Merrill Gardens
2.8 of 5 26 reviews
www.merrillgardens.com Seattle, WA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Merrill Gardens Reviews

Updated Feb 13, 2014
Merrill Gardens – Tacoma – “Merrill Gardens (main campus)”

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.8 26 reviews

                             

50% Approve of the CEO

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Bill Pettit

(18 ratings)

38% of employees recommend this company to a friend
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Inconsistent corporate management.

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Seattle, WA

I worked at Merrill Gardens full-time for more than a year

ProsThe residents in that building changed my life! I am grateful to the people I met, who shared their life stories and advice with me. Incredible community of seniors, I will always remember them with love. The food turned out by Dining Services was fantastic, restaurant quality. Amazing maintenance, dining, care-giving, and housekeeping staff. Everyone worked hard together as a team for the residents. Had a wonderful and inspiring GM that built a dedicated team, and a fabulous and caring Marketing Director that mentored other employees.

ConsOur building went through a rapid change of General Managers, which upset the residents and destroyed the morale of the staff. It was a difficult location for seniors to live--the building was on a hill, not senior-friendly for walking on a busy street, and in an area over-saturated with competing senior communities. It was clear the last GM I encountered was on a mission from corporate to 'clean house.' The "open door" policy disappeared, she would not speak to staff members without an appointment scheduled. Very strange management style. She started firing people within a few weeks of arriving, barely coming out of her office. Not managing by walking around and observing staff, just pouring over employee files with the door closed. It was devastating to the residents when beloved caregivers and other key staff disappeared without any notice. The most bizarre changes happened with the activities program. A hot-shot new corporate hire began suggesting we add "beer pong" to the activities calendar, trivia nights at bars for field trips, and conducting elaborate mandatory "volunteer" projects for the residents. There is no way seniors should play "beer pong" as part of a senior living activity program--the potential for interactions with medication, falls, and over-imbibing alcohol could be catastrophic--very reckless. She also advocating blasting loud rock music in the lobby to "shake things up," which would have angered residents and their families. These inappropriate and absurd ideas swiftly drove out a huge number of talented, dedicated activities people that did not agree with her extreme calendar propositions, and would rather leave the company than compromise the activity program. This person has since left the company and I am relieved for the remaining residents and their families! MG has also recently sold most of their local properties to a competitor.

Advice to Senior ManagementMG, you squandered a lot of passionate talent in your buildings, and lost many dedicated employees. Hopefully you are back on track and have expunged the toxic individuals that did so much damage. Have some faith in your buildings' management teams, and put seniors and their families first over census numbers.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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A very confused company

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
Seattle, WA

I worked at Merrill Gardens full-time for more than 3 years

ProsPay is decent. They try to do the right thing.

ConsLeadership at the top is lacking. They don't know what to do with the company and the direction seems to change every 6 months. They fired half the corporate staff while at the same time hiring a small army of consultants. Meanwhile the ability to support the communities has plummeted. The CEO's top priority seems to be career advancement for his son.

Advice to Senior ManagementListen to your people.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Not sure what they want to do or be.

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Merrill Gardens full-time for more than 3 years

ProsA consistent paycheck (until they suddenly decide you are not needed).

ConsLong hours and low pay

Advice to Senior ManagementTreat your employees as more of a valuable asset than a disposable item

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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"Turn 'em and burn 'em" is an unfortunate corporate policy

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Seattle, WA

I have been working at Merrill Gardens full-time for more than 3 years

ProsThe 401(k) plan, though limited in investment choices, at least offers a modest corporate match. Employees are paid for the hours they work, and rarely if ever (in my experience) receive any pushback about taking vacation or sick time.

ConsIt's depressing to watch talented individuals come and go so often because the compensation and environment are so far below those of other communities in the area. Communities end up staffed by kind and well-meaning immigrants whose limited language skills result in a decrease in the quality of care - or worse, emergency situations caused by an inability to communicate effectively. Unfortunately, because MG's pay scale is below par, communities lose talented and capable staff to hospitals or other communities in the area who offer them what they're worth.

This would only be a problem if MG had any legitimate aspirations of keeping either staff or residents longer than a few months. Marketers are burned to a frazzle trying to keep census up to the demands of the corporate office, while maintenance requests are so much wasted paper and buildings get new wallpaper instead of upgraded HVAC. MG's "turn 'em and burn 'em" policy to both staffing and occupancy is disappointing. Rather than keep people happy and in place, they've apparently determined it's more cost-effective to just keep hunting for new people.

Advice to Senior ManagementGrant GMs more autonomy in the running of their communities. You don't know their people; they (hopefully) do. If you've hired the right GMs, you'll be in better shape than you are now. If you haven't, you'll soon find out. Regardless, hamstringing your on-site management and making them essentially ineffectual go-betweens costs them the respect they need and deserve from their staff and their residents, and sets your communities up for the unavoidable failure that invariably comes with immobility. Empower ALL MG employees to do whatever it takes to make the residents' experience superb, and refrain from micromanaging. If you don't trust the people who work for you to do the right thing, hire better people and then get out of their way.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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