Atlantic Shores Retirement Community in Virginia Beach, Virginia is proving that giving back, to both employees, residents and the world, is the best way to not only grow their community, but also to grow closer to each other.
This philosophy has recently earned the community the coveted CoVa BIZ Magazine Community Impact Award, as one of the Top 10 businesses in the Hampton Roads area consistently making an impact in the community by giving back. Atlantic Shores was honored for how their staff and residents share their gifts and talents to make the world a better place, through a variety of impactful programs benefiting youth, seniors, and military veterans.
Virginia’s only resident-governed co-op retirement community, Atlantic Shores is home to 642 residents and 384 staff, who live, work and play on a beautifully landscaped 100-acre campus featuring 400 independent living apartments and villa homes, a fully appointed assisted living facility, a skilled nursing facility, and a memory care unit.
A special inter-relationship between the community’s residents and staff fosters relationships that function like a family — including actual families, sometimes from several generations, working alongside each other. The Atlantic Shores “staff family” is comprised of husbands and wives, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, and in-laws all using their skills in different roles across the campus to enhance the lives of residents and each other.
Working together more like friends, employees and residents come together to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research, create a summer camp for local schoolchildren, mentor young military cadets, and raise guide dog puppies for the blind.
Realizing a quality work experience blends job satisfaction and a balanced personal life, Atlantic Shores creates an atmosphere that entices people to stay, work hard, and grow, with freedom in how they do their jobs. Benefits including paid medical and employer-matched 401k are paired with an Employee Appreciation Program, and paid tuition reimbursement to support professional development.
Dara Wilson, LPN at Atlantic Shores’ Harbourway Assisted Living Facility has taken advantage of Atlantic Shores’ educational support to explore her talents and develop her career. Originally hired at age 17 to work alongside her mother, Pat Wilson, as a dietary aide, Dara was later impacted by the caregivers on her team, which spurred her to pursue a nursing degree. She now serves as a Unit Manager at Harbourway. According to Dara, “At Atlantic Shores, they’re willing to take a chance on you when you feel the need to grow. Over the years, I’ve been able to change positions, which has rewarded me with the opportunity to become a dedicated caregiver to our amazing residents. I also love being able to see my mom and interact with her here at work. I get to see some of what she does, and she gets to see pieces of what I do. We’re both in the healthcare field, but work on different ends of the spectrum.”
Pat’s career evolved from Dining Room Supervisor, to Director of Medical Records at Atlantic Shores’ Seaside Skilled Nursing Center. Both have been part of the team for more than 15 years. Pat shares, “We have a unique workplace with lots of staff who’ve been here for many years, and who now work alongside family members. I’ve seen some begin as teenagers, and have watched them grow into amazing adults. As a parent, I love that when I feel the need to see my daughter and make sure she’s ok, I just have to walk down the hallway.”
Flexible scheduling also allows Atlantic Shores employees to build their jobs around their lifestyle, with team members being able to work remotely, or bring in their children when circumstances arise. Accommodating shifts, part-time positions and a wide range of entry-level career options also appeal to a new generation of team members Atlantic Shores is welcoming with an eye to the future – – millennials. Seeking to build careers and not just acquire jobs, millennials put an emphasis on doing meaningful work that improves the lives of others, which is central to the culture at Atlantic Shores.
This appealed to 22-year-old Rhiannon Tomicich, a member of the Atlantic Shores wait staff. She shares, “I love getting to know our residents as unique individuals, and create personal bonds by serving and interacting with them every day.” Rhiannon is also part of a multi-generational family team that works at Atlantic Shores, joining her mother and fellow server Diana Martinez, and grandmother Rosa Hernandez, Dining Room Supervisor. According to Diana, “When I come to work, in addition to seeing my immediate family, I feel like I’m surrounded by my other family. Our residents make this place special.” Rosa adds, “I feel fortunate to work beside both my daughter and granddaughter in a job where every day is unique.”
In an industry where staff turnover rates are often higher than averages for other job sectors, Atlantic Shores employee turnover is consistently well below industry levels, with most senior staff also being part of the team for 11 to 17 years.
According to Atlantic Shores Executive Director/General Manager Eden Jones, “team longevity is our hallmark.”
Some staff have been onboard as long as the community has been in existence, including Director of Environmental and Security Services, Stan Jarzynka, at 21 years. Atlantic Shores careers were also a family affair for Stan and three of his children, who together have been part of the team a total of 38 years – – working in security, food and beverage, and medical billing.
Ms. Jones comments, ”In today’s mobile society, it’s unusual to find team members dedicated to their jobs for the long haul. Money is not always the highest motivator; it’s usually a fulfilling work environment, which we are committed to providing at Atlantic Shores. We care for our team, who then care for our residents and each other. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Featuring a comprehensive range of services, social activities, amenities, award-winning cuisine, and a full continuum of on-site medical services, Atlantic Shores offers an exceptional lifestyle for their active “55 and Better” residents, who live by the motto – “Live for Today With a Plan for Tomorrow.”