How a senior care provider boosted employee engagement during COVID-19

It’s no surprise, the healthcare and aging services industries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who are on the front lines every day are on the verge of employee burnout and facing more stress than ever before. 

Before the pandemic, Otterbein SeniorLife already had a strong cultural foundation, but the team felt that the values weren’t as ingrained as they could be. Lois Mills, Vice-President and Chief People Officer at Otterbein SeniorLife, was looking to develop processes and systems to attract, select, develop and retain the talent that’s needed to meet the organization’s goals. 

In 2016, Otterbein partnered with Reward Gateway to launch its employee engagement platform, “The Otterbein Experience.” Prior to rolling out the platform, the team gathered feedback from employees or “partners” to create five values and 21 behaviors to support them and held training sessions to ensure they hit the mark. 


These values and behaviors are reflected in the organization’s reward and recognition initiatives and help identify Otterbein’s employer brand.

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One of the mottos at Otterbein is “no margin, no mission.” The organization is metric-driven and this is especially true when it comes to looking at how The Otterbein Experience platform supports its overall goals. 

The training sessions, paired with the reward and recognition initiatives, have resulted in a 70% increase of managers recognizing non-managers. And in the last 12 months, 99% of partners have received recognition through the platform. What’s more, there’s been a total of 13,566 recognitions sent in the last 12 months and this number continues to climb.


Here’s what Lois has to say about the platform, “Reward Gateway has made it possible to use data to enhance our company culture. We can uncover what motivates our people in an industry that’s been hit hard by the pandemic – retention and improving our engagement scores remains our top priority. The values-based reward and recognition capabilities paired with the insightful analytics has helped us build upon our foundation and bring our culture to the next level, so we’re prepared for whatever the next wave of change brings.”

Interested in reading more about Otterbein’s journey? Read the full story here.

Creating a culture of appreciation is top of mind for many organizations right now, especially in the healthcare industry. Get in touch with us to learn how our solutions can help support your engagement goals.

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Emily Stites

Emily is a Client Success Manager at Reward Gateway, and loves working with people and teams who are passionate about making the world a better place to work. She is an avid runner, having won two All-America honors in the past, and spends much of her weekends on scenic runs along the Charles River while listening to her favorite Disney tunes.

Client Success Manager

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