Leon Gulley with George Beyheimer in the Marjorie P. Lee Dining Room.
At Episcopal Retirement Services, we are guided not only by our mission to enrich the lives of older adults in a person-centered, innovative and spiritually based way, but also by our six core values.
Rooted in our Episcopal faith tradition, these values create an unwavering and unchanging guide for how we advance our mission at our retirement communities in Cincinnati and Louisville and through our many community programs and services. They are:
- Relationships: Recognizing and encouraging deep and meaningful relationships among all we serve, and believing all individuals have infinite worth and deserve respect.
- Integrity: Acting under the highest ethical standards with honesty, trustworthiness, transparency, and sincerity.
- Engagement: Expecting all to be in relationship with those we serve and work. Participate in decision-making to improve elders’ lives, our work environment, and the services we offer.
- Inclusion: Valuing collaboration and diversity of thought, experiences, and perspective. Appreciating that we are better together leveraging our strengths and differences.
- Person-Centeredness: Restoring freedom, choice, and purpose to those we serve and with whom we work. Leading in an individualized, strength-based way using Servant Leadership principles.
- Progressive Thinking: Encouraging innovation and respectfully challenging the status quo to create breakthroughs in thinking, systems, and practices. Encouraging lifelong learning.
Over the past 18 months, residents, staff, families, and board members have been discussing and defining our culture with the goal of re-energizing our values and our Ways of Working. We’re exploring each of these values in a series of articles, beginning with relationships.
Deupree House resident Bob Nau with team member Bryan Lusane.
Why Relationships Are Important
“Relationships are vital to our well-being,” says Joan Wetzel, Vice President of Organizational Development & Human Resources. “We need strong, positive interaction with others and friendship just as much as we need air, water, and food. The better our relationships are at work, overall, the happier we will be.”
Our value of “Relationships” goes beyond our relationships with our teammates.
“ERS expects us to engage in deep and meaningful relationships with our residents and clients. When we take the time to interact and really get to know our residents, frankly, we just perform our jobs better,” Joan says.
“ERS expects us to engage in deep and meaningful relationships with our residents and clients. When we take the time to interact and really get to know our residents, frankly, we just perform our jobs better,”
Staff-Resident Relationships Thrive
In building their relationship, Leon Gulley, Dining Services Supervisor at Marjorie P. Lee, and George Behymer, a resident, found they have a lot in common, and quite simply enjoy talking to each other. Leon discovered that both men had a military service background.
“While getting to know George, I realized we were both in the Navy,” Leon says. “My relationship with George and other residents is what I love about coming to work here. It’s very special to make someone’s day by knowing their favorite dessert, or how they like their coffee,” he says.
“Developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with our residents makes my job easier and more enjoyable,” says James Fisk, director of wellness for ERS. “The more I know about our residents, the better I can anticipate their specific needs. When our residents take an interest in my life outside of work, it’s clear that they care about me beyond my role within ERS. That motivates me to consistently serve them in the best way possible.”
Jim oversees programs such as exercise classes, tai chi, yoga, personal training, and pool activities.
“We have a big focus on well-being here, helping our residents and staff to live to their fullest potential as they age,” he says.
Deupree House resident Michael Porte with Wellness Director Chloe Hough.
Investing in Relationship-Building Pays Off
We recognize that good relationships don’t happen overnight. They take time and emotional investment.
In 11 years of working many different jobs at ERS, Tarrah Pickard has formed deep relationships with team members and residents.
“ERS has been wonderful to me and for me,” she says.
In only a few years, Tarrah went from serving tables to nursing services to administration, and now is director of life enrichment and activities for residents at Deupree House. In her role, she works with a resident committee that organizes activities and events such as art exhibits, educational seminars, entertainment, and numerous outings in the community to restaurants and the theater.
“I love coming into work every day, working with the residents, and just listening to fascinating stories about their lives,” she says. “I learn something every day from our residents. They are like family to me.”
The leader of the activities committee, Mary West, a retired teacher, has served as a mentor for Tarrah.
“Our friendship is based on mutual trust,” Tarrah says. “Mary has given me positive feedback and support and has never made me feel bad about my errors. She’s wonderful.”
“I love coming into work every day, working with the residents and just listening to fascinating stories about their lives,” she says. “I learn something every day from our residents. They are like family to me.”
Trust is the foundation of every good relationship. We build trusting relationships with our teammates and residents and we communicate better. We assume positive intent, look for the best in others, and have each other’s back. We are accountable to each other. We take ownership of our actions and our words. Most importantly, we are person-centered with one another, focusing on our strengths and committed to each other’s successes.
To learn more about our core values and download a copy, click here. And check back next month for our next article in this series, “Integrity.”