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Operations Design at National Church Residences

Recent News | August 10, 2020

The inside of an apartment in a senior living community



Design as a value-added element of business decision-making has entered the mainstream. For decades, Apple’s Steve Jobs was a design “evangelist” whose voice helped build awareness and shape the early dialogue about meaningful design.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works,” Jobs once said.

A recent movement among many of America’s major corporations, the operations design discipline is a natural evolution of Jobs’ thinking. Rather than viewing design from the more common perspective of products, operations design is dedicated to enhancing client experiences through streamlined, improved operations. This vision connects closely with the mission of National Church Residences Operations Design team.

Kelli Meyung headshotLed by Kelli Meyung, vice president of operations design, this diverse group of forward-thinking professionals focuses on two basic principles: operational excellence and operational innovation.

Operational excellence supports a complex set of functions within a senior community — such as culinary, care, business office, life enrichment, maintenance and housekeeping operations in addition to systems and technology. The basic goal? Engaging the workforce in applying operational excellence practices to their day-to-day business on an on-going basis — and so improving experiences of residents, their families and employees at National Church Residences.

When it comes to operational innovation, “This is the part that most people get excited about,” said Meyung. “Where you get to envision and create programs that transforms Senior Living — ensuring a best in class experience that promotes sustainability and viability for decades to come.”

Early on, the department organized tactical committees to address key National Church Residences service areas. Resident-centered teams looked at the resident move-in experience, falls management, memory care programs and culinary enhancement. Employee-focused teams addressed front-line staff education redesign, policy and procedure management and key performance indicators. The work of these tactical teams led to a plan and priorities for the near- and long-term, as well as identifying standards, quality measures and indicators of satisfaction for new and existing initiatives.

Though the Operations Design team’s work centers on senior living communities which offer a continuum of care to help seniors remain at home for life, the standards that the team is establishing have the potential to extend to other business lines at National Church Residences.

“Our standards are uniquely tailored by community type,” explained Meyung.

Meyung and her colleagues have a synergistic working relationship that supports Operations Design goals.

“Realizing the strengths — where some people are visionaries who like the big picture and other people like the details and putting the puzzle together — is key to our success. We’re a collaborative team,” she added. “Our members have a heart for the work and love the mission, and that’s why they are so good at what they do.”

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National Church Residences does not discriminate against individuals based on race, color, disability, familial status, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, payment source, or any other class protected by applicable law, whether in employment or its activities, programs, or services. National Church Residences also does not discriminate based on age, except as required by government entitlements or permitted by applicable law for seniors.