The Square
News and perspectives from Covia.

Covia has been ranked as one of the 2020 Best Workplaces for Aging Services by Great Place to Work® and FORTUNE magazine. Covia took the number 17 spot on the list, the second time it has been rated in the top 50.

Kevin Gerber, President and CEO of Covia, says, “We have always been proud of Covia’s employees for their excellence. It is our employees who make us a Great Place to Work. We want to thank them for this honor, and for being part of Covia.”

In July, Covia administered the Trust Index survey, designed to measure aspects of trust in the organization, such as respect, fairness, pride, camaraderie, and credibility. With a participation rate of 94% of employees, Covia received an overall Trust Index score of 75%, and 83% of employees said Covia is a great place to work.

“Having a response rate of 94% of employees makes this year different,” says Gerber. “We can feel confident that we have a clear picture of our strengths and opportunities as an employer of choice.”

Covia scored highest on the statements “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community” (88%); “When you join the company, you are made to feel welcome” (87%); “I’m proud to tell others I work here” (86%); and “This is a physically safe place to work” (86%) – especially notable this year as COVID-19 has disproportionately affected senior living.

The Best Workplaces for Aging Services stand out for excelling in a competitive industry. “In addition to physical safety, the overall well-being of our employees is important to us,” says Prab Brinton, VP of Human Resources. “Along with ensuring appropriate levels of personal protective equipment (PPE), we created an Essential Support program to help with unexpected costs, adjust and accommodate time off needs, provide additional funds, and help make sure our employees were finding ways to recharge.” The program, which started in April, was developed based on feedback from more than 600 employees.

“Everyone knows the greater cause as to why we’re here and that is for the residents,” one employee commented. “Especially in the strange times that we’re all experiencing, I have witnessed how everyone pulls together to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for the residents and us as employees.”

“The value of creating great workplaces for all is a clear competitive edge in the Aging Services sector,” said Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. “When organizations like Covia treat their own people with care and respect, you can expect their staff to treat your loved ones with that same care.”

“The effect of engaged employees has magnified in the aging services sector, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Jacquelyn Kung, CEO of Activated Insights, the senior care data analytics company for Great Place to Work. “We have found that organizations that have maintained or increased employee engagement during this year’s challenges have been able to be more resilient, provide enhanced care, and perform better.”

The Best Workplaces for Aging Services™ is one of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE based on employee feedback from Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations.

All five Covia Communities are among the 21% of U.S. skilled nursing facilities that have been recognized as a Best Nursing Home for 2020-21 by U.S. News & World Report.

The communities received Best Nursing Homes status by achieving a rating of “High Performing,” the highest possible rating, for Short-Term Rehabilitation, Long-Term Care, or both. Canterbury Woods in Pacific Grove, St. Paul’s Towers in Oakland, and San Francisco Towers all received the recognition for Short Term Rehabilitation. Webster House Health Center in Palo Alto was recognized for its Long Term Care. And Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa received the honor for both Short Term and Long Term care.

U.S. News gives the designation of Best Nursing Home only to those homes that satisfy U.S. News’s assessment of the appropriate use of key services and consistent performance in quality measures. This year, to accompany the new ratings, nursing home profile pages were updated to include a patient safety summary that reflects COVID-19 data alongside other measurements of safety and related advice on choosing a home or facility amidst the pandemic.

“I am so proud of all our Covia teams and their leadership, especially their implementation of the infection prevention processes that resulted in exceptional resident outcomes during this challenging pandemic,” says Cynthia Shelby, Covia’s Regional Director of Quality and Care, RN, RAC-CT.

All of the communities noted the extraordinary care and efforts given by their team members. Max Brodsky, Health Care Administrator at San Francisco Towers, says, “As I make my rounds checking in with the residents staying at the Health Center, one thing I hear over and over is ‘You have the most wonderful staff working here. They are kind, hard-working, and always do their best.’  It’s our culture of respect and integrity, and staff who embrace our philosophy that makes us the best and a five star facility.”

