Help for the Helpers: Showing Support to Your Team

So often we talk about measuring business outcomes in a quantifiable way. I'd like to remind us that we can also measure results in an experiential way. We can ask our teams about their experience at our organizations and make improvements based on their responses. For example, I'm super proud of the people-first environment that we've been able to create through the benefits package that I've designed at NCHH.

NCHH is a national brand. We offer hope to people in the United States and abroad through our work to transform lives by transforming housing. However, behind the larger-than-life brand and goals of transformation, are individual people. People are behind this work. Not nameless, faceless numbers. Individuals whom I have come to know and care for. I listen to their stories about their lives and their children. I know what they worry about and I know how the heaviness of the work can sometimes affect them. It's important to the entire leadership team that our people feel heard, valued, and respected. As such, I spend a lot thinking about them, their needs, and ways to make their overall lives better.

Some examples of how I've worked with my ED to do this include: a benefits package with affordable premiums that offer the best possible medical care for our team; a culture that not just supports but encourages a healthy work/life balance; opportunities for feedback via regular employee surveys; pet insurance plan offerings, including an expanded bereavement policy that includes fur babies; and paid time off for miscarriages, fertility issues, and adoption complications. We have many other benefits such as a wage cap ratio of 4:1 between the highest and lowest paid benefits-eligible employees within the organization; and a minimum annual salary that is consistent with our organization’s belief that housing should be affordable. (Feel free to implement any of these ideas within your own organizations if they resonate with you.)

I know these offerings are meaningful because the team shares that feedback with their words and their actions by taking advantage of the benefits. I'm proud of this because providing support to the team IS the goal. When folks tell me they've taken advantage of the mental health benefits and now feel better, we've hit our benchmark of having an engaged team. When I hear that someone's child has benefited from a decision that I made, we've achieved the result of supporting employees and their families. When we receive hundreds of applications from people who want to come work for our organization, that means that our intention of transforming lives is being understood. When people come to work with us and don't want to leave, that's a result. When people bring their full selves to work and the organization benefits, that's a result. Our objective is to transform lives by transforming housing. But there is no transformation without the people behind the work. Supporting them is the goal.

I don't know what kind of work your organization does, but I imagine you have the same goal of supporting your team, as well. Sometimes that part gets lost while we dig in to serve the community. This holiday season, let's remember to show appreciation and gratitude to the team who supports the work. One way we can show them that appreciation is by having the courage to ask about their experiences in working with us. Then, let's have the courage to listen and change based on their responses.

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