Key things to help you everyday

‘Human connection’ – is this your job?

Everyone likes to feel ‘connected’.

In fact the World Health Organisation and Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs both identify that one of the key attributes for wellness is human connection.

But is connecting residents in your village and their wellness in your job description?

It is common knowledge that residents join villages often for the sense of community.

Multiple surveys and research outcomes over the last decade find that in fact one of the most satisfying aspects of village life for residents is the sense of community, interaction with neighbours and the human connection experienced.

We all get that. But….

The resident journey

As operators we promise a lifestyle… which for most residents is enjoyed in its fullest in their early years in a village; but what happens when residents start to age? They experience an increase in frailty, poorer health, and ultimately their ability to access social activities in the wider community or within the village decline.

For instance Bob moved into the village 15 years ago with his wife who has recently passed.  Bob has been always played bowls twice a week and he continues to see many of his friends. 

However a month after his wife passed Bob had a stroke which has resulted in his loss of his drivers license. Without his license and his wife he now finds getting out to social activities difficult, so he starts to spend more time just at home, rarely attending Happy Hour or other village functions as it is not the same on his own.

What is our duty of care or what role should we play in assisting Bob remain connected?  Part of the appeal in moving into a community is the promise of connection, neighbourhoods, lifestyle, social activity etc…. 

A Village Manager can play a pivotal role in helping Bob remain connected, social and active.

Perhaps you can put a system in place to check in on Bob over the first 6 months? Talk with Bob about what are the options he might like to access to remain socially connected.

Can you assist Bob by linking him up with someone at the Bowls Club that may drive past, or is going from the village?

Can you link Bob with a buddy from the village to attend some of the social functions?

Do you have a village Friends and Neighbours Support group of volunteers that may be able to help from time to time?

Can you show Bob how easy it is to access Uber? 

Would Bob perhaps qualify for some social transport under a home care package – can you point him in the right direction?

Wellbeing and reward

The wellbeing of residents as they age will rely on the skill of the Village Manager to be proactive and identify the steps in each resident’s journey, and the resources and knowledge to be able to support them to access opportunities for social and human connection.

In our experience the positive impact is fast and incredibly rewarding – for residents and your own job satisfaction.

To give you some ideas you can also check this terrific video by Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT, on their 10K Project. (Click HERE). 

What the research tells us

Understanding differences between Veterans residents and Baby Boomers

This is a resident subject that is often talked about but so easily forgotten – but it is really important to understand.

Up until now most of the people joining retirement villages come from the Veterans generation – people who were born before 1945.

As you will have experienced, they are really solid citizens. They were hard-working, respect authority, loyal team players who don’t let others down, and thrifty. Market researchers say they ‘built the nation’, from the Snowy Mountain Scheme to our highways and cities.

Veterans don’t like to complain; they are likely to grin and bare situations.

But now we’re seeing the first Baby Boomers, which are a totally different breed people – and moving in as residents in your villages.

Baby Boomers were born between 1945 and 1965. The first Baby Boomers officially retired in 2010 and are now aged 74.

You will have read many times that Baby Boomers can change the world – and they don’t intend slowing down because they’ve joined a retirement village.

Things to think about

Have you ever stopped to consider how these differences may impact your operational activities?

Baby Boomers having a characteristic that blurs the line between life and work. They are accustomed to supermarkets being open until midnight. They may expect the same from you.

It will be paramount as a Village Manager that you are able to set, reinforce and abide by expectations that clearly set the situations and times that you will be available afterhours. 

Where the Veteran generation were happy to have one rule for all the Baby Boomer will challenge the status quo and potentially be seeking a rule applicable for themselves individually. 

As a Village Manager it will be vital that you are quick to set expectations upfront when new residents move into the village and then reinforce these standards often to ensure that it is clear how the community operates.  

There will be challenges in meeting the needs of both generations.  For instance the Baby Boomer is likely to want the ability to submit maintenance requests via an app or online. 

However existing Veteran resident may not have the technology or desire to learn a new way and therefore leaving you as the Village Manager the job of creating a win win process to meet both sets of expectations.

As a Village Manager it will be important to take time out to consider how operationally you will meet the expectations of both parties. The danger is loud Baby Boomers will swamp the preferred operations of the Veterans – and you as village manager!

Be aware, but not afraid!

Key things to help you everyday

What the accountant asks, how the CEO should respond

We saw this on a social media feed and couldn’t resist presenting it to you today.

Things to watch

Learn more about the DCM Institute Village Management Professional Development

You can join our Village Management Professional Development program at any time.

Download a brochure HERE and check out the 12 month program, which includes three Professional Development Days in your state.

For operators – Code of Conduct and Accreditation

The VM PD program will equip your village management to be ready for the Code of Conduct by implementation date, 1 January 2020, plus build your preparedness for Accreditation.

For Village Managers – earn PD points and build your career

Every stage of the VM PD will earn you PD points as recognition of your investment in your village management skill set.

You can also gain prior learning recognition in the LASA leadership diploma, which is recognised across the sector and in other industries.

The investment is $1,850 for a 12 month single registration, with attractive discounts for group registrations.

Learn more HERE. Hope you enjoy us.

Latest industry developments

Village Management Professional Development Days a Hit

Our fourth Professional Development Day is happening today in Adelaide. We have already been to Brisbane, Sydney and Perth, with up to 30 village management people attending each day.

Plus we live streamed the days for regional managers that could not make it to the city locations.

