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From Turnover to Teamwork with The Five Behaviors®

From Turnover to Teamwork with The Five Behaviors<sup>®</sup>

Feb 09, 2024 | 5 min read

What would you do if half of your leadership team was ready to quit? Ohio Living Mount Pleasant took it as an opportunity to rediscover their team’s passion and purpose.

Introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between make up today’s workforce. While each person is unique, everyone shares the need to feel engaged and valued at work. Unfortunately, some organizations may overlook employee engagement while focusing solely on daily operations and change management. This can lead to difficulty retaining employees and result in costly consequences.

The investment to keep employees engaged is no comparison to the resources, time, and energy it takes to replace them. In a study conducted by the Center for American Progress, “the cost of losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of their salary for hourly or unsalaried employees, to 213% of the salary for a highly trained position. So, if a highly trained leader makes $120,000 a year, the true loss could be up to $255,600 to the company.” This estimate does not include the even greater potential costs to productivity, service quality, and customer satisfaction, or the morale and burnout of employees covering for that position until someone new is hired.

For Ohio Living, losing employees was a significant hardship. Ohio Living is the largest and most experienced not-for-profit provider of life plan communities (a type of senior living community offering tiered lifestyle and healthcare options on one campus) and services in Ohio, serving more than 73,000 people annually. Their mission is to provide adults with caring and quality services toward the enhancement of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. As turnover threatened to take a turn for the worse, Ohio Living’s investment in employee engagement saved one of its leadership teams from walking out the door.

Staying True to Their Values

Ohio Living strives to exceed their residents’, clients’, and patients’ expectations. Dana Ullom-Vucelich, Chief Human Resources and Ethics Officer, sought out opportunities that would help them put their values into action.

She connected with an Authorized Partner of The Five Behaviors®, a unique team program based on the New York Times best-selling fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni. The learning experience helps teams and individuals discover what it takes to become a truly cohesive and productive team by utilizing The Five Behaviors model of Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results.

After going through the program with her team, Ullom-Vucelich arranged for all the locations across the Ohio Living organization to have access to this powerful tool. “Even as optimal as we’ve been told that we are…we had a lot of a-ha moments, tears, and the unearthing of deep-seated challenges, and we grew. We got better individually and collectively,” she said. The Five Behaviors turned out to be the solution that would completely transform the nursing leadership team for one of their life plan communities.

Creating Change at Ohio Living Mount Pleasant

From the residents’ point of view, being part of Ohio Living’s Mount Pleasant community was great. Mount Pleasant had superior ratings from regulatory agencies, customer satisfaction surveys, and more. However, like all workplaces, this seemingly ideal community faced internal challenges. Soon, these issues grew too big to ignore.

Nurse leaders struggled to work together and did not fully trust each other. They worked in silos, defined success on their own terms, and failed to treat team members with the same level of care and support that they provided every day to their residents and clients. Tension was so high that four out of eight nurse leaders were ready to leave the organization.

Losing half of the nursing leadership team would be an enormous loss for Mount Pleasant. Morale would significantly drop, and the cost of replacing four leaders would be a huge challenge. As the youngest administrator within Ohio Living, Josie Browning Haney did not buckle under the stress. Instead, she sought out a Five Behaviors Authorized Partner for help.

Discovering a Shared Voice

The Authorized Partner met with each nurse leader individually and discovered that despite their struggles and frustration in the workplace, they were deeply passionate about their work. Each wanted to make a positive difference for those they served, but they couldn’t seem to heal their own relationships. To become a stronger team, they needed to gain a better understanding of each other, not just as nurse leaders, but as people outside of Mount Pleasant.

When we work together, we're so much stronger than when we are working in our silos. - Josie Browning Haney

The Authorized Partner took the team through The Five Behaviors program, which is powered by the Everything DiSC® personality inventory to help them enhance their relationships. By gaining insights into each other’s personality styles, the nurse leaders developed an appreciation for the individual talents on the team.

Trusting the Process

On the surface, The Five Behaviors program seemed overwhelming. “When I was told the amount of time it would take to experience real change, I couldn’t see how we could make that happen,” said Haney. “I really wanted a quick fix. How on earth was I going to have eight key leaders out of the building for one day every month?”

