As the 1990s Chicago Bulls can attest, winning three titles is no easy task. But at Assistance Home Care, which is based in the Midwest, titles are an expectation. That is why the personal care firm has earned its third top 10 in four years on FORTUNE’s Top Workplaces list. It is one of 15 nonmedical home care firms on the list.
A plethora of factors has contributed to the firm’s success, but according to President and co-founder Allen Serfas, when it comes to his employees, great things happen when the company listens.
“When we listen to our team and incorporate their thoughts and feedback in how we move forward, we’re constantly thinking, ‘What more can we do?’” Serfas said. “When we talk about a best practice or new program, we share [with employees] that this program came from their feedback. It wasn’t just a random idea. We’re so happy about it because it came through the voices of our care professionals.”
Assistance Home Care was established in 2011 in honor of Serfas’ mother-in-law who died of Alzheimer’s, and his wife Sally, who was her mother’s caregiver for five years. It currently operates four offices in the St. Louis area; it recently expanded into Chicago. It has provided private home care services to over 5,000 families since opening and has partnered with over 300 employees this past year to help deliver its mission. Regardless of location, Assistance Home Care prides itself on attention to detail.
“We have an environment that is very supportive, appreciative, and recognizes the team for what they do,” Serfas said. “It’s every single interaction we have with our employees — what can we do to make sure that they understand that they are the most important contributor for us to deliver upon our mission?”
Central to this mission are the firm’s core values, which Serfas says guides his recruitment efforts. Those values correspond with the acronym I Respect: Initiative, Responsibility and Reliability, Empathy, Sunshine and Smiles, Present and Professional, Education, Communication, and Trust and Teamwork. Serfas believes that candidates who most closely align with those core values will be the best match.
“I think it starts with the people you hire. Who are the people we want to surround ourselves with?” Serfas said. “Great caregivers want to work around great caregivers who care as much as they do.”
To be certified as a Great Place to Work, operators must survey all of their employees using a “trust index survey” including 60 questions. Providers earn Great Place to Work certification if at least 70% employees surveyed confirm that an employer is a great place to work. This year’s trust index yielded a result of 89%, according to Serfas.
Despite the home care industry being plagued by staff shortages, Serfas doesn’t see a shortage of talent. Instead, he believes there is a shortage of exceptional talent who resonate with the mission of home care.
“We have never had a shortage of caregivers, I firmly believe there’s a shortage of amazing caregivers,” Serfas said. “We always have a ton of applicants to work through — people who are going to potentially speed on the interviewing and hiring process, they pay for it later. What’s frustrating for us is having to go through so much, keep our standards so high and never waver on the type of caliber, type of individual that radiates and exudes our core values.”
Editor’s note: Home Sweet Home is a feature appearing Mondays in McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. The story focuses on a heartwarming, entertaining or quirky happening affecting the world of home care. If you have a topic that might be worthy of the spotlight in Home Sweet Home, please email Liza Berger at [email protected].