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Embracing dignity, demonstrating generosity and maintaining a strong team are priorities at Pinnacle Living

Embracing dignity, demonstrating generosity and maintaining a strong team are priorities at Pinnacle Living


Pinnacle Living is building on a 70-year foundation of creating communities with a mission to enrich life’s journey for people of all ages and abilities.

The Henrico County-based nonprofit — the third-place Top Workplace in the large company category — owns and operates five senior living communities in Virginia, including the Hermitage Richmond and Cedarfield in Henrico.

In all, 1,176 people live in Pinnacle Living cottages, apartments, and assisted living and memory support residences. A total of 950 employees — nurses, social workers, chaplains, administrators, dining staff — work 16 or more hours a week.

Formerly known as Virginia United Methodist Homes Inc., the company changed its name in 2017 to better reflect its values, while continuing to operate as a mission-driven organization for people of all faiths.

“Our team members are dedicated to creating a community where age does not define the person,” said Michael Shaw, executive director of Cedarfield, the 90-acre campus located off Three Chopt Road.

“Our values are centered on six key words: culture, stewardship, partnership, diversity, hospitality and quality. These words are the framework for everything we do.”

Goals for these values include practicing benevolence, embracing dignity, demonstrating generosity and maintaining a strong team.

“Our workplace offers more than a place to work,” Shaw said. “Team members have families, life issues and a strong drive to professionally succeed. Our workplace increasingly caters to team members holistically by offering traditional benefits along with many work perks, work/life balance, wellness-at-work events and connecting to our Cedarfield family.”

The workplace is transitioning from a top-down organization to self-led neighborhood teams to deliver a person-first approach in health services, Shaw said.

The biggest change in recent years at Hermitage Richmond off Westwood Avenue in Ginter Park has been a transition to a neighborhood operational model, said Matt Dameron, assistant executive director of the facility. The transition has been a positive one for residents and employees.

“Over the past four years, we have changed the typical, institutional culture that is generally associated with nursing homes to a much more forward-thinking and resident-directed way of life,” Dameron said. “This has greatly changed the way we provide services to our residents; all the while, increasing team member satisfaction and engagement.”

The company values opinions and open communication, he said. “We have an extensive team member engagement program. ... Not a week goes by where we don’t have something new and exciting going on for our team members from ‘Fun & Facts’ on Fridays to cookouts, from holiday events to weekly ‘Lunch & Learn’ sessions.”

The company uses traditional ways, including printed advertisements, social media and websites, to recruit team members.

“But our best recruitment and retention tool is word of mouth and our reputation in the community,” Dameron said. “Hermitage Richmond has enjoyed a great reputation over its 70-plus-year history in the Richmond community.”

The biggest challenge facing the profession today, and for years to come, will be the large influx of baby boomers, he said.

“All organizations are preparing for not only the change in expectations for this new generation of residents, but also the sheer number of people entering the market,” Dameron said. “This change will not only force us to rethink the way we provide services, but will also require more team members.”

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