Grateful for Hera - a client perspective
This week's blog comes to us from Ed McDonough, Regional CEO for ICBD Holdings, an early adopter of Hera's organization program.
Have you ever asked yourself the question “Does my company support employees who are primary caregivers?” How about “Does my company empower and promote inclusivity in all areas?”
As a regional CEO who oversees several healthcare entities, I had to take an honest appraisal of my company and myself as a leader. The truth hurt. The answers to those questions were a humble “NO”. If I am being honest as a leader, I hadn’t given much deliberation to those questions.
I simply never thought of employees in roles as primary caregivers.
Around this same time, I was introduced to Hera Aviation Group’s mission of making the aviation industry a more inclusive environment for caregivers. To be forthright, the only experience I have in aviation is from the back of the plane, but the Healthcare industry is not all that different from aviation. A lot of services tend to be on-demand and the stakes can be that of life or death.
Healthcare is also a customer service-based industry and we use client experiences to improve the quality of care. I preach to my leadership team that better client care equals better results in all aspects of the business. We promote self-care for employees and research tells that employees who practice self-care provide better client care. We use the analogy of putting on the oxygen mask first before helping someone with theirs. We were talking about aviation without even knowing it.
Yet, I kept thinking about what I learned thru Hera and the answer to those questions. I wanted to answer “Yes, I am doing all I can for employees who are the primary caregivers.” After speaking with Jess and her team from Hera it was greatly apparent - I needed to bring them into work with my team.
We need to change the way we thought about primary caregivers. We had to do better for our employees and clients.
I decided to not only bring Hera in but let them “look under the hood.” No words can illustrate how grateful I am for the coaching, mentoring, and policies that Hera brought to us. Jess and the Hera team held many coaching sessions for all leadership in the New England Region, including our entire HR department.
After the first coaching session, our leadership knew we had to be the change if we wanted to provide a truly inclusive workplace. We also need to change our old ideologies to keep and attract the top talent. Hera worked with us to survey employees to get much-needed feedback, both positive and negative.
Leadership and Jess came up with an immediate 7-point plan to implement to include employee caregivers in new ways, provide a greater resource to caregivers, and increase inclusivity in all areas of employment. Immediately, employee morale was noticeably increased as implementing new policies to improve the lives of primary caregiver employees took effect.
Upon Jess’s suggestion, we decided to implement flexible scheduling for primary caregivers. This proved to benefit not only the caregiver and company but, most of all, our clients. Some of our best employees were now more focused and not having to worry about juggling primary caregiving and work. Hera worked with HR to create resources and relationships with other companies that could assist us in the needs of caregivers.
Our employees frequently took advantage of Hera’s mentorship program for working primary caregivers. Our HR department also noticed a 35 percent increase in resumes being submitted from professionals who wanted to work for us because of the newly adopted philosophy. I was amazed at the wealth of talented caregivers who now wanted to work for a company that respected how difficult it is to be a caregiver.
We began to think outside of the box with Hera’s help to make sure we are constantly thinking from an inclusivity point of view. We spent a lot of time talking to employees and listening to their suggestions. We realized it was more important to spend the money to covert barely used offices and storage areas to caregiver rooms.
We also looked at using technology to allow the use of Telehealth when appropriate to allow our caregivers to work from home when they needed to be there. This had a direct result in preparing us for the transition to Telehealth due to Covid-19. The goal became to foster a space where a primary caregiver could work and raise a child. We didn’t want a primary caregiver to have to choose one or the other. Ever.
Before Hera, we did not keep data on primary caregivers. It had never occurred to us that we should be aware of these numbers. Today we have an eyes-open approach and our data showed that, before Hera, 31 percent of the staff was a primary caregiver. In a short time, we have been able to improve that to 47 percent of all employees. We also had 28 percent of job positions open at any time before Hera. After the implementation of Hera’s 7-point plan, we had 6 percent of job positions open. Our job retention rate also increased by 7.7 percent from the time we brought in Hera.
I could not argue with the numbers, but I also couldn’t ignore how grateful employees were.
I think the greatest sign that Hera had helped us improve lives were the results of our client surveys. The clients seemed to notice we were creating a nurturing environment and we were thinking about more than just the bottom line - Client satisfaction rose 11 percent.
Jess and Hera also changed the way I, and many of the seasoned veterans on my staff, look at business. We realized that we had been looking at our workforce through an entirely wrong set of glasses. Hera helped us create synergy with all of our employees and lets us support the ones that need the support. Instead of overlooking it, we embraced the fact that primary caregivers were essentially working two full-time jobs.
With Hera’s help, we have created a happy, plentiful, and strong workforce that is centered on one of the most important roles any human can have: CAREGIVING.