Get to Know the Interviewees:
Jen Edwards is the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at ADS, Inc. and was the December 2016 honoree of Hampton Roads Women in Business Award given by Inside Business. Jen loves her company’s culture. ADS, Inc. is currently celebrating their 20th year in business. When Jen started 11 years ago, the team consisted of 90 employees. In 2017, they have grown to a team of 360 in the United States and additional employees internationally.
Fran Castello, President of Operations with Patient Advocate Foundation, has been with the Foundation for 17 years. When Fran joined the Foundation, started by her family in 1996, there were 12 employees. Now they have grown to 180 full time employees and an additional 30 temporary staff.
Angela Walker, Chief of Talent Management, has been with the Patient Advocate Foundation for the past 8 years and has loved every minute of her time there.
Q & A:
How do you describe your Culture?
Jen Edwards: “Service and Purpose. We service the best customers in the world. A third of our staff is veterans and their input helps us. It’s easy to get close to our customers and hear great things like ‘socks save our lives.’ The executive team reviews their values annually, thus ensuring that they still mean what was intended. Four years ago it became necessary to make revisions.
Each year, they focus specifically on one value word. Last year the word was Accountability and this year it is Purpose. With over half of their team in sales, it is a sales driven and service-minded Culture with an entrepreneurial feel. ADS, Inc. encourages their team to build their future. Our organizational chart is pretty flat, further described as ‘less ladder and more jungle gym’. CEO, Jason Wallace holds small, 20-person meetings throughout the year to keep the pulse vibrant, to drive the conversations and to focus on their yearly word.”
Angela Walker: “Our Culture at PAF is caring and patient focused, with an emphasis on ethics and compliance. We formalized our Care Values many years ago (memorializing them on the wall and in our employee handbook), not to aspire to them, but to share what our foundation was, is, and should continue to be each day.”
Angela: “The Foundation was created based on a need and desire to help critically ill patients. When staffing a mission similar to ours you hope to attract a caring, empathetic staff and leadership team. When leaders demonstrate determination and drive, the patient experience is better and it translates to the staff as well. Our communication is open, as we don’t have a traditional protocol for accessibility to leaders. We reinforce our willingness and desire to hear from our staff on a consistent basis.”
Fran: “We genuinely care about [employees]. I want them all to know we care about each of them as individual human beings. It can be very mentally taxing dealing with critically ill people, their families, and caregivers as well as their doctors and pharmacies. None of us can afford to have an off day. Service is what we must provide.”
Jen: “With an entrepreneurially spirited Culture, it is easier and lends to even better results [for personal development].”
What keeps you up at night?
Fran: “Having enough professional and talented people available when we need to increase our team after receiving another grant. We can’t add staff ahead of time, so our team takes on the additional duties. That’s why we can’t take our eyes off the need to continually train our staff and provide them with development for both today’s and tomorrow’s needs.
It’s a continual process and you can’t think you are ever finished. There are always challenges but we must remain good stewards, too. Training is such a personal thing; what is good for one, doesn’t mean one size fits all. With that, we must remain authentic and clear with our intentions at all times.”
Premier Rapport, Inc. helps leaders create a culture they envision through a proprietary process of Inquiry, Awareness and Leader Development. www.PremierRapport.com/Culture
Thank you Inside Business Hampton Roads for publishing this article.