Employees of The Clare often say the best part of working for the community is the residents. This sentiment has been truer than ever throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, which has affected the senior population at alarming rates and compelled their ultimate COVID-19 efforts.
As the virus descended upon the United States, The Clare implemented a number of changes to prevent the negative effects of the virus seen in so many retirement communities across the country. New restrictions unveiled seemingly every day to keep residents out of harm’s way prompted employees to react quickly and adjust to tasks outside of their job descriptions. The Clare drivers sorted and delivered mail directly to resident apartments. The dining team pivoted to all-delivery service. Housekeeping took to religiously cleaning common areas and high-touch points, and fitness classes and programming went virtual.
All the while, employees have also had to grapple with the reality of the pandemic in their own lives. They feared contracting COVID-19 on their commute to and from work. They worried about spread the virus within The Clare and bringing it home to their families.
Yet their commitment to the community was unwavering. Employees showed up to work each and every day, contributing to The Clare’s overall success in the fight against COVID-19.
“In March, when the COVID-19 situation really started to develop and changes happened quickly, it really allowed for The Clare to show who it is,” Executive Director Kyle Exline says. “Our employees had to step up as they were dealing with not only an incredibly difficult situation at work, but also at home.”
And in typical fashion, The Clare residents were quick to step up and acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of employees.
The Clare Charitable Foundation, a resident-run organization with the mission of supporting, recognizing and rewarding Clare employees, launched a one-time fundraising drive. And The Clare agreed to match every dollar the Foundation raised to financially reward employees for their COVID-19 efforts.
“When the quarantine began, residents recognized the additional stress and hardships the employees faced and were impressed by how quickly the staff responded to the ‘new normal,’” says resident David Andersen, president of The Clare Charitable Foundation. “There was universal appreciation and gratitude for everything the employees were doing, and we wanted to make sure that they understood what their efforts meant to us.”
Over the course of two weeks, The Clare Charitable Foundation collected $108,000 from residents. The Clare match doubling this amount. So employees received a substantial bonus based on hours worked from March 1 to May 31.
During the last week of June, The Clare Charitable Foundation distributed checks to employees. Of course, employees were beyond appreciative for the unprecedented gesture.
“Resident generosity goes well beyond a donation to The Clare Charitable Foundation,” Kyle says. “Daily thank you’s and positive energy that residents provide this community bring our employees back day in and day out.”
For residents, stepping up in this way was simply a no-brainer to recognize employees’ COVID-19 efforts.
“The Clare is a community like no other,” David says. “The employees work extremely hard every day to care for the residents and ensure our safety. The residents, in turn, truly care about the employees and want to treat them like family. We just hope we never have to go through anything like this again!”