ClearCompany is proud to share the latest post from our guest contributor, Louie Lugo. Every few months Louie will share his knowledge and advice on HR best practices gleaned from his career as a seasoned HR practitioner. We’re glad to have Louie as a blog contributor, and as a partner in Talent Management.

Last year I was attending a seminar and heard the cynical phrase, “Human Resources is neither human, nor resourceful.” Without question it was humorous, but it didn’t speak to any experiences I shared. My experience in HR has typically been one of positivity, productivity, creativity, innovation, and collaboration. But many employees that I’ve hired have often described unhelpful, unsupportive, and sometimes hostile work environments at their previous jobs. In most cases, it was a result of one of three situations:

  1. Human Resources does not exist as a dedicated department or function.
  2. Human Resources is overworked.
  3. Human Resources has no personnel assigned to appropriately support the workforce.

HR professionals have a seat at the table in companies and organizations now more than ever. That trend continues to have a positive outlook. However even with these continually evolving trends, there are still organizations that neglect their workforce, many of which do so indirectly or inadvertently. Research shows that 86% of business leaders rate culture as one of the more urgent talent issues, yet only 14% understand what the “right culture” really is.  At a time when positive culture and employee engagement are common terms at HR seminars and conferences, several companies and organizations are not designed to positively affect the full org chart at all levels. Many organizations’ HR departments focus on the goal of the C-suite, to affect positive change regarding the profit and loss statement. Although this is a critical function that HR should be involved in (and a responsibility I thoroughly enjoy in my current position), it doesn’t answer the full responsibility required to support the workforce and regularly maintain a positive and productive workforce culture.

Certainly, the business case has been made that happier and more committed employees tend to positively affect the bottom line, yet when we examine a number of organizational charts, often there is not a sufficient means in which to support the workforce, nor to comprehensively leverage human capital below middle management. This constitutes an often-overlooked opportunity to unite an entire organization with one ethos, mission, and set of values.

Organizational Values Bring Cultural Direction

At FirstLight Home Care, we have a Culture of Care defined by 11 different tenets. We summarize these 11 tenets into two distinct statements:

  1. How can our caregivers take care of our clients if we are not taking care of our caregivers?
  2. We ask our caregivers to care for our clients the way they would a family member. This could be an older parent, grandparent, great grandparent, or any other family member in need.

In the senior care space, client care staff are often overlooked or treated as a number. We support our people so our values are passed on in the form of excellent client care.

Learn how @FirstLightCare is helping build an engaging #companyculture through the work of their #HR department:

Human Resources, regardless of industry, is a people business. When our people are engaged and committed to a shared set of values, and when everyone believes in the same purpose, the organization is likely to succeed. In this light, we go out of our way to support our people in a number of ways:

  1. Caregiver appreciation dinners, socials, and an annual banquet
  2. Monthly caregiver meetings to discuss ongoing education, programs, services, etc.
  3. Regular reviews for professional feedback, dialogue, and compensation raises
  4. Professional/career advancement opportunities
  5. Regular retention calls

Furthermore, our people know that they can call me or someone on our team if they need help or support. This can be as simple as just needing someone to talk to. This is one of many ways in which we promote our Culture of Care and retain some of the best caregivers and office staff in the Senior Care industry.

As important as it is to define the culture, it’s equally important to create clearly defined metrics on how this is positively affecting the bottom line. Higher retention means lower turnover costs and potentially higher sustainable growth rates. Higher engagement leads to better client care and customer satisfaction. More office staff collaboration leads to better efficiency and strategic alignment. These all represent measurable positive metrics throughout the organization. This is because the HR function is designed and intended to reach the entire org chart from hourly employees to the C-suite. Furthermore, in this environment we champion a Learning Culture which promotes innovation. Innovation promotes high efficiency models, higher levels of technology integration, and creating new ways of running the business operation.

We can identify a multitude of KPIs that clearly illustrate positive change that our Culture of Care is responsible for, but for us it is more than that:

We genuinely care.

It truly brightens my day to see an employee happy in their role, to know they are supported, appreciated, and part of a larger whole committed to one goal. It is that human connection that represents the common denominator which unites an organization. This is how we realize our Culture of Care to maintain the integrity of who we are at FirstLight Home Care.

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Louie Lugo, SHRM-SCP
Louie Lugo, SHRM-SCP
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Louie Lugo, SHRM-SCP is the Director of HR & Innovation at FirstLight Home Care, a home health leader in the Denver market. He also serves as a consultant throughout the United States advising owners, managers, and C-suite employees on how to invest in human capital to enhance their business model and maximize ROI. As an HR veteran of 15 years, Louie is passionate about a number of specialties including predictive analytics, recruiting strategy, and strategic planning. Within the metrics and analytics niche, he explores and pairs mathematical application with challenges in human capital to create viable and innovative solutions.

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