At St. Paul’s Towers, Health Care Administrator Connie Yuen says, “Our staff works from the kindness and love in their hearts. We’ve been told time and time again we do not work with patients, we work with residents that become a part of our family that we love and care for. The staff go above and beyond to connect with residents and take it a step further by providing updates, photos and spontaneous phone calls to give loved ones peace of mind.” Executive Director Mary Linde adds, “We at SPT are delighted to be among the best nursing homes in the country.  But it comes as no surprise because we see the care, and the relationships that drive that care, on a daily basis. I believe the staff in our SPT SNF are, indeed, among the best in the industry.”

Kris Hermanson, Health Care Administrator at Spring Lake Village which was rated as High Performing for both Short Term and Long Term care, says, “It’s satisfying knowing you are giving quality care to our residents who deserve and have earned it!”

Now in its 11th year, the U.S. News Best Nursing Homes ratings and profiles offer comprehensive information about care, safety, health inspections, staffing and more for nearly all of the nation’s 15,000-plus nursing homes. The Best Nursing Homes ratings reflect U.S. News’ exclusive analysis of publicly available data using a methodology defined by U.S. News that evaluates factors that it has determined most greatly impact patient and resident care, safety, and outcomes.   

“U.S. News strives to provide access to information that allows consumers to make educated decisions on all types of care,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “Updating the profiles to include a patient safety summary that highlights COVID-19 data paired with other measures of care arms families, caregivers and patients with the information needed to make a decision that keeps safety at the highest priority.” 

The Best Nursing Home finder features ratings on both long-term and short-term care. The Long-Term Care Rating aims to provide prospective residents who need help with daily activities, and their families, with analysis and information regarding the quality of care provided by nursing homes. The rating includes data on staffing, success in preventing ER visits and pneumonia vaccination rates, among other metrics. The short-term rating incorporates measures of quality including consistency of registered nurse staffing, use of antipsychotic drugs and success in preventing falls.

U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A digital news and information company focused on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and News USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information behind both U.S. News ratings please refer to the FAQ.

Covia and Jobvite have been recognized for their partnership in talent acquisition by the 2020 Brandon Hall Group Human Capital Management (HCM) Excellence Awards. The two organizations were awarded Silver for Best Advance in Talent Acquisition Process, and will be recognized at the HCM Excellence Conference in January, 2021.

For the past three years, Jobvite, a comprehensive talent acquisition suite that offers a marketing-inspired approach to recruiting, has collaborated with Covia to streamline Covia’s workflow and automate recruiting tasks. Covia also worked with Jobvite to launch a new career site in an effort to better market company culture and simplify the application process.

“By integrating with Jobvite, we were able to save a minimum of 600 recruiting hours per year with the HRIS integration, and elevate the talent acquisition team as a strategic service for attracting higher quality candidates,” said Prab Brinton, Covia VP of Human Resources. “Jobvite has reimagined our recruiting efforts and made us nimbler and more effective, and I’m so thrilled that our partnership is being honored by Brandon Hall Group.”

“We are so proud Covia is being recognized for its work, and the Jobvite team is excited to be along for their talent acquisition improvement journey,” said Aman Brar, Jobvite CEO. “Covia has always strived to hire the best candidates who support its mission of cultivating healthy communities for aging adults. We just made it easier for them to engage with a larger pool of high-quality applicants and achieve their talent goals.”

Since the inception of its partnership with Jobvite, Covia has achieved a 33% increase in applicant numbers and a remarkable 90% automation of the hiring process using Jobvite services, including digitization, easy-apply, AI technologies, and more.

“This award shows that the Covia organization is open to new ideas that will help move our business forward in a constantly changing world,” said Wendy Dugan, Covia’s HR Business Partner for Talent Acquisition. “Our culture continues to evolve and adjust to new environments and I’m excited that we are able to stay on top of our game and recruit top talent.”

