Learn how one organization in Rhode Island reduced annual turnover by 32% by creating an intentional plan for culture

Photo of Tockwotten


Tockwotton on the Waterfront - East Providence, Rhode Island


Reduce turnover and its impact on residents, team members, and bottom line.


Recommendations to improve culture, based on resident and team member focus groups and Drive's exclusive process, were implemented. A comprehensive analysis of staffing trends from 2013-2018 was performed by Drive's Staffing Analytics Advisor


  • 32% decrease in annualized turnover
  • 60% decrease in 90-day turnover accomplished in 9 months


Tockwotton on the Waterfront is a high-end senior living community nestled along the Providence River in East Providence, Rhode Island. (Close your eyes and imagine it… on the waterfront… ahhhh.)

Nearly every client we work with is challenged with attracting and retaining compassionate caregivers. And despite Tockwotton’s location, quality of services, and rich history, it was not immune to this challenge. In 2013, Tockwotton moved sites and opened a brand-new, state-of-the-art community that more than doubled its size. Not surprisingly, with this change came several challenges to their culture that ultimately impacted turnover. The leaders were determined to retain the unique history and culture of Tockwotton and create a community that both residents and team members would be proud to call their own!

Kevin McKay, President & CEO, engaged Drive because he wanted to attract the best talent, and retain them, to support their mission of providing resident-­centered care. He was tired of wasting time, and other resources and money recruiting team members without retaining them!


Inability to attract and retain qualified candidates who fit the company culture

Challenging orientation and onboarding processes

Significant use of agency employees

Unusually high percentage of employees working fewer than 10 shifts per month

Annualized turnover of 60%


The Results & Deliverables


decrease in annualized turnover accomplished in a year


decrease in 90-day turnover accomplished in 9 months


decrease in overtime


decrease in agency useage

The work we did

We consistently focus on four areas:


Review strengths and identify opportunities


Ensure processes support goals


Achieve established goals and ensure sustainability


Reflect on how each person contributes to the organizational culture

Tockwotton on the Waterfront engaged Drive to help them intentionally focus on organizational culture, with the goals of improving the resident experience and reducing turnover.

Drive kicked off a partnership with Tockwotton by conducting a leadership retreat where leaders were challenged to reflect on the evolving role of leadership in our field. Following the retreat, Drive conducted resident, family, and team member focus groups to understand the organization’s strengths and its opportunities. The feedback provided a framework for a strategic plan focused on improving culture through leadership development, mid-level manager training, and team member support. Leaders were educated on ways to enhance their skills for the benefit of engaging employees differently. Recommendations on innovative and cost-effective ways to manage staffing issues were made and implemented while the leaders continued their focus on improving culture.

Drive’s Staffing Analytics Advisor, who is also a professor at Cornell University, analyzed staffing data over the past 5 years (2013-2018) and made recommendations on more effective ways to meet the staffing challenges. Armed with this data, along with tools and leadership training, the leaders at Tockwotton developed a strategic culture plan to meet the goals and objectives of our work together.

Alternatives were provided on how to better utilize the monies spent in monthly agency costs ($60,000/month), which resulted in a projected monthly savings of $14,000/month. It was discovered that 75% of the employees working at Tockwotton were working fewer than 10 shifts/month. Leaders were able to explore “why” employees were choosing Tockwotton as their second job, and opened the dialogue on ways Tockwotton could convert these employees to working at least 20 shifts/month.

Drive recommended instituting a company-wide appreciation committee comprised of leaders and direct care staff who were charged with finding creative ways to appreciate employees and build upon the culture. The Drive team met with senior leaders responsible for the orientation and onboarding process and made recommendations on ways to improve the experience from the perspective of future candidates as well as focusing leaders toward holding employees accountable for the Tockwotton standards and behaviors.


For references on Drive’s role in this important initiative by Tockwotton on the Waterfront, please contact:

Kevin McKay, President & CEO
500 Waterfront Drive
East Providence, RI 02914
Phone: 401-272-5280
[email protected]

Photo of Kevin McKay for Culture Assessment

Kevin McKay

President & CEO, Tockwotton on the Waterfront

“In the time that Drive has been working with the Tockwotton team, we have already seen positive improvement in our culture and measurable results. Specifically, a 33% decrease in turnover, which is impacting resident and staff engagement. Things that once seemed too difficult to tackle on our own, are less intimidating knowing the Drive team is there to coach and guide us throughout the entire journey.”


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