High-Touch Management: Setting Communities Up For Success

Sep 18, 2023 | Blogs

What is the 12 Oaks difference? It’s the culture produced by a personalized and integrated approach to management. Communities gain access to a 12 Oaks Regional Vice President of Operations (RVP), who is strategically positioned to serve only a handful of communities. Inherent in this low volume, geographically clustered design ensures frequent contact and connection. In this way, RVPs become familiar with the unique needs of the local community, and its surrounding market and most importantly, build connections with staff at the community.

The Value of Culture in High-Touch Management

12 Oaks corporate leadership fosters success within its partner communities by firstly, emphasizing culture. RVPs at 12 Oaks understand that people need and deserve face-to-face connection, coaching, and support. This is achieved by regional operators serving as a single point of contact for Executive Directors (ED) and their community leadership teams. 

Being responsive to the ED and meeting with the extended leadership team is paramount to building trust. This culture-driven approach to senior living communities is proven to restore and/or optimize performance. In addition, the high-touch model affords 12 Oaks regional management the opportunity to address the challenges of a community in tandem with its leaders. 

What is High Touch Management? According to RVP Travis Wick, it’s “being there for the team as much as possible. It’s being on site and being present.” To RVP Lydia Robertson, High Touch Management “emphasizes personal and direct interaction with team members and residents.” Lydia explains that through High Touch Management, the goal is to create a positive and inclusive environment where our team members and residents feel valued and connected.

Best-in-class Operators

The senior living experts at 12 Oaks know that within each community is a team of people with true heart and dedication. That passion for person-centered care translates to a willingness to learn and grow; 12 Oaks not only recognizes this sense of ownership but seeks to cultivate it. 

"I love building leaders." - Lori JonesAs COO Lori Jones says, “I love building leaders.  Leadership is critical to establishing processes and procedures that help teams through real challenges such as staff recruitment and retention. Stability promotes job satisfaction and allows everyone concerned to focus on the care of residents and their families.”

Committed to being a best-in-class operator, Lori’s team makes frequent and extended visits to connect with EDs and their staff. This is a demonstration of the high-touch management model. They assess the needs of each community, especially those in transition, and offer resources and structure, based on discovered priorities. Realistic goals are discussed and a business plan is crafted to maximize ROI for the community. 

RVPs at 12 Oaks understand that you don’t get results from simply looking at results, instead, you get results by looking at the habits that produce results. Travis Wick explains that he focuses on the teams in place in communities, helping them identify and achieve goals. He says “When you do that, everything else seems to follow.”

This people-first culture is what sets 12 Oaks apart. A genuine care for the teams in place is what enables communities to thrive. A positive work environment and culture is achieved by fostering open communication, which provides opportunities for growth and development. Senior living clinical operations benefit from standardized processes and tools that deliver real-time data vital to helping executive and care directors formulate solutions around labor challenges.


According to 12 Oaks’ COO Lori Jones, a key to successful cost containment in senior living operations starts with engagement. Meeting with the owners and management allows 12 Oaks to focus on that community’s needs, priorities, and ideas for improvement. This might uncover true staffing concerns- especially the provision of personal or direct care providers – and an opportunity to mitigate labor concerns by providing strategic coaching and proven tools.

Care Team Members

Labor costs are an industry-wide concern. 12 Oaks HR department, under the leadership of Chief People Officer, Melissa Labor, provides in-house talent acquisition, a service component that increases recruitment opportunities and translates into greater retention. Examples of how this is accomplished include:

  1. Promoting a positive work culture by actively seeking employee input. EDs design actionable plans based on staff-generated feedback.
  2. Newly hired staff are paired with seasoned team members. This “buddy system” fosters a sense of accountability, responsibility, and connection to the community’s success.
  3. Pay raises, bonuses, and personalized gifts. 12 Oaks helps team members with things they need and have personal value. Travis Wick says “We once bought a team member a bicycle after his previous bicycle broke and he didn’t have a way to get to work.”

Community Leadership in High-Touch Management

RVPs around table - high touch managementTo set the stage for success, senior living communities want to personalize not only their clinical care model but also their management approach. As already mentioned, 12 Oaks’ model proves that – particularly during times of change – systems respond well to more touches. Management should be interested in the individuals that make up community teams and leadership. That is, they will want to come to the table with curiosity about the experience of a culture-driven model rather than a performance-laden agenda.

RVPs from 12 Oaks coach community leaders on ways to elevate ownership of cost-effectiveness. Routine calls between RVPs and EDs for example might involve training on software used to track labor costs. Regular variance reviews, between the Staff Accountant, RVP, and ED, are used to help break down the data behind variances and search for opportunities for improvement in financial performance. 12 Oaks proprietary reports are one such technology and these reports boost awareness of costly items such as overtime. A communication tool is utilized for its ability to publish and quickly update open employment positions and available shifts for current employees. This allows for better transparency and therefore more efficient management of staffing fluctuations. 

Focus on Margin

The rise in the cost of labor within care environments continues to challenge the bottom line of senior living communities. 12 Oaks acknowledges this stress point but has invested in ROI strategies that work. They know how to establish sustainability by maximizing revenue in other areas. Through its commitment to 12 Oaks’ high touch management model, RVPs have the resources to empower community leadership teams to

  • Establish realistic goals and budgets within an agreed-upon business plan.
  • Identify initiatives that achieve and accelerate the achievement of results. 
  • Capitalize on market rate and occupancy opportunities.
  • Build trust and connection with community leadership
  • Drive operating margin to optimal levels

To learn about how 12 Oaks Senior Living can partner with you to bring greater success to your community, get in touch today.