Spring is almost here! Speaking personally for a moment, spring is my favorite time of year, we are able to walk around without our heavy coats, we can see signs of flowers and trees getting ready to bud and bloom, and we get to be outside more often!
Thank you to all of you that gave us your input on the newsletter. The results indicate that overall people like the content of the newsletter and people like having the newsletter in print form. We did receive some good suggestions about which sections are read more often and which sections we could change a bit. The question on layout changes were mixed, some really like the old lay-out and some would welcome some additional change in the layout. We will take some time to review all of the responses and suggestions you all provided and implement some changes over the next few months. Congratulations to the winners of three $25 gift cards – Jill Peterfeso, Renea Funchess, and Shelley Weiss!
One of my favorite quotes is by author Susan J. Bissonette, “Optimism is the Human Personification of Spring.” While I love to be an optimist and I love spring, I am also a realist. As many of you have noticed we have open positions at NorthEast Residence and we do have staff turnover. The fact is that these direct care openings are unfortunate and can be unsettling. Some of the openings and turnover can be traced to many factors including that when the economy is booming in some sectors, the caregiving profession suffers in that there are many opportunities for people to choose for employment. The question you are probably wondering is, what are we specifically doing at NER to ensure we are hiring and retaining good quality staff at NER?
I will highlight the great things about working for NER and what makes NER the company that people want to work for and I will highlight the exciting activities we have planned in the coming months to support our employees in their daily work as well as in their career track. Some of these will take longer to implement, but we are very excited to share some of what we are doing and some of our plans with all of you in the NER community. If you know of anyone who would like to work and have FUN, please ask them to call our Human Resources Department at 651-765-0217 or apply at /employment/job-listings.aspx
Some of the benefits to working at NER are things that we have been doing for many years such as PTO for full-time as well as part time employees. We offer a very generous Holiday Pay and Incentive pay for working holidays. We offer paid training and sll training is paid at full wage. When our staff come to work, they eat with our clients and the staff meals are paid for. Each program has at least one vehicle to use for transportation and our staff members do not have to use their own vehicles for transportation while they are working with our clients. We employ a full-time maintenance department to take care of the maintenance needs of our homes and programs. We also offer a referral bonus of $100 for employees that refer their friends and family to work for NER after the staff has worked here for 6 months.
The very most important thing about working for NER is that we offer FUN and rewarding experiences to our employees when they come to work. Many of the clients at NER love to go to events, movies, shopping, walks, the health club, Special Olympics concerts, swimming, zoo visits, parades fairs, sporting events and many more FUN activities.
Some of these things I highlighted seem like they are or should be provided at all companies like ours, but many of these are unique to NER and is one reason we are the company that people want to work for and the reason many families choose to have their loved ones trusted to our care.
These highlights are engrained into the culture of NER and I have heard it said more than once that we are the “Company with a Heart.” We will continue that tradition and continue to highlight these great things about working for NER at the same time as putting into place some additional reasons NER is the company that you want to work for.
We have formed a Staff Recognition and Staff Retention Committee and have agreed that the goal of the group is to attract and retain quality employees. The committee has come up with a number of great ideas to attract and retain quality employees. Some of the ideas that have already been implemented include the list of things we do at NER that other companies do not offer, we have revamped our service awards program so that we can celebrate our employees on reaching different milestones here at NER such as 1,3, 5 (and beyond) awards that they receive at their staff meetings. We have begun a pilot program working with sites to cross-train employees so that when shifts are open at one site; the staff are trained to work at other NER sites. These pilots are in the very early stages of development and we hope to see some successes.
Other ideas that we are developing include: in the coming months we will be sending out a survey to staff that asks about things such as what makes NER the company that you want to work for, what makes you feel valued as an employee, what helps you recharge after a day at work, what tools could you use to make your job better? These are just some of the suggestions that were submitted by our Management team and I am committed to seeing many of the responses through.
Additionally, we are creating (or renewing) a mentoring program for new Supervisors, we are in the very early stages of developing a Leadership Training program where current Supervisors can recognize their employees that have potential and provide leadership and other training to help them gain the skills to advance to other positions here at NER.
The Staff Recognition and Staff Retention Committee has designated April 10, 2015 as the beginning of the NER Staff Appreciation Week and while know that staff recognition is occurring all year long, we will offer additional ideas to our Supervisors that provide ideas on things that they can do to recognize the staff at NER during that week and the rest of the year.
We are a “Company with a Heart” and we want our staff, our clients and our families to feel that way about us too. I want to thank all of the staff that is working hard each and every day at NER. I appreciate you, the Board appreciates you, the families and loved ones of our clients appreciate you and most important our clients appreciate you.
We will do what we can to make this the company that people want to work for and we ask that you share the opportunities with the people you know!
I will provide occasional updates on our staff retention and recognition projects, in the meantime please feel free to talk with the staff and Supervisors of the programs you work with on what we are doing. And, remember my door is always open so please feel free to call me with any suggestions, questions or concerns you may have.
Enjoy the Spring!
Heidi Holste, Executive Director