High Engagement = Powerful Improvement Outcomes

October 24, 2014
Tina Rein and Laura Beck

Happy CoupleA couple of weeks ago, you had the chance to take in the power of high engagement in “Community Meetings Deepen Connectedness and Stimulate Growth.”  As we continue to explore the impact of team participation in the performance improvement process, Denali Center in Fairbanks, Alaska offers yet another excellent example of how getting everyone involved pays off in spades.

Denali Center has redefined the process of “Hiring the Best” and engaging the whole team through their work on recruitment and retention.  The home invites employee care partners and Elder care partners to all interviews of new applicants.  The Elders point out to new potential hires the importance of relationships and longevity.  The Elders, then, personalize this point by explaining that these two things help create and protect a sense of identity and safety for the people who live and work there.

“It makes me feel better to understand the process and the thought that goes into the hiring of care partners to care for me,” says Sandy Crabb, an Elder who has participated in Denali’s hiring process.  A recently hired employee care partner revealed that she was offered two other positions in other organizations, but accepted the position at Denali Center, because of the engagement of employees during the interview and how Denali values and engages the Elders who live there.  From the beginning, the home clarifies the fundamental value of the Elders at the center of all the work that they do.  High engagement has clearly paid off for Denali – they’ve managed to reduce turnover by over 30% since 2012.

Here is some food for thought when comes to pumping up quality improvement through high engagement, inspired by the Eden Alternative’s GROWTH Model:

REACH OUT by engaging everyone you need to champion your efforts.  Stretch yourself to be as inclusive as possible. Deepen your brainstorming process by asking the following questions:

  • Who needs to learn about this change?
  • Who can play a part in bringing about this change?
  • Who can take the lead in driving this change?
  • Who has pulled off similar changes successfully, that we can draw from?
  • How do we best share our ideas about making changes with others?

Consider, too, the power of engaging employee care partners in determining which performance improvements the organization should prioritize and tackle first. Hold Learning Circles to ask what changes everyone thinks the organization should make to deepen and improve person-directed practices.  It doesn’t matter where your organization falls on the continuum of care… when teams have a powerful sense of ownership in the development of your culture change journey, amazing things begin to happen.

Tune in to the second event in the webinar series, Person-Directed Performance Improvement to learn more.  “Engaging the Whole Team” is scheduled for November 11th at 3 pm ET and features the Dean of the Erickson School for Aging, Judah Ronch; Carol Switzer of Denali Center, and Carol Ruggles of HCHC Park Place Elder Living.

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