Kendal’s Employees — Where Do They Come From? How Do We Find Them? How Do We Manage to Keep Them?

We residents know what a wonderful staff we
have. Smiling, skilled, patient and kind, terrific
in emergencies (think power outages) and
more-than-competent in daily routines . . . we
are a fortunate group.

Needless to say, this situation didn’t just
happen. To begin with the basics, we offer
good pay and benefits. According to Margaret
Hager, our Director of Human Resources since
2012, Kendal’s pay scale averages eight to ten
per cent above the Rockbridge County scale for
most positions, and “we have the best benefit
package going.”

But we can’t be complacent. A lot of factors
are involved when a prospective staff member
is deciding about a job. Kendal has competition,
and our employees have a choice; there
are other places they can go. As Margaret
says, “It’s important that we maintain our edge
by marketing the fact that we’re a good place to
work.”

Kendal currently has 127 full time employees
and 36 part time and PRN (for the Latin “pro re
nata,” “as the situation arises,” or simply “as
needed”) employees. Thirty hours a week or more is counted as
full time, while part time is any number of hours
less than thirty. To be classified as part-time,
one must work a regular schedule. Those
classified as PRN must work at least one shift
per two-week pay period.
Health Services (the Borden Center, skilled
nursing care, and the Webster Center, assisted                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                number of employees, including a large
proportion of part-timers and PRN’s.

Almost all our staff members live in the
Rockbridge area, according to Margaret. Those
who come from farther away, closer to Roanoke
or Charlottesville perhaps, tend eventually to
find the commute wearing and switch to a job
closer to home. Within Rockbridge, Kendal has
traditionally drawn staff from the Lexington and
Buena Vista areas, with an easy commute, but
is now attracting people from Covington and
Clifton Forge as well. (Hooray for Interstate
64.)

Margaret maintains a relationship with the
local high school guidance counsellors, who
often recommend students — especially, for
example, to fill part time jobs in the dining
room. The students get training here and not
only become good employees but earn money
for their future education and learn how to hold
down a job in the real world.
Similarly, Kendal keeps in contact with local
community colleges such as Dabney Lancaster,
particularly with regard to their nursing programs.
Students in Dabney’s LPN (Licensed
Practical Nursing) programs, for example, do
their clinical work at the Borden Center.

When a vacancy occurs, Margaret’s first step
in recruiting is to find out if anyone in the current
staff is interested in filling it. Often this move is
successful, and Kendal residents have become
accustomed to a familiar face from one department
turning up, and doing a proficient job, in
another. But if the position is not filled by
current staff, Margaret then advertises in The
News- Gazette , the Lexington/Rockbridge
weekly newspaper. She has found this method
very successful, old-fashioned as it may sound,
although she does sometimes advertise on the
web.

Kendal’s retention rate is very good, above
average for the area, and a substantial number
of staff members have been here for many
years. Three of these were among the first to
come on board, when Kendal opened in July of
2000: Helen Goodbar, Housekeeping Team
Leader; Beverly Nedrow, Webster LPN Team
Leader; and Betsy Shepherd, Accounts
Payable /Benefits Coordinator.
Careful screening is done for all job applicants,
and also for the many contractors who
are not regular employees as such but who
work at Kendal in various capacities — landscaping,
paving, construction, renovation.
Again, Kendal hires locally whenever possible,
and we are all fortunate that so many skilled
specialists are available in the Rockbridge area.

Kendal’s familiarity with local contractors is
beneficial to residents in our own private
projects because, should we need something
done that is outside the scope of Kendal’s
maintenance department, we can consult
Margaret for a recommendation. She and
Herbie Martin, our Director of Operations, have
developed a preferred contractors list — people
they know and have worked with. So, should
you wake up tomorrow with an urge to have a
wall of bookshelves added to your den,
Margaret and Herbie can get you started.
— Jo McMurtry

Originally published in the November 2016 Residents’ Newsletter
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