Brio Living Services gains and retains top talent with bu

Brio Living Services was looking for a way to remain a top ranked employer in the country. Through their partnership with bu they’ve been able to retain top talent, boost engagement and improve their bottom line.

Company Profile

Health Care


Merging Cultures
Informal Leadership Development

Customized Leadership Training
Engagement + Coaching tools

Retaining talent during and post pandemic- a healthcare story

Brio Living Services is a healthcare organization specializing in elder care, serving over 7000 families and older adults across Michigan. Brio employs more than 1,300 dedicated team members. Their mission is to provide state-of-the-art senior living options, including a continuum of residential care, home and community-based services, hospice care, and more to meet the diverse needs of older adults. Leveraging bu’s manager upskilling platform Brio propelled itself into a new era of organizational cohesion and leadership excellence.


“We had thrown everything at recruitment and retention that we could throw, and those were meaningful things, but this was a focus that we were not addressing that we finally decided we would address and commit some resources.”

-Michelle Henderson, CHRO

The Problem

In 2019, Brio faced a challenge when two legacy organizations affiliated to become one, requiring the creation of a new unified culture while paying respect to each organization’s histories. The impending pandemic, combined with a staffing crisis, made the need to address workforce challenges and create a cohesive identity a top focus.

As a nonprofit organization, Brio struggled to allocate sufficient resources to leadership development, employee retention, and recruitment in the highly competitive healthcare industry.

Instead of treating retention as solely an “HR responsibility,” Brio emphasized that retention is every manager’s responsibility within the organization and took action.

The Solution

The old model of leadership tends to miss an important demographic of leaders, the middle managers. The ones that can be pulled in either direction- to cover shifts but are also expected to lead teams with empathy and compassion. It’s hard to be empathetic when you’re constantly exhausted.

Enter bu-, an ally in the journey to upskill Brio’s managers to enable delivery of a consistent experience around performance that blended the combined culture across the organization, at scale. bu’s manager upskilling software, uMap, created a common language for leaders across Brio’s 23 communities, fostering transparency and consistency between managers and their direct reports.

Brio also utilized bu’s extensive training materials alongside their own proprietary content to develop internal training programs delivered by Brio training staff. The result was a sustainable manager development program and a delivery system that spread the experience to all team members, consistently, in their voice.


“The excitement has built tremendously amongst those middle managers. High level leaders went through the training first, but it’s the excitement of the mid-level managers and them bringing it back to their team that I’ve really found touching and inspiring.”

-Courtney Phiscator, L&D Manager


“We have dropped [monthly] turnover from 7% to 2.99% over an 8-month span. Our open positions have gone down significantly. I believe we had over 200 openings in 2021 and we’re down to 115 now.”

-Michelle Henderson, CHRO

The Results

The outcomes were staggering. Brio’s leadership team has finally gotten some relief. During the pandemic, the C-suite was covering shifts, turnover was at an all-time high, and top talent was tough to come by. Brio has gone from surviving to thriving. Their partnership with bu, in addition to a comprehensive workforce planning strategy, allowed them to thrive again.

bu’s manager upskilling programs had a positive impact on employee engagement and interaction. Leaders were more connected and compassionate toward their team members, which translated into better overall job satisfaction and a more enjoyable work environment.

“I think the biggest impact is compassion with each other. I think our elders see that too.” Courtney Phiscator, L&D Manager

When asked how our customer success team has supported Brio in achieving its goals:


“I mean, I do feel like we all are working together. Like it could almost feel like we work as part of the same team. Is that a common thing you hear? Because it, it does feel that way. I feel very connected.”

-Michelle Henderson, CHRO

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