Amy Fouts Named Emerging Leader in Waukesha County
Amy Fouts: Millennial Leader in Senior Living
Ironically, Amy Fouts, an expert in the senior living industry, recently wrote her Master's thesis on Millennials in the Workplace. One might think having such a comprehensive grasp of senior living has nothing to do with millennials or emerging talent. As a Pewaukee resident and official millennial herself, Amy is keenly aware of the reputation her generation carries, but more so, how millennials can positively impact this growing industry's workforce. In the war for talent, listening and responding to her team's needs has been Amy's key to success. This has resulted in achieving an enviable 33% turnover rate of her employees while Executive Director at one of Capri's largest assisted living communities and a company average turnover of only 42% in her first full year as a regional director of operations. While these rates may sound challenging, keep in mind this industry often experiences turnover of 60% on a regular basis.
Given that employee retention is the largest strategic challenge facing the senior care industry, it is critical that organizations place a key focus attracting and retaining employees. By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, according to a 2011 study by the Business and Professional Women's Foundation. The millennial generation is twice the size of its predecessor, Gen X, and millennials will continue to fill positions opening up as the baby boomer generation retires.
In an effort to attract and retain millennials, Amy has implemented initiatives geared towards that generation including flex shifts to accommodate the busy schedules of millennials, the opportunity for employees to work extra hours one day and leave work early another for personal commitments, self-scheduling to allow employees to choose their own schedule, and scheduling opportunities to work 12 hour shifts so that the employee may work 3 days per week and have off 4 days to focus on their personal life. When Amy started with the organization eight years ago there were approximately 50 employees; Capri is now approaching 600 employees, the majority being direct care staff and many of them millennials.
At 24, Amy began her career as Assistant Executive Director at Casa del Maré, one of Capri's largest communities overlooking Lake Michigan in Kenosha. She joined the leadership team during the construction and pre-leasing period and in less than two years was promoted to Executive Director overseeing all of the campus' operations including more than 50 assisted living residents and 27 memory care residents. Specifically, under her leadership, Casa del Maré was named Best Assisted Living in Kenosha which was a direct result of her track record:
- Casa del Maré reached 100% occupancy faster than any other community in the company's history
- Amy developed a staff culture that reduced employee turnover to the lowest level in the company (33%)
- Amy established systems that maintained 100% compliance with all quality standards and regulations
While Amy was building a formidable external and internal reputation for resident-centric relationships and supporting her team, she was also completing her MBA program with a 3.96 GPA. Amy's leadership and ability to build teams and incredible culture in the communities she led resulted in Capri creating a leadership position for Amy. As Regional Director of Operations, Amy is now responsible for over 900 units of independent living, assisted living, and memory care including as many as 12 individual healthcare licenses.
In this role, she has maintained occupancy averages at her communities at or greater than 90% and played a key role in the implementation of a unique assisted living integration into an independent living setting (called the Enhanced Services Program or ESP) now being replicated throughout the country as a way to manage the flow of residents through the continuum of care. She is also the lead regional director responsible for integrating new assisted living and memory care communities through lease-up and into stable company operations.
In February 2019, Amy was named as one of just eight Emerging Leaders in Waukesha County by the Waukesha County Business Alliance (WCBA). According to the WCBA website, an independent judging panel reviewed nominees based on five criteria: community service involvement, leadership traits, being a team player, professional achievement, and personal and professional development. Read more about Amy and her fellow Emerging Leaders here.