Since 2004, Atria’s rigorous Quality Enhancement (QE) program has ensured that life at our communities reflects the highest standards in the industry.

Quality – or “Q” Awards – are conferred upon high-performing communities; employees receive special recognitions and can earn financial bonuses for their achievements.

Located in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Atria Fairhaven recently received a Q Award for exceptional customer service and quality. Members of the Atria Fairhaven leadership team had this to say about the workplace culture behind their success.

A lot goes into winning a Q Award. When it comes to putting together a successful workplace culture, what’s the biggest piece of the puzzle?

Christine S., General Manager:

In my mind, having continuity, particularly with managers and department directors, is crucial. Our approach to quality is intense; there’s a lot to learn. So having people in place who’ve been through the process and know what to expect is invaluable.

It’s also beneficial to have a productive relationship with the Quality Enhancement team members who perform the inspections. Because ultimately, we want the same thing: for residents to have the best possible senior living experience. Every time we go through an inspection, we learn and get better.


Does each department prepare for a quality assessment independently, or is there overlap?

Kimberly R., Life Guidance Director:

Each department has its own expertise, but we communicate and collaborate as a whole. The key is to have systems in place in each area of the community that are consistent and standardized. We don’t want one person to have all the institutional knowledge; it needs to be communicated openly. That way, we can double-check and triple-check each other’s work.

What effect does winning an award have on a community? Do employees take pride in the achievement?

Madeline M., Community Business Director:

Absolutely! When we announced the scores, there was cheering and whooping in the room. The effect, in my opinion, is validating for our entire approach and how we prioritize quality day in and day out.

We know that high scores go hand in hand with high customer satisfaction. So, it’s a good feeling to succeed in our primary goal of serving residents and creating an exceptional living experience.

What is one tool you’d recommend to others for greater success in quality enhancement?


Regular self-audits, I believe, are necessary for success. Remember, quality enhancement indicators evolve over time, so our processes and procedures need to evolve too.

If you don’t sit down and discuss each area in detail, you won’t have a complete picture of the process. You may think you know, but until a thorough self-audit is performed, you won’t fully know what to expect. I highly recommend self-audits and follow-up meetings to discuss them to stay sharp and always focused on quality.