Hope House Foundation’s Recognitions of Hope
Submitted By: Christina Slater, Human Resources Director, Hope House Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope House Foundation has increased focus on employee engagement to best support our employees, so that they can best support the people served by our agency. Engagement activities were previously done on a larger scale to support employees and connection across the agency but were modified to meet those same goals during the pandemic. We initiated a monthly engagement calendar that varies between team and personal development activities. Limited resources have continued to be exacerbated and required us to find activities that are fun, easy, and reasonably priced. The engagement calendar includes development opportunities for both the team and the individuals supported, and allows some of our employees to showcase their skills, whether artistic, graphic design, writing ability, or leadership in team challenges. The challenges for our 15 teams include competitions such as pumpkin decorating and gingerbread decorating contests that are posted and voted on electronically with the locations selecting the agency-wide winner with prizes for the winning team. We also crafted individual challenges for wellness such as walking and healthy eating to help support the full spectrum of physical and mental wellness for our employees as this impacts services for people supported.
This aimed to keep teams and individuals connected to the agency’s culture when we needed to socially distance ourselves and created opportunities to showcase the many skills and talents our DSPs bring to our organization each day. Additionally, we did a daily celebration for employees for DSP week to include both team and individual recognition such as ice cream trucks coming, sending food to teams, acts of service, and t-shirts with our theme this year: “Powered by Hope”. In a time when caregiver burnout is abundant, we need to focus on caring for those who care for the people we support.
We also re-launched a newsletter called “Recognitions of Hope” to celebrate individual and agency accomplishments as well as to share assistive tech tips written by an employee with a certification in Occupational Therapy. This is a space employees can also showcase their artwork and/or businesses.
Impact of the Program
The program has helped to keep the employees of Hope House Foundation connected to one another, promote teamwork and wellness, and provide the best possible services to people supported by our agency. We continue to create opportunities to celebrate each month, which has been critical during this unprecedentedly challenging season for our agency.
“Shout out from Lakewood!! It’s been a fabulous DSP week! Thank you Hope House!!”
“Thanks HHF for giving us one of the best DSP weeks ever!!!!!”
“Our employees are the absolute best! I’m honored to be on the team with each of you! Powered by Hope and each other!”
Steps To Implement a Similar DSP Program
The monthly engagement and DSP Recognition Week strategies can be implemented with little cost and are largely about the creativity and organized follow through. We utilize existing electronic communication platforms to share the activities, announce winners, and post pictures agency-wide.
- Determine funding available for supplies and awards.
- Solicit members to join a group with this focus; such as a recognition committee.
- Task the committee to create a schedule of activities that are within the budget, fun, creative and require team work.
- Determine plan to communicate to the organization to build excitement and celebrate.
- Maintain flexibility to adjust planned engagement initiatives based on current capacity.
Challenges You May Encounter
Keeping engagement activities voluntary for individuals and celebrating team winners helps meet people at the level where they are without adding additional tasks to their workload as our DSP resources need to be focused on services. When a certain activity has lower participation, we recognize that as an indicator that time in not available. We then simply thank and celebrate our employees without asking for additional time or energy as they are pouring everything they have into services for the people we support.
About Hope House Foundation
At Hope House Foundation, we believe neighborhoods and communities are enriched when everyone in them participates to the fullest extent possible. Choice. Belonging. Home. At Hope House, these are not just abstract concepts. Through our services, our community participation, and our advocacy, we make these ideas a reality, each and every day.
Help Us Carry Out Our Mission
You can join The National Alliance For Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) through NADSP Membership, and support us to elevate the status of direct support professionals.
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