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Is Working In Senior Living Like Being on Tinder?

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By Steve Moran

I got the idea for this article when I came across this article at Photofeeler about Tinder and self-esteem. Now you might be asking, why would someone like Steve Moran even click through about anything having to do with Tinder . . . is he on Tinder?

So no, I don’t have a Tinder account and have never had a Tinder account. I do confess that for just a moment I thought about setting up an account as research for this article, but decided that my wife might not actually think that was a good enough reason.  

Also, if you have a Tinder account and it works for you, no judgment. I was recently at a 90th birthday party for a lady in my church and I ended up sitting next to one of her 20-something grandkids and his girlfriend -- in the course of conversation, I learned they had met on Tinder and, on the surface, they seem to have a healthy working relationship.  

How Tinder Works

The big criticism is how superficial Tinder is. You create a profile and add some photos. Then, based on some internal algorithms, the app finds potential matches for you. What that means is your photo shows up on a potential matches screen and other account holders like your looks, they “swipe right” and then the app checks to see if you are also interested in them. But if -- and this is where the rub comes in -- users don’t like your looks, they swipe left, and you never show up on their app again.

It is pretty awful (unless you are really good looking and/or have a huge ego) to know that in an instant you can be swiped left . .  discarded to the not-good-enough, not-valuable-enough Tinder trash heap. Though I wouldn’t know, I suspect that for those folks who are really good looking, it may be even worse.

I find myself thinking this is too often, too much like senior living.

Swipe Left and Senior Living

When I talk to frontline staff and often even mid-level leadership, I hear two things: they love the residents and yet distrust or dislike management. In some sense, they feel like they are on the verge of being “swiped left” every day they come to work. That they are disposable, they are seen as a tool to be used. It is ultimately why they are willing to leave one job for another that only pays $ .25 more.

We live in a Tinder world, where people are seen as very disposable. It is not just a senior living problem. This is also our huge amazing opportunity. Instead of swiping left, we should be swiping right with our people, saying to them . . .

“You are something special.”

“You are amazing!”

“You have high value to me as a leader and to our organization.”

“We are better off here.”

The big challenge for each of us is to create swipe right organizations.

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