These are words worthy of any company’s statement of values. But for Revera—a Canadian company that offers seniors’ services including home care in more than 220 retirement residences, long-term care homes and skilled nursing facilities across North America—they are far more than words.
“They are the underlying motivation for why we’re here,” says Darlene Friesen, learning and development specialist with Revera. “The values reflect our commitment to enhancing people’s lives with choices in their communities,” adds Barbara Belanger, director of learning and development. “The values are ingrained in everything we do, from our email signatures to our leadership training. They are the guiding principles for 26,000 employees touching the lives of thousands of seniors every day.”
Revera formally defined the four values about three years ago to help build a strong culture that would see it through the challenges of corporate rebranding and expansion.
“We’ll celebrate our 50th anniversary next year, and we’ve come a long way since our first home opened in Winnipeg,” says Friesen. “We started by training people as managers,” says Belanger, “but there’s been an evolution toward more self-reflection about leadership skills and opportunities.
“The size and geographic dispersion of the organization make it harder to reach everybody. As learning and development professionals, we need consistent themes and messages for ongoing leader growth.”
That focus on leadership opportunities made the Work Personality Index® a natural fit with their work. With a curriculum based on results of the Work Personality Index Leadership Competency Report, “Lead to Succeed” workshops have been delivered to nearly 1,600 employees, including site managers in Canada and the United States as well as senior leaders in corporate offices.
After extensive research into assessment tools, Belanger and Friesen agreed on the Work Personality Index for several reasons. “We wanted something managers could do online confidentially for their own use, to be open to exploration and self- reflection,” says Friesen, who also cites the Work Personality Index’s positive tone: “It talks about opportunity, not weakness.”
Belanger says the Work Personality Index’s ease of administration, ease of use and cost effectiveness makes it affordable and sustainable to use throughout a large organization like Revera.
One part of the Work Personality Index workshops that has worked well as a culture builder is a “commitment card”: Participants write down their key areas of opportunity for development and hand in the card to the facilitator, who mails it back to them three months later as a reminder. “We’ve seen commitment cards hanging in people’s offices,” says Belanger. She and Friesen say that people sharing this commitment with colleagues have helped teams develop in the same positive and reflective way as individual leaders.
But the successful commitment that Friesen and Belanger are most proud of has come from the senior vice-president of HR and other senior leaders at Revera. “We wanted to demonstrate the value of leadership,” says Belanger. “The senior leadership team has invested a lot in this program and we believe the participants truly value the experience.”
Friesen and Belanger say this commitment to leaders by leaders is an example of how the organization lives its four core values: “We have VPs and senior VPs involved as co-facilitators. They are helping other leaders learn from their experience—including the lessons about what was less successful—and they are showing how they got to the position they’re in.”
“This company takes the time, travel, effort and energy to do this,” says Friesen. “And that in itself is showing leadership.” Not to mention respect, integrity, excellence and compassion. “We know leadership is a hard job,” says Belanger, “and we value the work that our leaders do every day.”