Caring for Our Associates

Brookdale is fundamentally all about service. We are people serving people. We are 80,000 associates strong, operating all our work processes at high quality levels — and every day creating strong emotional bonds above and beyond the basics with our residents and their families.

Because our associates are central to the service we provide for our residents, we go to great lengths to ensure that our associates are well-trained, are deeply engaged, have a real voice in their work, and are supported with effective tools and work processes.

More broadly, we are actively building a culture of caring for our associates, a culture in which we look out for and support one another and have confidence that we are in this together as kindred spirits. It is the special bond we all share, and sustaining that culture is an important part of the sustainability-related work we do every day.

In addition, our Sustainability Roadmap has built into it for 2016 a range of sustainability-related new education and internal communication that will enable all our associates to more fully participate in integrating sustainability into all of our daily work.

Examples of our support for our associates include:


All new community associates participate in our “Foundations” training program, most of it before ever interacting with a resident and all within their first 30 days. We have introduced the use of laptop computers for community associate training for a personalized experience and to ensure consistency. All associates also receive in-service training annually, as of mid-2016.

All Community Executive Directors participate in “Leadership Foundations” training at the corporate office as part of their onboarding to their new positions. They also participate in numerous individualized computer-based training courses and a peer-partner process as part of their formal onboarding program.

Beginning in 2016, in line with our Sustainability Roadmap, all our associates and leaders training will include introductory sustainability information. In addition, sustainability information, news, stories, updates, and tips are being woven into Brookdale’s existing internal communications media, newsletters, intranet site, and informational meetings. Beyond this, we have created the Brookdale Energy Efficiency Playbook, which we will present to our maintenance personnel in dedicated training sessions, and we are creating two short videos that highlight and celebrate examples of best sustainability practices at our communities. We offer extensive training because our associates are key to providing the care, and the personal touch, for our residents every day.


Our reason for being — is all about relationships. And relationships are entirely about people. So, we hire the right people, and provide the training, information, and resources they need as a way of sustaining high levels of service and care.

Employee Assistance Fund

The Mark Schulte Associate Assistance Fund is a nonprofit fund for associates, funded by associates. When associates are in need of financial help due to extraordinary circumstances such as a fire, hurricane, extended illness, or injury due to an accident, they can apply to receive financial assistance to make it through the crisis. The amount of funding varies depending on the situation. All associates can contribute to the fund either by a one-time donation or payroll deduction. For 2018, more than 4,000 associates donated funds and nearly 300 associates received assistance.

PTO Donation Program

The PTO (Paid Time Off) Donation Program allows associates to donate earned PTO hours to a co-worker who is unable to work due to a personal or family medical reason or an extenuating circumstance. The goal of the program is to help each associate maintain his/her normal compensation. Through this program, associates act in anonymity to help a co-worker in need, which further showcases Brookdale’s culture of caring. Executives are major contributors and through their donations, which are valued at their full rate of pay, significantly impact the financial security of our entry level and front line staff.

Onsite Clinics

Brookdale provides free medical care for associates and dependents enrolled in a Brookdale medical plan. Eligible associates and dependents can receive treatment for acute and chronic conditions at 15 of our largest communities and offices, serving an average of 386 patients each week. Each clinic (exception: Texas) also stocks over 100 generic medications that can be dispensed on site.

Flu Vaccinations

Brookdale offers free flu vaccinations to all associates and residents in all communities and offices.

Brookdale Integrity Line

Brookdale is committed to a culture in which associates can communicate concerns openly to supervisors, be heard and respected, and receive an appropriate response. This philosophy applies to all aspects of our operation, but it is particularly important in situations that an associate believes may involve questionable conduct or could be a violation of Brookdale’s Code of Business Conduct. Associates typically speak directly with their immediate supervisor or manager, but always have the option of calling the Brookdale Integrity Line. The line is staffed with an outside source of trained operators 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Associates are encouraged to provide their contact information but if they prefer, they may report any concerns anonymously.

CEO Committee on Culture

We are passionate about building and sustaining our culture within Brookdale, a culture that enables us to pursue our mission of serving our residents and truly enriching their lives. To help reinforce this culture and to underscore how critical it is to us, our CEO and senior leaders regularly connect with our associates and consistently take action to maintain and strengthen our culture through what we call our CEO Committee on Culture.

The CEO Committee on Culture is a cross functional working group of culture leaders representing all aspects of Brookdale. It creates a framework of language, expectations and best practices to align associates, regardless of which community they work in, so we achieve our mission of enriching the lives of those we serve with compassion, respect, excellence, and integrity. Among other responsibilities, this committee monitors and reviews feedback from associates and residents for areas of improvement, identifies best practices for shaping and sharing culture, and researches innovative opportunities for culture enrichment.

Open Door Commitment

Brookdale’s culture is one of caring: caring for our residents, caring for their family members, and caring for our associates. We believe that an open-door approach to communication is the best way to ensure that our residents and their family members receive the highest quality services. We are dedicated to Brookdale being a company where associates can speak freely about issues and can report integrity concerns anonymously, if they believe that is necessary.

We encourage associates to express concerns, suggestions and comments so we can understand each other better and work together to continue to make this a great place to work. This is because Brookdale believes strongly that we succeed through partnership with our employees; we recognize that good people make the difference and are the key to our success. We have always been committed to working together as one team and acting in ways that demonstrate respect for others through honesty, understanding and trust. Our culture values all of our associates, and we are grateful for all they do each day to serve our residents.