This page will be updated frequently as we receive your questions and comments. The newest questions will be posted at the top, with the older questions below. 

Last Updated January 22, 2020

If you have questions, please continue to let us know. You can submit questions

Why do we have a uniform policy? 

NLCS makes a conscious effort to promote a homelike environment for our residents using person centered care principles. Our uniform policy was refreshed to support this philosophy. Team members throughout our communities adopted the practice of wearing polo shirts beginning in 2013. There are no plans to move away from this philosophy or policy.

What is NLCS’ policy on favoritism?

NLCS believes in a coaching philosophy for all supervisors, managers and directors. All coaches participate in ongoing leadership training to equip them with best practices. Treating all team members respectfully, including equitable and fair treatment, is woven throughout our workplace policies, practices, code of conduct, our Guiding Principles, and is a hallmark of our We CARE culture.

Team members are encouraged to speak with their coach or Talent & Culture if they perceive favoritism in their department.

There were several questions and suggestions about opportunities for operation improvement.

Our top priority is the health and safety of the residents at Augsburg. Augsburg and NLCS team members are working together to address concerns and will continue to partner with residents and family members to explore opportunities to enhance the Augsburg community. There have been a number of specific questions such as adding additional specialty health services or increasing safety in the building and parking lots. These are great topics of conversation for us to have with residents and team members in the coming months. We encourage questions and comments such as these to be shared so that we can continue to learn and evaluate the needs of the Augsburg community.

Will our health and dental insurance benefits remain the same?

For 2020, Augsburg is renewing contracts with the current health insurance carrier, Kaiser. As we go through 2020, we will be asking for your input regarding your satisfaction with your current health care plans. Any changes will be communicated with you.

What is NLCS’ uniform policy?

Some team members throughout the National Lutheran family are required to wear uniforms. All uniforms include community and We CARE branded apparel. Any team member that is required to wear a uniform is provided shirt(s) and are invited to purchase additional items at their discretion.

When will we learn about our new uniforms?

In December 2019, NLCS and Augsburg leadership will be surveying team members to determine the color each department would like for their uniform polo shirt. Once that is determined each department will facilitate ordering uniform polos beginning in January. Team members’ pants or scrub pants are based on department needs.

The Augsburg nursing team would like to work 12-hour shifts, will that happen?

NLCS nursing teams work 12-hour shifts and follow what we call “partnership staffing.” Partnership staffing offers consistency to our residents and to our team members. We will know more about the transition to partnership staffing at Augsburg once we get to know more about how you currently operate.

There were several questions and concerns about individual employees. 

When individual concerns are brought forward NLCS respects confidentiality and cannot publically respond. We ensure you we have received and are evaluating the concerns raised. In the coming months, you will hear more about We CARE–The National Lutheran Way. We CARE is NLCS’s employee-driven initiative that reflects our values, customer service and employee recognition. Everyone within the National Lutheran family is expected to abide by We CARE and the guiding principles it encompasses, which include:

  1. We believe respect and professionalism is the least we can do. 
  2. We believe communication is the best tool for our team 
  3. We believe time and resources are our greatest challenge 
  4. We believe service is our highest calling 
  5. We believe conflict is necessary for our success 

We have challenges with our building, especially in the kitchens and parts of resident’s rooms. What can the NLCS team do to help? 

Any large building will have its challenges. NLCS is and will continue to evaluate the opportunity for enhancements and updates as we operationalize our partnership. Our Environmental Services teams, in partnership with Procurement, work to ensure systems are serviced and the building is well kept and sanitary through ongoing vendor maintenance contracts.

Weekend staffing is too sparse. What can NLCS do to enhance this?

 As NLCS and Augsburg continue to build our partnership, we are reviewing staffing. Our top priority is resident care, and if we determine resident care is adversely effected by weekend staff levels, we will evaluate opportunities to enhance staffing levels.

As a GNA, I am not receiving a lunch break or a 15 minute break because I am responsible for setting and cleaning up the dining room around meal times. Why can I not have a break?

According to the Augsburg Employee Manual, you are permitted one fifteen minute paid break for each three and three-quarters hours worked each day. If you work longer than five hours, you will be given an unpaid meal period. If you are unable to take your meal period, you should notify your manager.

Will my years of service with Augsburg still count after affiliation with NLCS? 

Yes. You will continue to be an Augsburg employee after affiliation is complete. Therefore, your hire date will continue to be the foundation for your years of service.  

Will the Augsburg health benefits change?

NLCS needs to learn more about your health benefits before we are able to determine if there will be any changes. We commit to keeping the communication lines open. One of the benefits of affiliation is that Augsburg and NLCS become a part of a larger system, which provides both organizations more leverage when determining benefits such as health insurance.

