EMPLOYERS OF CHOICE
16 | Sunday, September 4, 2016
Western Home gives workers opportunities to grow KARRIS GOLDEN
Western Home Communities
CEDAR FALLS — Briana Hilmer believes the ideal employer blends mission, service, collaboration and quality. She found that mix at Western Home Communities. “We encourage people to do what we love,” she explained. “We promote providing the best care possible to the amazing people who live here.” To stay that course and ensure employees are engaged and empowered, WHC’s senior leadership relies on regular feedback. This includes an annual, anonymous employee satisfaction survey. “We’re looking for information on what we can do better in our field, particularly as it relates to keeping the work-life balance in line,” said CEO Kris Hansen. In reviewing the results, Hansen looks for ways to bolster
Address: 420 E. 11th St., Cedar Falls Phone: (319) 277-2141 Website: www.WesternHomeCommuni-
Employees: 750 Business focus: long-term care and COURTESY PHOTO
S outh Cottage coordinator Erica Rath takes resident Julia O’Brien for a ride in the quadricycle. strengths and address issues. “We want to engage employees in a way that helps us identify needs and implement solutions,” he said. “The focus is on communication, which is easier said than done. It’s important, because these employees are working at the closest level with residents, patients and clients.”
independent residential retirement community living Leads the field in: innovative, individualized care for those living with dementia
Employee recognition is vital, and Hilmer believes WHC excels in that area. “The CEO, COO and directors send employees handwritten birthday cards,” she said. “Employee anniversaries are recognized and celebrated. ... WHC treats employees and residents/ tenants like family.”
Another way WHC has fostered communication is through an emphasis on process improvement, said Hansen. This has created opportunities for employees at all levels to collaborate and find ways to identify and resolve issues. “One of our goals is to make sure we can have fun; there are
a lot of very stressful situations because of what we do,” he explained. “Often, it’s about slowing down and having those necessary interactions.” To address the shortage of health care workers, WHC started an in-house training class and pays students while they attend. There also are financial incentives for new and existing employees. WHC also provides a variety of ongoing training to help all members of staff deal with issues common to working in eldercare. The need for such tools extends to all employees, not just those in regular contact with residents. “I appreciate having a goodhearted leadership team that rewards smart, hard-working employees’ effort to grow with and in the organization,” said employee Ashley Cunningham.
Our vision at Western ern Home Communities:
Our mission is to create fulfilling lifestyles for those we serve, their families and our employees. The Employer of Choice honor belongs to all those who live that mission every day, creating a culture that has propelled us forward for 104 years.