Monday, July 1, 2013

Understanding the Heritage Christian Culture

At Heritage Christian we’re fortunate to have a workforce that’s dedicated to our mission and to the people we support – so dedicated that 36 percent of our employees have worked here for five years or longer. Our retention rate for direct support professionals, the largest segment of our employees, is 79 percent, which puts us well above the national average.

Every organization strives to retain employees because it makes good business sense, but at Heritage Christian it also makes good sense for the people we support. It takes time for staff to know a person’s medical history and to learn to read body language for a person who doesn’t communicate in traditional ways. And even if it’s not a matter of medical frailty, it is a matter of dignity because it can be difficult to get used to a new staff person supporting your personal needs.

That’s why retaining the best employees matters so much and why we try to create a workplace culture that’s founded in Christian compassion, courage, honesty, humor, excellence and entrepreneurship.

We recently hired a company called Brand Integrity! to assist us in linking those corporate values to real behaviors – like smiling and speaking at eye level and making time to share a laugh with others. Close to 80 percent of active employees took a survey to let us know how we were doing as an agency in living out our values and they ranked us highest in the areas of Christian compassion and humor.

We’re still studying the results, but I know the survey information will help us strengthen our culture and our workforce. And that will improve the support we offer to people with disabilities.

 “The reason why I have stayed here with HCS is the relationships I have made over the years, the life lessons that touched my heart and the strong feeling of a second family.” – Karolyn Kowalski, manager at the home on Heim Road in Williamsville

“The warm environment and positive people make work almost like a social event where you are supported constantly by those who want to see you grow personally and professionally. … Time and time again, I personally, have found inspiration and encouragement from (the people we support), even if they are not able to verbally communicate this. What a blessing Heritage Christian has been.” – Andrey Khabursky, assistant manager at the home on Stone Road in Pittsford
 “There are many reasons why I have stayed working at Heritage Christian this long, other than just the great benefits the agency offers to their employees.  I like the fact that we work hard at maintaining our culture over the years and I have felt like Heritage Christian has become like an extended part of my family. We believe in promoting growth within the ranks. …The many life lessons learned in this career has enriched my life on a daily basis.” – Felipe Rios, manager at the home on Salt Road in Webster

Enjoying the relaxing time to reconnect at Camp Pioneer 2013.
Celebrating family night at Camp Pioneer Reunion 2013.

HCS staffers support the behind-the-scenes work that makes reunion week successful.