Business Research 101- UD Students and Kendal Learning Together

The partnership between Kendal and the University of Delaware’s Lerner College of Business and Economics is an excellent opportunity for Kendal to build upon university-based roots and dedication to lifelong learning, gain valuable insights from inventive students taking the time to research and evaluate Kendal initiatives, and hopefully, help develop an interest in the senior living field from those students deciding what their careers may be in the coming years.

Recently, Stacy Scott Terrell and Kim Preston at Kendal at Oberlin, Jodi Hoyt  at Kendal at Hanover, and Diane Massey from The Kendal Corporation had the opportunity to work with University of Delaware students in three Business Research 101 classes.

The fall semester seminars were an enjoyable and engaging experience for Kendal participants and concluded with students providing valuable ideas that Affiliates can explore and implement. At the same time, University of Delaware students received hands-on experience working on real-world ideas and requests from those working in the field. Through this one experience, approximately 45 students were exposed to Kendal and the field of aging services.

First-year Class Seminars Results

Diane with BUAD students

Volunteerism: Class #1

In partnership with The Kendal Corporation’s Diane Massey, students examined volunteerism and community service and how to encourage employees to engage in company-sponsored volunteer or community service projects.

Suggestions from students included recommendations for Kendal to add paid incentives to participate and align opportunities with current employees’ passions. Through research and surveys to their peers, students learned that some employees do not volunteer because they are unaware of opportunities, and sometimes, the details of opportunities are not accessible or easy to find.  They noted that many employees want to be able to plan far in advance about opportunities and learn specifics about how to be involved. They also learned that volunteers wish to provide feedback and to be shown gratitude.

Other ideas:

  • Flexible options for when and where employees can volunteer
    • Options to bring children/families on volunteer efforts
    • Half day- shortened opportunities
    • Hire a volunteer manager to coordinate and make volunteering easy
    • Opportunities that use employees’ professional skills- like IT and marketing to help other smaller non-profits
    • Host happy hours where employees can find out about opportunities
    • Give points for volunteering they can use for gifts
    • Provide cash bonuses for volunteering
    • Get the day off for volunteering.
    • Use an app for communication to track price information and show appreciation.

Diane shares, “I would recommend continued involvement with the Business Research Seminar and expand the number of Affiliates providing problem questions for students to research for them.

Attract and Retain Employees Spanning Generations: Class #2

Jodi with students

In partnership with Kendal at Hanover’s Jodi Hoyt, students examined the ideal workplace to attract, retain, and engage each of the five generations active in the workforce. They also researched preferred communication tools and new training methods. One student group surveyed four generations (45% Gen Y, 25% Gen X, 20% Millennials, and 10% Baby Boomers.) They asked about what is valuable to them, different work expectations, preferred work culture environments, managerial styles, pay and benefit expectations, and needs for flexibility and commitment. Students also observed how Kendal at Hanover was reviewed online by Google and other reviews.

Many of the recommendations related to tailoring the work culture to meet the varying expectations of each generation. While some may value work/life balance, others may value pay and opportunities for advancement as the priority. Many students agreed that employees enjoy working in a diverse workplace and that opportunities to engage and learn across generations are essential. Students felt internships were a great way to expose younger people, and reverse internships are excellent ways for younger staff to engage and teach older generations.

Other recommendations included:

  • Sign-on bonuses
    • Connect with values
    • Award an “Employee of the Week”
    • Develop a “Point System” with meaningful awards across generations. Some may choose PTO, others scholarships for their kids, retirement perks, or wellness perks.
    • Invest in positive Google and online review strategies
    • Increase social media presence highlighting staff
    • Make changes to the website that are attractive to all and younger generations.
    • Promote internships on the website

Jodi Hoyt shares, “I very much enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the students and introduce  them to the many career opportunities in the field of senior living. It is also important and very helpful to get the next generation’s perspective”

Oberlin slide

Assistive Technology: Class #3

In partnership with Kendal at Oberlin’s Stacy Scott Terrell and Kim Preston, students explored the potential use of various assistive technologies that fit in a home and enhance safety for older adults and successful aging. Examples included smart home technologies, fall prevention and detection, voice command devices and silent alarm and alert devices.

Students cost out the pricing and benefits of fall padding and bell alarms.  Many encouraged additional investigation into the growing uses of voice activation technology, now geared toward senior services. They also pointed to technology that could help those with cognitive impairment by utilizing music, movement, and trivia programming.

Other ideas:

  • Adding interactive lighting
    • Employing geofencing and smartwatch uses
    • Utilizing motion sensors on doors and windows
    • Adding medication management systems
    • Recommended looking into companies like Alert 1 and Optimize Health             

“I thought this was a great way to get our feet in the water with UD students, and I really appreciated the outside perspective they brought to the use of adaptive/supportive technology,” shared Stacy Terrell.

Kim Preston agreed, “It was a good opportunity to talk about the field of aging and to give these students early exposure to the values in which we build Kendal community.”

Kendal Appreciation for Students

Kendal appreciates the opportunity to work with University of Delaware students and values the outside perspective that the students brought to finding ways to encourage volunteerism, use adaptive and supportive technology, and use innovative ideas to engage all generations of employees. Additionally, it was an excellent chance to talk about aging and give students early exposure to a field that often gets overlooked.

Participants enjoyed connecting with the students and exposing them to senior living opportunities.  In addition to learning valuable skills from professionals in their field, students can also benefit from networking opportunities with business leaders like those at Kendal. This exposure may lead to internships or job opportunities in the future.

Strengthening Kendal’s engagements in university opportunities will help build stronger communities and organizations. Kendal looks forward to continuing work with the UD Business Research Freshmen Seminar in the future.

If you are interested in learning more about these experiences, reach out to the participants identified in this article. If you want to learn more about how to get involved for the Fall 2024 semester, reach out to Diane Massey as soon as possible –