Having an automated recruitment process in place before the start of the pandemic has allowed Covia to continue recruiting without missing a beat. “We didn’t have to think about a ‘socially distanced’ application process as we had already implemented it with Jobvite’s easy-apply, electronic screening forms, automated calendaring and video interviews. With these systems in place, we didn’t lose any time as the pandemic created new job openings,” said Brinton.

“Building the system before the pandemic was invaluable,” said Dugan. “From my vantage point, it really has been business as usual when it comes to recruiting.”

The HCM Excellence Awards is the most prestigious and longest-running recognition program in human capital management. Brandon Hall Group’s industry-standard awards program recognizes organizations that successfully deployed HCM programs achieving superior and measurable results.

Award entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall Group analysts and executives based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation, and overall measurable benefits. A full list of the winners for the HCM Excellence Awards is available here.

In addition to receiving this award, Covia is presenting at Recruiter Nation Live, sponsored by Jobvite, on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. To learn more about Jobvite, visit www.jobvite.com.

Annette Balter, Covia’s Director of Senior Resources for Contra Costa County, was recently named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary Club of Lamorinda Sunrise for her work in developing the Rotary Home Team program throughout the Bay Area.

Rotary Home Team sends teams of Rotarians into their community to provide free, basic home maintenance and repairs to older adults. It was created by Hays Englehart, a member of the Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary, who was inspired by the time spent with his own father going through the list of small repairs that needed to be done when Englehart came to visit.

“He’d sit there with a glass of wine and he’d be the supervisor. After my dad died, I kind of missed that. And I said, ‘There’s got to be other seniors out there that need this service. They don’t have a son or neighbor to be there. Let me check into that.’ Sure enough, there was a huge need.”

At a holiday dinner, Englehart shared his idea with his cousin, Terry Englehart, who worked for Covia (then called Episcopal Senior Communities) as the original creator of Well Connected. “I asked ‘What do you think?’ She said, ‘That’s a great idea! Let me put you in touch with some people.’ And that’s where it started.”

In 2010, Rotary Home Team launched in Contra Costa County. “The very first time was a cold February day. I remember it like yesterday,” says Englehart. “I was trying to guess what we would need to take with us. I took some basic hand tools and said we’d figure it out as we go. So we went, and I think we had three or four requests and the learning process started.”

Repairs can range from fixing a leaky toilet to changing smoke alarm batteries to making sure doors move freely. Annette Balter explains, “Rotary Home Team literally keeps the lights on for older adults who can’t change lightbulbs in their high ceilings! Fixing little things around the home is a unique service for people who aren’t able to do these jobs themselves any longer, and for whom the cost of hiring someone is prohibitive.”

But Englehart says, “The most interesting thing is the people, not what we’re fixing. Because half of HOME Team we’ve found is just visiting with the seniors, talking with them, learning about their friends and family and how long they’ve been there.”

From its first club, Rotary Home Team has expanded to 23 throughout California, ranging from Weaverville to Encinitas. Covia’s role is to support the 17 clubs in its service area, providing program administration, follow up, support, and outreach.

Balter has conducted outreach and made presentations to many local Rotary Clubs over the past two and a half years, expanding the program in Contra Costa County from 5 clubs to 13. But she wants to see more growth in the future. “I would love to expand the program in each of the seven Bay Area counties that Covia serves,” she says.

Balter’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by Rotary. “Our Rotary Club of Lamorinda Sunrise presented Annette Balter our most prestigious award, a Paul Harris Fellowship, for her superior service to the Rotary Home Team cause,” says Englehart. “Annette has worked diligently with us for many years and the Home Team program has grown exponentially directly due to her efforts. The award is the highest award a Rotary Club can bestow on a Non-Rotarian and it doesn’t happen very often.”

And this growth is having a real impact. In 2017 in Contra Costa County alone, Rotary HOME Team provided 318 visits to 244 seniors. This year, with new clubs involved, Englehart says, “I’m estimating we’re visiting about 100 seniors every two months. That’s 600 a year. You do the math. That’s the kind of impact that is pretty quantifiable.”

