Tallgrass Creek #1 in resident satisfaction

Created date

July 14th, 2009
Tallgrass Creek didn t need years of experience to get things right. Open just under two years, the full-service community in Overland Park achieved an unprecedented 90.7% satisfaction among the people who live there in its 2008 resident satisfaction survey. Not only that, but it scored highest among all 20 Erickson Retirement Communities, a company that has grown to become one of the largest and most respected full-service community developers in the nation. Tallgrass Creek is the second youngest Erickson community. Survey specifics The resident satisfaction survey was conducted by Holleran Consulting, an independent research firm in Pennsylvania. The firm was hired by the Tallgrass Creek board of directors and conducts the surveys for all Erickson communities. The board of directors feels that resident satisfaction is one of the most important indicators of whether we are maintaining a high-quality community, says Tallgrass Creek Executive Director John Harned. Of the 90% of residents who completed and returned the survey, 97% said they would recommend Tallgrass Creek to a friend. Additionally, 94.2% stated they believe the accounting department is responsive to inquiries and 93% believe the department is efficient and accurate. Results like that are vital in this economy, especially for a budding community. We are off to an excellent start, Harned stated in a letter to residents. Always looking forward Harned says he s pleased with the community s high score, but he s not surprised. We planned for achieving the highest level of resident satisfaction a year before the community even opened, he says of the entire staff. So it s engrained in us. It s part of what we do every day. Staff members perform self assessments daily, weekly, and monthly. In team meetings as well as resident committee meetings, they focus on every factor of their services to create a feedback loop. Residents have created their own committees to serve as conduits between residents and staff. Committees include dining services, which acts as the liaison between residents and the on-campus restaurant and catering; resident life, which manages activities and clubs; and general services, which serves as the go-between for residents and the community s maintenance team. Committees meet with Harned once a month to express and discuss concerns or suggestions. These conversations allow us to continue looking forward and make positive changes, Harned says. It s not retrospective; it s prospective. Paula Dunmire, who chairs the resident life committee, commends the system. The residents and staff work together. Everything that we say is a concern, the staff takes to heart. And as long as it s a reasonable request, they fix it. But, she says, we re not a complaint department! We made sure of that. A few examples of changes made as a result of recommendations from the resident life committee include modifications to the dog park, which had an area where small dogs could escape; availability of cold drinks at all hours on campus; and the creation of a community wood shop. It s the little things that make it work and make us all happy, Dunmire says of life at Tallgrass Creek. I think the reason we got such a high score on resident satisfaction is because we all feel loved here, we feel safe here, and we feel well fed here. Our needs are met. Plan of action No matter how high the resident satisfaction score, Harned says there s always room for improvement. In response to the survey, his team created an action plan to address suggestions. For example, Tallgrass Creek hired a new landscape contractor. Residents wanted to see some changes in the exterior maintenance, Harned explains. The new contractors spoke at a town meeting to discuss the changes they would make. That s something the old contractor never did. But Harned doesn t only credit those who serve; he credits those who receive. They are a wonderful group of people, he says of everyone who lives at the community, and I m humbled to serve them in their lives every day.