Here is some of the feedback:

“Having had the opportunity to attend yesterdays session in Perth I wish to shout out to all RV operators that you need to support this long overdue but vital professional development opportunity that has been designed to empower, embrace and encourage all Village Managers of the industry to excel  and feel supported in a practical sense in every aspect of their roles”.

“Thank you both so much for yesterday, it was fantastic. I am still processing a lot of the things I heard and it is was also intriguing to see hear how other Villages run their businesses. So looking forward to the next day”.

“It was great opportunity to network and look into the future in a positive light with all the changes in the industry. I also look forward in taking the journey with DCMI”.

“I thought the day was a huge success. The networking opportunities were fantastic, the speakers and content all very worthwhile. I have returned to work and started implementing a few things I have learnt already”!

“Personally I was really impressed with the content and the speakers. It was a bit scary committing so many staff to undergo the training but I know we made the right decision and the staff will get so much out of the next 12 months”.

What the research tells us

Brisbane / Sydney Village Manager Professional Development Days feedback

This week Jodie Prosser and her team staged our first Village Manager PD days in Brisbane and Sydney.

Close to 100 village managers attended. Here are some of the comments and some pics.

(It is not too late for you to sign up for Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, which are coming up over the next few weeks. Check the dates and VM PD membership HERE).

“Just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for yesterday. The inaugural NSW State PD day was well facilitated, very informative with excellent speakers providing constructive and useful, practical information and it was also most enjoyable”.

“It was great to meet so many working in the sector, to hear of their passion, the substantial combined knowledge available within the Village Management & PD Network and to come away feeling encouraged about the support available via DCMI, The VM Peer Network and the positive steps toward ongoing development of village management personnel”.

“Feedback from our staff was that they really enjoyed the day and are looking forward to the next one. Personally, I was really impressed with the content and the speakers. It was a bit scary committing so many staff to undergo the training, but I know we made the right decision and the staff will get so much out of the next 12 months”.

Things to watch

Your team, your values

Last issue we talked about ‘customer experience’.

Being the leader of the village community, you cannot deliver or achieve consistent, quality customer experiences alone, without the commitment and engagement of your team.

This is often not a great challenge, as most people choose to work in communities because they like people and enjoy assisting residents.

However, are you getting the best out of your team in relation to harnessing customer experience opportunities?

Village ‘values’ and respect

When you induct a new team member (or permanent contractor that is taking the place of a team member) do you spend time with them going through the Village Values?

It is vitally important to have a short, printed document to give each new team member the values you have and expect.

Have your team sign off that they understand not only that you have values, but what they actually mean in terms of how you all deliver your roles in the village.

Respect is one of the most important values; the document explains exactly what RESPECT means to your residents. For example:


  • treat one another with dignity and fairness
  • show tolerance and have patience
  • are polite
  • show appreciation
  • act with empathy
  • treat others how we would like to be treated
  • don’t talk down to people
  • treat all people as individuals
  • relate and interact positively with people
  • acknowledge we each have a role to play

Team meetings

Having regular team meetings is very important. Use them to:

  • share knowledge
  • reinforce your values
  • regularly share your knowledge
  • celebrate achievements
  • share likely upcoming changes or concerns
  • provide opportunity for your team to share their own suggestions and challenges with you

Your team members will feel included and become ambassadors for you.

Imagine the difference in how a resident will feel if the handyman is asked about an increase the village budget, and he is able to show knowledge of the situation and provide the appropriate response.

It might be, “I am aware of the changes to the budget and I understand it is going to provide an improved service to the residents, however the detail is quite complex so I would recommend you make an appointment with Village Manager if it is of concern to you” versus “Oh, I have no idea but I hear “THEY” are always putting up the fees”. 

This second response reinforces the resident’s concern when it could have been made a positive.

A strong team ethic is so very important to ensuring the culture of the village is maintained and that consistent Customer Experiences are achieved.

Key things to help you everyday

End of Financial Year and budgets for marketing/sales

The hardest thing to achieve is getting ‘new money’ after budgets have been set, so now is the last chance to ‘ask’ for cash to support sales and marketing for the next 12 months.

Not the village budget, but the operator’s budget. Sales activity is the owner’s responsibility.

What should you be asking for? What is going to give you best bang for your buck, is easy to implement and cost efficient?

We all know that word-of-mouth referrals from residents to friends is the best sales tool, plus digital.

Here are three strong suggestions:

First up is the village newsletter. If you don’t have a budget, ask for $1,000. Then you have some cash to support a volunteer, resident or staff member to assemble it and cover any small costs that may come up – even postage of copies to recent sales enquiries.

Second is money for events. A sausage sizzle, wine and cheese night, donation to a local singing group to come in, a band for a Saturday night party. These help to build positive relations with residents, photos for newsletters, events to invite potential residents to, etc.

Check out this video discussion with Patrick Smith, owner of The Henley On Broadwater, a 145-unit retirement village on the Gold Coast. He says this is his best marketing investment – and he has no vacancies.

Ask for $5,000 (or more).

Third, we recommend our web site directory, the number one directory of retirement villages. Nearly 900,000 people a year search for every village in the country here.

This means close to 100% of all people who do a digital search do so on

Every major village has a promotional listing – you may also. If not, the investment is $1,000 a year.

These three actions can add up to $7,000 for 12 months. If you need to ‘sell’, say, 10 homes a year at $300,000 each, that is $3,000,000 in sales. The $7,000 is equal to 0.2%!

Or you can add $600 to each property price.

The important thing in this difficult sales market is to keep doing things that keep the phone ringing and people ‘walking down the drive’.

Good luck.