a personal attack on them?

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at Amazon.com with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.

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  1. Well said, Diane. It is interesting that the difference is often how the manager perceives the delivery. In my realm, it applies equally to sales coaching. I am often asked to mentor a sales manager. I sometimes cringe as I listen to the feedback given to a sales person; critique would be putting it mildly. I recommend they follow your advice and view their role as a positive reinforcement of what they did well . Only then, offer constructive suggestions for course correction. I will add that it must be followed with support from the manager(in writing) as to what they will do to help the employee improve. Thanks…good read!

    • Yes, Roni – I have cringed too. Some people’s evaluations surprise me. You have got to believe in your people and have them be inspired to rise to the occasion.

  2. Hi Dianne:

    Unfortunately, many managers use the employee evaluation as a tool to document poor performance in case of a future need to discharge an employee. Many managers are concerned about writing favorable employee evaluations for fear of the employee’s performance declining in the future and the need to end the employment relationship. How would it look to have a glowing evaluation for several years and then having to fire an employee?

    It is very hard to evaluate someone fairly. It may be best to have employees complete self-evaluations that can be reviewed with the manager. Have the employee set goals and the manager add or remove them as necessary. Separate this evaluation process from the documentation necessary for employee counseling.

    Hope you find this helpful. Regards, Dr. Steven Ross/Former Executive Director/Freedom Village

    • Great comment Steven! You brought another great insight to the conversation.

  3. Boomers: Aging Beats The Alternative

    In my experience, employees vary widely in terms of responding to constructive criticism. Some people are happy for any feedback and others bridle against any hint that their performance is less than stellar and argue about it. Others act like they hear you, but later deny that you told them anything. The best you can do is to make sure you tell them what they are doing right. That often helps!
    By Lorie Eber

    • Absolutely Lorie! I have always believed in the sandwich approach when I have to talk to someone about something they may need improvement doing. I start by talking about an area where they excel and praise them for it then move into ” an area where you might need to improve….” Then finish the conversation with another positive. ” and I am so glad that you always…”
      Starting with something good takes the stress off of being called in for an evaluation and ending with a positive helps to send them back to work feeling good and hopefully wanting to do better.
      By Kathryn Watson

      • I am a very direct person and found that most employees appreciated being told the truth about their performance. They want to know where they stand. A lot of supervisors are reluctant to deliver bad news,.
        By Lorie Eber

        • Evaluations vary widely. To some supervisors, evaluations are a simple tool to help an employee’s performance. Other supervisors have never been trained on how to write up or conduct an evaluation. You end up with a miserable employee who does not want to work for a mean boss. Much is in the delivery and if the employee truly believes the supervisor has their best interests at heart.

  4. Linked In Selling Senior Living

    Good post Diane. What my company does is related to this topic. For those companies that have never evaluated their sales team via the mystery shop process, I always recommend they have their staff either listen to their audio or view their video first to self evaluate. Then they can look at their report that we generate. Allow the staff member to participate in the process, self evaluate and then meet with management to discuss where improvements are needed. It is hard for some people not to take this process personally. But it is so important to learn to separate performance from your personal feelings to achieve professional success.
    By Mary LeBlanc

    • Great ideas Mary!

  5. Linked In Long-term Care Industry Professionals Group

    Great little article. I wholeheartedly agree with it in the fact that as a supervisor (in all forms of management not just the senior living realm) it is extremely critical to tailor each piece of coaching to each specific individual. Via this customization not only is the individual less likely to view it merely as criticism, he or she is much more likely to actually implement any suggested reforms moving forward.
    By Luke Walters

  6. Linked In Marketing to Seniors

    It is not easy for a senior employee to be evaluated by a (younger) manager. Often the senior has more experience and a deeper understanding of the job at hand, but he or she is not aware of the objectives of the manager or of the company.
    So it is a good thing to bring up the job at hand, and to evaluate or even critique the results, but on the other hand, the goals of the superior should be clear to the senior employee, and she of he should agree with them.
    In the world of care, the job of giving care to people can often crash with the objectives of an organization… And that’s difficult to express by a senior employee, hence the tears…
    By Dirk Ampoorter

    • Good point Dirk on being evaluated by a younger employee.