But the impact also comes down to the individuals they serve. “Our oldest participant in the program is a 103 year old woman in Walnut Creek,” says Balter. “She calls every time we have a Rotary Home Team work day. The volunteers love visiting her!”

Englehart agrees. “I don’t tell people how to fix things. They’re supposed to know that. But here’s how we talk to our seniors. That’s why you’re going out. We want you to be able to do that. Each Rotarian that goes out there and sees that and walks away, they have that very positive feeling. We’ve done something. We didn’t just replace a battery. We really helped.”

If your Rotary club is interested in participating in Rotary Home Team, please email info@rotaryhometeam.com. For more information, visit the Covia Rotary Home Team webpage at https://covia.org/services/rotary-home-team/ or the Rotary Home Team website at http://www.rotaryhometeam.com/.

For 30 years, Great Place to Work (GPTW) has been recognizing outstanding workplace cultures and producing the annual FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For®” and FORTUNE Best Workplaces lists. This year, Covia has been recognized by GPTW and was recently certified as a Great Place to Work.

Previously, Covia had been recognized as a Best Place to Work in the Bay Area. With the Great Place to Work certification, Covia is being recognized on a national level for its workplace culture.

“Covia is filled with passionate people, and is a fun, open, energetic and inclusive environment,” says Prab Brinton, VP of Human Resources. “The company has strong values and guiding principles – everyone from the top down is committed to making a difference in the lives of seniors.”

Along with market rate and affordable senior housing, Covia offers community services programs such as Well Connected, offering activities and support groups by phone or online nationwide, and Market Day, making fresh fruit and produce available in locations that are more accessible to seniors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Covia is now eligible to appear on the Best Workplaces lists, including Best Workplaces in Aging Services.

This is the first time GPTW has offered a survey and assessment specifically for the Senior Care/Aging Services industry.  According to Alana Perriello from Great Place to Work’s senior care affiliate Activated Insights, “Every organization right now is moving towards and trying to be a purpose-driven organization. What Great Places to Work and Fortune really like about us [in Aging Services] is that’s innately what we do. We help seniors live their best life possible. It’s not something we have to construct.”

Over 650 Covia staff responded to the Great Place to Work survey which asked questions based on five dimensions of employee trust: respect, fairness, credibility, pride, and camaraderie. The results: 81 percent of Covia employees say their workplace is great with 88 percent saying “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.”

Covia’s profile describes not only the results of the survey, but some of Covia’s unique perks and programs that support its employees, such as Success Sharing, Education Assistance, and free CEUs.

Brinton says, “If you are looking for a job where the work is meaningful and rewarding – work here!  Your day to day work brings great joy, care and kindness to the seniors that live in our communities and in the places we serve.”

The list of Best Workplaces in Aging Services will be published in Fortune on September 27, 2018.

For the 5th year in a row, Spring Lake Village has been named Best of Sonoma County by the readers of the Press Democrat. Along with this honor, this year Spring Lake Village also received the 2018 NuStep Gold Pinnacle Award® for excellence in wellness programming.

A Covia Life Plan Community in Santa Rosa, California, Spring Lake Village provides homes and services for over 450 seniors. It is the only senior living community in Sonoma County that offers the full continuum of care: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and a 5-star Medicare rated 70-bed skilled nursing and rehab center.

Built on 31 acres, the community is located on Santa Rosa Creek and next to Trione-Annadel State Park and Spring Lake Regional Park. Its amenities include fine and casual dining options, a pool and fitness center, on-site resident health services, spiritual care, a full activity calendar, as well as resident-led programs.

“These sparkling residents are committed to the community with the Committees they organize and run to make this campus their own. Every voice is welcomed here and heard,” says Judy Haley, Director of Sales and Marketing.

Find out more about Spring Lake Village on their website.