Our administrative staff and nurses once brainstormed the question,
“What are the key factors that guide our actions and distinguish us as a company?”
What emerged was a list of over 25 items, including things like 24-hour accessibility, collaborative staffing decisions, attention to detail etc. We recently took the process a step further and asked ourselves which among the list of items were indispensably the most important ones. Each of us voted privately in writing. Here is the resulting short list, which we refer to as our core values.
We give great customer service to our clients, prospective clients, employees and applicants. All are customers in one sense or another. Great customer service includes courtesy, friendliness, respectful treatment, accurate information and prompt problem resolution.
We value honesty with clients, prospective clients, Home Care Aides, applicants and each other. Being honest includes communicating truthfully and the avoidance of giving misleading expectations. It also means admitting our mistakes no matter how we learn about them, while also taking prompt corrective action.
ACHIEVING GOOD MATCHES BETWEEN CLIENTS AND AIDES:
We work hard in advance to find the right Home Care Aide(s) for each client from the start, by taking into account both the aide’s needs and the client’s. We carefully describe each new assignment and probe for possible conflicts or incompatibilities. We consider factors like location, driving distance, personalities, requisite technical skills and comfort around pets. We give particular attention to whether a particular assignment meets the aide’s income requirements and work availability.
Keeping our promises means doing what we say we will do. We strive to only make promises that we can realistically fulfill. We do not over-promise or create unrealistic expectations.
Articulating the foregoing values in our case was a matter of finding where there was the greatest consensus among our staff based on their own individual experiences working at Ready Hands. It was not a process whereby top management had to “sell” them to obedient employees.
Core values give a company its identity. They give employees the feeling that they are working toward common goals, and that they stand for something. They help guide behavior and performance within the organization. They provide a framework for making decisions. For example, if we convey to a client that we can accommodate an unusual schedule request that we know will be hard to staff, aren’t we violating our commitment to promise-keeping? Core values also permit a company to confidently communicate its “story” to customers. In a very real sense, it can be said that a company’s success depends upon how it lives up to its core values.