In health care, each of our jobs is important. The work we do isn’t easy. With the physical, emotional and intellectual challenges that come with our jobs, including significant time away from our families, you may sometimes wonder if the sacrifices are worth it. Or, if anyone notices or cares.

I assure you, our leadership team cares very much. We are working to further develop within our company another especially relevant virtue in health care: a culture of gratitude. I have appointed a committee, which we’ve named the Soul Team, to develop new ideas to improve our company’s culture. This includes enhancing the ways we recognize and value our employees. I am an active participant on this committee, along with Dr. Dan Middlebrook, a founding partner, and representatives from HR, Marketing and other departments. I consider its work to be vital.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Studies have shown gratitude in the workplace may perhaps be one of the greatest predictors of corporate health.
  • Employee morale touches every aspect of a company, from talent retention and recruiting to workplace stress, well-being, productivity and absenteeism.
  • The bottom line tends to benefit when employees feel valued and respected.
  • Happiness leads to success.

Let me be clear. A culture of appreciation is about more than just profits and losses. It’s about gratitude that exalts us. It’s about creating a workplace in which collaboration, helpfulness and appreciation are the norm. I know this culture already exists in many areas of our company. For that, I thank you. In areas where we’ve fallen short, I’m counting on you to help us reach a new level of teamwork throughout our Emerus family.

Our industry is undergoing significant changes – moving from a system that has rewarded volume to a new era of value-based care. What should never change is our commitment to deliver the highest possible quality of care for our patients.

With a culture of gratitude in mind, we’ve created a new program to reward and honor our company’s most caring and stellar employees. The new Emerus Rewards Program, which replaces the Bravo Awards, includes:

  • A Most Valuable Player Award, given quarterly to employees in each Region who best exemplify the company’s core values.
  • Three Leadership awards, given annually to spectacular leaders in the company who best uphold the mission, vision and values that represent the Emerus Way.
  • An Employee of the Year award, given annually for best overall performance.

All staff are eligible to win the awards, which include monetary prizes, gift cards and trophies. I am extraordinarily pleased to announce the first recipients of the Leadership awards:

  • The Driver Award: Adolfo Carrasco, Regional CEO, San Antonio. HR’s defines the Driver as the “papa bear” of the bunch, focused on instilling a sense of purpose among the entire team through positive reinforcement and support. He is described in his nomination form as “incredibly goal-oriented, yet holds the ability to recognize the bigger picture, and works with his team to develop creative solutions that will get them across the finish line. With an energy and passion that is unparalleled, his coach-like demeanor is hard to ignore, and he continues to inspire the group in San Antonio to reach any goals they’ve set, no matter how daunting the task may seem.”
  • The Chief Bucket-Filler Award: Brittany Smith, Culture Coordinator, Corporate. She is described in her nomination form in this way: “Brittany always has a smile on her face and something encouraging to say, even when the chips are down. She strives to make work enjoyable, but knows what it takes to get the job done. Her enthusiasm, energizing personality and “can-do” attitude gives her the power to brighten anyone’s day, and she uses each of these abilities to motivate her team – a classic example of the Chief Bucket-Filler.”
  • The Shepherd: Kelly Lappe, Hospital Administrator, Dallas market. She is described in her nomination form in this way: “For the Shepherd, nothing is more important than helping others grow. Kelly inspires each of her team members to always be their best selves through leading by example. She never hesitates to lend a hand, and often puts her own needs aside to tend to the needs of others. Kelly regularly engages with her staff to show them they matter, and doesn’t cause anyone to believe they are less of an asset – even when mistakes are made, she is their biggest advocate. Her constant, unwavering support is unmatched, and truly exemplifies the qualities of The Shepherd.”

I am also pleased to share with you that more than 100 employees throughout the organization received nominations for these awards. Each of the nominees will receive a proclamation from Emerus saluting them as 2016 Leadership Award nominees. More information about the new Emerus Rewards Program is available from HR.

Many thanks to each of you for all you do every day to make a difference.