The Heroes in Our Midst
At Qualicare Franchise Corporation, we place the highest value on our caregivers. It takes a special, internal strength to be thrust head-first, alone, into a home and into a family. Moreover, by virtue of them contacting us in the first place, there’s usually a lot of emotional energy in the family atmosphere.
Qualicare has many programs in place to show our appreciation for the caregivers, including a dedicated caregiver newsletter and frequent rewards/tokens of appreciation such as coffee cards and days at the spa. We also have a High Five program where management, nurses and co-workers publically acknowledge special actions and efforts. Our most popular program is the Caregiver of the Month award. A truly deserving caregiver is selected and invited in for a celebratory lunch. They also get a gift card, a framed certificate and their picture is put up in our lobby for that month.
While the original objective was to motivate our caregivers by giving them special recognition, we have discovered an amazing and unexpected benefit for all of us in the office. At this lunch, they get to shmooze with the office staff (who never turn down free pizza and cake). And we get to hear their stories. And what stories they are!
For example, this month’s caregiver is Maria. Twenty years ago, she and her husband, and 10 year old son, were living in a country that had on-going rebel insurrection. Her husband, a military employee, was ambushed and killed by guerillas on his way home for the weekend. These evil people then called Maria that evening and warned her that if she and her son didn’t leave, they would be killed also. She immediately fled to another part of the country to be with her parents, but the rebels called her there and said they knew where she was and they would be coming to execute her and her son. Maria had no choice but to leave right away, in less than a week. They were able to get into this country as refugees – with no English, no profession and very little money.
This might have paralyzed a lesser person, but Maria had two attributes that enabled her to survive – a positive attitude and a giving outlook. In short order, she went to school to learn English and gain caregiver certification. And in her spare time, she became deeply involved volunteering in her ex-pat community by using her professional training from her previous life.
She is happy. She is proud that she has a 30 year old, married son who
is her best friend. She is grateful to be in a country that has given
her a second chance. She is fulfilled in a profession that allows her
to care for people.
And we, at our Qualicare franchise office, were thrilled that we got more than pizza. We got to be in the presence of a hero – an extraordinary, ordinary hero who left us feeling in awe and humbled, and wondering whether we could ever have that internal strength.
Every franchise business likes to pride itself on having great employees. If you really believe that, then listen to their stories. Learn from their experiences and what made them the kind of people you wanted to hire.
And see them all as heroes.