Brand & People are Squishy

Sandra Preyale has graced the halls and led HR at Christian Dior, L'Oreal, Coach, LVMH, and Amazon.


Why leave a history of big brands and take the Chief People Officer mantle at Aegis Living? Because it's squishy. Squishy provides purpose and goes beyond mere HR, Talent Acquisition, and Brand. Because squishy is REAL.


Enjoy this Cult Brand podcast, supported by Smashfly, which was recorded at the base of a mountain in Banff, Canada before the world turned upside down. Enjoy!


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

Disability Solutions helps support and educate your workforce through disability awareness and inclusion training.



James Elis: James Ellis from, The Talent Cast. You may not be aware of this, but a couple years ago I lost a bet, so now I'm contractually obligated to say nice things about Chad and Cheese. Well, I took that, let's say lemon and turned it into lemonade. I took interviews from Chad and Cheese and turned it into a book, but I added a lot of other people you're going to want to talk to. It's called Talent Chooses You. It is hiring better with employer branding and it is available on Amazon, June 15th, you should go and buy it, bye.

SFX: A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!

Chad: I love this woman.

Joel: Good.

Chad: This is exactly what we talk about all the time. You're not trying to poach talent. You're manufacturing talent.

Intro: Hide your kids, lock the doors, you're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for The Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Joel: Oh yeah. What's up gang? We're back in dance, doing that podcast thing.

Chad: So hard at the base of a mountain talking to people about podcasting and branding and now talent acquisition.

Joel: Yeah. In case you missed it. I am Joel Cheesman. This is the Chad and Cheese Podcast. I'm joined here with Chad. Hi Chad.

Chad: Hello.

Joel: And we are honored to have as our guest Sandra Preyale. I [00:01:37] didn't I?

Chad: Preyale.

Joel: With Aegis Living.

Sandra: Networks.

Joel: Networks.

Sandra: Yeah. That works.

Joel: Okay. It's an Irish lass who married a Frenchman. So I'm all messed up. So you're with Aegis Living. Most of our listeners don't know who you are. So give us the elevator pitch on that. And then more importantly, we're going to talk about your lecture or presentation this morning and get into all kinds of talent acquisitions.

Sandra: Sure

Chad: Just get in it.

Sandra: Okay.

Chad: Get dirty.

Sandra: Aegis Living is a privately owned, founder driven still, senior living company. We're present in the Pacific Northwest, actually in three States today, California and Washington and Nevada. We are really looking to reinvent this space because I don't know about either of you. I don't know if you have parents or grandparents that have ever had the opportunity to go into a senior living company, but you

Joel: I live in one now actually.

Sandra: ... Well, then it must be pretty sad, because that's what

Joel: The meatloaf is fantastic.

Sandra: ... And the bingo is probably amazing.

Joel: Yes.

Chad: The bingo.

Joel: Yeah.

Sandra: But that's what it is. You go there to die and you play bingo, until you do. And that's the perception that people have. Aegis Living is very different. And we're a company that's growing. We're looking at probably opening another 40 communities in the next five to seven years, which will bring us to 70. Our intention is not to be the biggest, it's to be the very, very best.

Joel: Which means how many hires for those facilities of late?

Sandra: We'll have to hire probably another three to 4,000 employees. So we currently have two and a half thousand employees that serve two and a half thousand residents. The ratio one-to-one, it's very labor intense.

Chad: Oh wow. Yeah.

Sandra: And we're in probably the most difficult market to hire for.

Chad: Is that normal though, one-to-one ratio? It doesn't seem like it is because most of the

Joel: Even Thinker is like five to one.

Chad: ... Yeah. Most of the facilities that I've been in, it doesn't seem like there's the as many staff as there are residents.

Sandra: Yeah. So, it may be very simply because they just can't hire. And many companies have difficulty hiring and the turnover rate in our space, nobody really talks about it, but it is in the 100's. 100, 120%. We are much, much, much, much lower. And we do everything to keep it low.

Chad: Not a lot of poaching, I would assume too, right?

Sandra: Yeah. You're in a space where, the starting wage, if you've never done this before, is minimum wage. And so when you're looking to hire and someone who's going to provide incredible care. and to a vulnerable adult. And not only incredible care, but real quality life experience, you have to do a lot of things to make sure that you're bringing that person in, that you're nurturing them and that you're really engaging them, so that you keep them. Because effectively they probably could get more going to Amazon, working in a fulfillment center or driving an Uber or any of the other things that they could be hired into.

Joel: So what was your session about today? What did you focus on?

Sandra: I focused on what makes us different from a culture perspective. And it's really driven by Dwayne Clark, our founder. And it might sound squishy guides, but we talk about leading through vulnerability, servant leadership.

Chad: Okay.

Sandra: And our leaders, they are serving our employees, our frontline staff. That's what they do. They are looking to satisfy the legitimate needs of our employees because it's our employees that are doing the real work.

Chad: Right. How do they do that though? Because we've heard that from so many companies. We serve our employees, but it's like, okay, I really need the how, I love the why you do it, but what's the how?

Sandra: We're constantly reinventing. But we have a mantra and the mantra is equally valid for our employees as it is for our residents, "Know me, protect me, engage me, celebrate me, wow me." And that mantra, is the framework for all of the things we create in terms of engagement, in terms of aspirational people development, in terms of ensuring that we're retaining people over time. And so to give you an example, and the wow me, we organize a lottery twice a year, where all of our line staff can enter into the lottery and win $50,000. Which is a big deal. I mean, that's obviously more than a years salary, that changes a life. And it's only open to line staff. We have created a program called, Dollar Meals. So our care manager, who may be a mom with children, can buy a meal for up to four people and take it home with her from the kitchen she's working in, so she doesn't have to cook when she gets home in the evening. We have a foundation called Potato Soup, where it's a foundation that's actually funded by our employees. There's about a quarter of a million dollars at any given point in time. And it's really there to help employees in need. They have a big health issue, they have an issue with a divorce and they need legal help. And many of our employees come from outside of the U.S and if there's been as it was in certain parts of the world and big, big climate issues. And they might have a family back there that has issues and they lost their home. Well, we help them go there. And what's really, I think really strong in this is, and I didn't create it so I don't take any credit for it, is that we have 500 employees that on a regular basis are putting money from their pay, every paycheck into this Potato Soup. And many of these employees are earning the minimum wage and they're doing that to help one another. So I think it shows just how much of a community we're trying to create.

Chad: Yeah.

Sandra: Yeah. So they're some of the examples.