LeadingAge Ohio "Employer of Choice" Initiative


Ohio LeadingAge President and CEO Kathryn Brod wanted to address recruitment and retention workforce issues in her state and the LeadingAge Leadership Academy gave her the perfect jumping off point. She set up a committee of human resources (HR) professionals from several Ohio communities to talk about solutions and they ultimately decided to focus first on HR practices.


Ohio LeadingAge created an “Employer of Choice Initiative” that includes 12 criteria an organization must meet to receive a Gold, Silver, or Bronze designation. Any organization in Ohio can apply – nursing homes, life plan communities, home and community-based services and hospices – and the state is developing one on affordable housing.

Implementation Details:

To apply for the designation, individual communities must meet three minimum requirements: they must have at least a 3-star rating from CMS, meet a benchmark showing financial strength, and new communities must have had an occupancy rate of at least 80% for one year.

The 9 of the 12 criteria are number-based, such as the CMS star rating and turnover. Two others – innovative practices/culture and community engagement require essays – and locations must have a leadership continuity/succession plan in place. The remaining criteria are engagement, resident satisfaction, benefits, retention, agency use and timely employee evaluations. Organizations must apply individually for the designation – it cannot be applied to multi-state organizations.

A review committee of HR professionals comprised of LeadingAge OH members, led by Kathryn Brod, will review all applications and determine what designation is earned based on a scoring system of:

  • Gold = All criteria meets and at least exceeds requirements
  • Silver = All criteria meet requirements
  • Bronze = 9 of 12 meet requirements (8 of 11 for Hospice)

Factors for Success:

  • An organization wishing to become an Employer of Choice must have a commitment to 2 principles:
    • A strong focus on providing high-quality operations.
    • HR systems that engage employees in their locations beyond just doing the job.


While the program is new, LeadingAge Ohio believes that the Employer of Choice designation will help attract and retain employees – as well as residents. LeadingAge Ohio is working through a structured public relations program to ensure that the program is viewed as a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” that can be used in marketing efforts to show a community’s strong workforce – as well as its commitment to excellence.

Need more information?

Contact Kathryn Brod, president, and CEO, Leading Age Ohio.