However, she took the risk and made The Five Behaviors a priority. Moving forward with the program made a statement about Ohio Living’s values. The organization’s stance was clear: “We believe in you… We hear that you’re having challenges. And we want you to be happy here [for years to come].”

The Five Behaviors Model in a pyramid formation starting with Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and, at the top, Results.

The team started with trust, the foundation of The Five Behaviors model. This proved to be the most intense, yet transformative part of the program for the Mount Pleasant team. It required them to step back from the demands of the healthcare industry and reflect on their purpose—as individuals and as a team. They addressed important questions about their work. “Why did we choose long-term care? What do we want our legacy to be? How can we make this place better than it was before we got here?”

This process helped the team identify their shared values and purpose. More importantly, connecting these personal experiences renewed their trust in one another. “Every member of the team had genuine motivation and true authenticity to the mission of this organization,” said Haney. Coming to this realization helped create grace within the team and unite the nurse leaders in a new way.

The Healthy Side of Conflict

Setting the foundation of vulnerability-based trust helped ease the team into the next behavior: conflict. With half of the team ready to leave the organization, it was clear that they needed to learn how to trust each other to engage in productive conflict. The Five Behaviors helped the nurse leaders understand that directly addressing conflict is one of the best things they can do for their team. Engaging in productive conflict helps them find the best possible solution in the shortest amount of time.

“We’re learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable,” said Haney. “How we handle conflict is easier and not taken personally. We know what the end goal is. We want our organization to be the best version of itself.”

The team met with their Authorized Partner monthly to learn about the remaining behaviors - commitment, accountability, and results. They learned how to intentionally incorporate all five behaviors into their teamwork. Their greatest accomplishment from the program was that they remained an intact team from start to finish, emerging stronger than ever.

An Unforeseen Test of Teamwork

Shortly after completing the program, unexpected circumstances challenged the team like never before. A fire spread through a residential wing of the Mount Pleasant facility when its roof got struck by lightning. With the help of leaders and staff across the community, all residents were quickly and safely evacuated from the building.

News coverage screengrab with the title 'Fire breaks out at retirement village Monroe,' and firetrucks extinguishing the fire in the background.

The emergency not only required calm and cohesive teamwork but also called for caring and authentic leadership to face the aftermath. Residents and employees were displaced and in need of relocation. Ensuring residents received care and services immediately following the fire and during the building’s reconstruction phase was an immense logistical feat. “They had the foundation to continue to optimize in a situation that was not optimal,” said Ullom-Vucelich.

The nurse leaders went beyond their work roles—they were first responders, healers, listeners, and confidants. If half of the team had left the organization before The Five Behaviors sessions, moving forward would have been nearly impossible. The team credited the program for their strength and teamwork that carried them through this physical and emotional obstacle.

The nurse leaders worked together to provide excellent care to everyone involved, including each other. They recognized when someone needed a break and when they could step in to support one another. This compassionate care strengthened the team and took them to a completely new level.

A Team Transformation

Overcoming this crisis was not the only proof of the team’s growth. Ten months after the team’s first Five Behaviors session, the Authorized Partner ran The Five Behaviors Progress Report to assess the team’s development. The report showed a significant increase in all five behaviors. Areas that were particularly challenging for them developed into areas of strength.

The team now performs with an even higher level of energy and efficiency that radiates throughout the community. “Now I see why the investment in time and resources was so important. There were many things we needed to work through together,” said Haney. “We are grateful to have gone on this journey and are proud of our progress. We are each stronger and better versions of ourselves.”

The Five Behaviors program completely restored the team's purpose and faith in teamwork.

“I believe the nursing leadership team is committed to the residents of Ohio Living Mount Pleasant now, more than ever,” Haney said. “Developing as a cohesive team has been a significant return on our investment. We have learned to trust and rely on one another for strength, accountability, growth, and support. Instead of potentially losing half of this talented team, everyone is still here, sharing their expertise and passion for the work they love. Their spirit of collaboration continues to be a gift to all of us.” Learn how The Five Behaviors can help your teams soar.

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