Successful businesses are built around a strong mission. They have a sense of purpose- something that is bigger than themselves. That might be a powerful desire to solve a problem, love for local community, or a passion. I believe that’s the true bottom line.
Growing up in Clearwater, I felt deeply rooted to the local community. There was no question that’s where I wanted to start my business. My parents instilled that sense of community and entrepreneurship in me. I helped at their businesses at a young age and learned a lot about healthcare and elder care. Those roots took hold. Some people were surprised to see such a young person going into elder care. But, I saw a big gap and knew it could be improved.
GROWING AROUND A MISSION
I spent a lot of time honing our mission statement so that every decision we made could be purposeful. Here’s our mission and how it has guided our success:
Our mission is to create an environment where we set our team members up for success, empowering them to provide the best in-home care service to the community.
It was vital that our mission showed our emphasis on our team members. We believe that they must come first, or we will never be able to provide good service. We also knew community had to be an integral part of the mission. EasyLiving is a local company, deeply involved in local organizations and the business community.
A lot of businesses say the customer is always right/comes first, but that’s not how we operate. We build our processes and create staff positions to ensure our employees have the tools and support they need. The customer will never be happy if the employee isn’t. If a customer complains, we look at what we could be doing better to empower that employee.
A few of the things we have put into place based on this mission include:
- A comprehensive orientation and training program (and paid time for training, which is not the industry standard)
- Supervisor introductory visits with each client and caregiver and on-site visits/coaching
- Immediate follow-up with each client and caregiver to identify any issues and troubleshoot
- Independent surveys of clients and caregivers for continuous quality improvement
- An employee rewards program
- Technology to make the caregiver’s job easier and improve efficiency
Any business is a work in progress. We’re always looking for ways to improve. In the home health industry, one of the biggest struggles is finding (quality) employees. A business with a strong mission can attract better people. And, once we’ve attracted them we focus on helping them do their best. This leads to better retention rates and happier customers.
Every business owner encounters tough choices at times. A mission-driven business can review those decisions in the light of the mission. For example, we won’t compromise employees’ rights and safety. Sometimes a client requests a caregiver not be of a certain race/ethnicity. The adult children may apologize and say “Sorry, Mom grew up in a different time.” But, our mission makes it clear that we can’t tolerate discrimination. We also won’t tolerate employees being mistreated in the home. If the client is verbally or physically abusive in any way, we won’t put a caregiver in that situation. That’s not always a popular stance with clients, but it’s clear for us.
Everything we do is focused on how we can contribute to Pinellas County and its people. We do not have other branches, or a desire be the largest company or dominate the market. There’s a huge, and growing, need for senior care in our county (and all of Florida). There’s also a lot of competition, but a strong mission creates differentiation.
And, we not only want to help area seniors, but also provide better employment and development opportunities. We take it a step further through leadership in local business and charitable organizations. I helped found the Clearwater Chamber’s young professionals group. I’ve served on the Chamber board and at several non-profits, as have several of our team members. Making the community stronger only makes everyone’s business better. There are endless collaboration opportunities that you can only find by being involved and knowing what’s happening around you.
Florida is a great place to live and work. Our team feels fortunate to be able to contribute something to the place we love and the people around us. The seniors who retired here and made Florida home deserve quality support. And, local businesses will have to be innovative and focused to do that well, especially as demand grows.
EasyLiving, Inc. is a fully licensed, private duty home health care company serving individuals and families in Pinellas County, Florida. They provide clients with the dignified, non-medical support they need to remain independent, safe, and healthy in their own homes. EasyLiving is a multiyear winner of Best of Home Care Employer and Provider of Choice awards. They’ve also been named top “Patient Advocate Organization” by the Professional Patient Advocacy Institute and selected as a finalist for Clearwater Business of the Year. More information can be found at easylivingfl.com.
Written by Alex Chamberlain, CEO of EasyLiving, Inc.
EasyLiving is a Florida-licensed home health company providing in-home care and support services to elders and disabled individuals in Pinellas County.