Watermark Retirement Communities Launches Ripples Program to Connect and Inspire

October 18, 2019

TUCSON, AZ–Watermark Retirement Communities, the nation’s 13th-largest senior housing operator, has launched a new program designed to inspire associates to wake up every day wanting to make a difference. The program—Ripples—encourages meaningful personal interactions and purposeful, intentional acts of kindness that create “ripples” of human connection throughout the community.

A Ripple, according to the senior housing operator, is a meaningful personal interaction that creates a story that inspires others or is re-told over time. These ripples are critical to creating Watermark’s unique culture and bringing its vision to life at its communities nationwide.

“At the heart of the Ripples program is celebrating the human spirit that creates the unique culture of our communities,” said David Barnes, president of Watermark Retirement Communities. “For years, we’ve built a culture that fosters these kinds of personal, daily interactions. The Ripples program formalizes this culture and provides a way for our communities to share their stories throughout their community and with the Watermark family as a whole.”

The Ripples program provides Watermark with a framework to encourage and motivate employees, which Watermark calls associates, to create Ripples of kindness in their daily interactions. Directors are encouraged to empower associates to create Ripples and provide the resources necessary for them to do so. Once a Ripple has been activated, these stories are shared via the company’s intranet, where they can be seen by other Watermark associates.

“People interact with others all of the time, and when we capture those interactions, celebrate them and allow them to trigger a positive, inspiring Ripple throughout the community, it becomes really powerful and magical,” said Barnes.

To ensure that Watermark is hiring only associates who fit this unique culture, the Ripples program has been incorporated into the recruiting process. The organization’s vision for its communities is shared early and often to ensure that all candidates are the kind of people who want to make waves—in a good way. Once hired, associates must complete a Ripples-specific training during the orientation process that shares how these Ripples shape Watermark’s unique culture.

“When we’re able to slow down, focus with intention and connect with another human being, we find out what makes them tick. We learn what we can do to support that, and that’s how we’re able to create innovative and extraordinary communities where people thrive,” said Barnes. “At Watermark, that is our sweet spot and the Ripples program is proving to be a successful approach to educating, inspiring and building our culture”

A privately held company with a reputation for service, innovation, integrity and financial stability, Watermark has been certified as a 2019 Best Place to Work by Fortune Magazine and manages more than 50 retirement communities coast to coast with more in development.


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