What will happen to current salaries and wages?

The Board of Trustees of NLCS and NLCS leadership takes paying people a fair wage very seriously and desires to remain a leader in compensation. NLCS uses market data to develop salary grades for every position within the organization and regularly undergoes a third-party salary review. Jobs are priced both against industry and non-industry benchmarks and individual wages are determined based on salary ranges, experience in the job and years with the company. Over the next several months, NLCS will be reviewing salary information and commits to keeping the communication lines open.

We would like to know how many days are given and if PTO days include holidays or if holidays are independent of PTO days. How does NLCS handle Paid Time Off (PTO)?

About 15 years ago, NLCS made a transition from separate sick and vacation time off banks to our current Paid Time Off (PTO) model. NLCS has a generous PTO policy that is intended to help team members enjoy a healthy work/life balance. This flexible plan combines time off for vacation, holidays, personal business and/or illness into one program allowing team members to choose when using PTO time is most beneficial to their situation.

We have various accrual plans dependent on months of service and employment status. We look forward to learning from you and others on how the current Augsburg time off program works for you. That said it has yet to be determined if / when Augsburg team members will move to the NLCS PTO program.

Will there be a reduction in staffing?

As we work towards transitioning Augsburg into the National Lutheran family of communities and services, eliminating positions is not the priority. Our priority is continuing to provide residents the excellent care to which they have become accustomed – this can only be accomplished with the Augsburg team in place. There is still much work to be done to learn about each other so we can continue to cultivate a culture of learning, growing, and succeeding as individuals and as a team. If there are positions eliminated in the future, we foresee many of those transitions happening through attrition, which means the gradual reduction of a workforce by employees’ leaving and not being replaced.

If the difficult decision is made that any workforce reductions are necessary, it will be because NLCS and Augsburg made a mutual decision for the continued success of both parties. Positions impacted by a reduction may be eligible for a severance package. Augsburg is choosing to affiliate with NLCS for many reasons, but one of those reasons is the priority and value we place on the team members and residents.

Is Augsburg’s name going to change?

We are currently exploring the structure of the name as it relates to the other communities sponsored by NLCS; however, the words Augsburg and Village will remain intact.

Are we going to keep the vendors?

In what we have learned thus far about Augsburg’s relationships with its vendors, we see no reason to change these relationships. You have great relationships with your vendors and we want to continue to help cultivate those relationships and in some cases have explored the opportunity to expand one of your vendor relationships to other National Lutheran communities.

What has been shared with the residents about affiliation?

Residents, and residents’ responsible parties, received a letter in mid-August sharing the news that Boards of Augsburg and NLCS approved the continued effort to move forward with affiliation. The Maryland Department of Aging (DOA) closely regulates the process in which a change of ownership is communicated to the residents – including formal written and in-person communication. In compliance with this process, NLCS provided official notice to all residents and responsible parties on September 9 and will hold in-person meetings on October 2, at which the DOA will be in attendance.

Can you tell me more about the NLCS Education program and opportunities for continued education?

NLCS values continued education for all team members, regardless of their role. Every month, every team member is required to complete online training through a program called Relias. The training varies by month and includes topics such as security training, HIPPA training, safety training and resident care training. Additionally, in Relias, Larry Bradshaw, President & CEO of NLCS, does a bi-monthly video series for all staff. Relias also has thousands of optional courses, including a number of certifications and free Continued Education Units (CEUs).

In addition to online training, NLCS has an Education Team who regularly visit the communities for in-person training. This team is composed of six multi-disciplinary educators including nurses, a dietitian and a social worker. In addition to clinical training, the team conducts leadership training, infection control fairs, emergency preparedness fairs, dementia simulation education, and CPR and First Aid certifications. The education team has also started a CNA training program, which is currently training interested individuals at our community in Rockville, Md. Any National Lutheran employee, regardless of position, is able to participate in this program.

As an added benefit to employment, NLCS offers tuition reimbursement to both part time and full time employees. Specifics on the amount of reimbursement provided are given on a case-by-case basis, and can be discussed with coaches and Talent & Culture.

What does the “Great Place to Work” certification mean and will Augsburg receive this same certification?

Great Place to Work (GPTW) Institute surveys organizations to measure their capacity to earn team members’ trust and create a great workplace for high performance. The survey evaluated more than 60 elements of team members’ experience on the job including employee pride in the organization’s community impact, belief that their work makes a difference and feeling their work has special meaning. The NLCS distinction is active from March 2019 until March 2020.

NLCS is certified as an entire family; therefore, any community or service with the “National Lutheran” tagline is able to claim this certification. We feel Augsburg staff will make us stronger and look forward to including you in the next GPTW survey.

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