Larry Harmon- How Do Your Employees Know You Care?


Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Larry Harmon.
About the interviewee:

Larry Harmon is the Human Resources Manager and has been employed with H.O.C. for almost four years.  He invites you to visit the website for more information.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).

Hands of Compassion Home Care, Inc. has offices in both Midland and Abilene, Texas, where we offer our services in a total of more than 30 counties in West Texas. We have forty employees who are dedicated to providing value-driven, high quality, compassionate care for seniors in the area. We work with several companies to provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy, durable medical equipment as well as a medical social worker. Of course, we would be remiss if we fail to acknowledge the physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals and many community organizations we work with as well.

Tell us how you show your employees that you care?

We show employees we care by fostering a positive work environment where everyone has value and by recognizing achievements of each employee openly to further demonstrate our commitment to agency goals as well as the growth and development of the person in the course of doing what we do. We also provide training on a regular basis to reinforce our standards and core values which are: Patients, Employees and Teamwork. We have functions outside of the workplace in the forms of picnics (July 4th, Good Friday Easter Egg Hunt), special gatherings for Nurses Week and Christmas to name a few. We are actively involved in the community and our employees facilitate health screenings/fairs, back-to-school events and various walks that help raise awareness about various disease processes, such as diabetes and stroke awareness. Each “celebration” we have specific themes, for instance, for Nurses Week; “Nurses in Paris,” Nurses in Hollywood” which featured an “Elvis” impersonator and the presentation of “academy awards” to all clinicians, reflecting the areas in which they excelled; “Nurses Just Wanna Have Fun,” featuring a carnival theme;  “Nurses  in Paradise Safari” featuring a You Tube video of the staff doing the “Harlem Shake,” led by the agency administrator.  The Christmas celebrations had themes like “Basin’s Got Talent” which featured local talent and a performance by rapper/actor, “T-Bone,” and “Minute to Win It,” which was filled with fun and games; “Christmas in Italy;” and “Winter Wonderland.”  Because we have worked to foster strong relationships with local business, they donate items or even sponsor our events to make them even more colorful. We have partnered with media and other businesses to bring “Love from Afar” to emphasize the perils of texting and driving. We are fortunate enough to have a certified John Maxwell  coach as one of the owners of the agency and he leads our mentoring efforts as we have book club meetings for leadership development and fostering a team environment.

What mistakes do businesses make when it comes to cultivating a strong relationship with their employees?

Sometimes during the course of demonstrating commitment to employees, we tend to drift away from accountability by not stressing the importance of their being actively engaged in the things that make all of us better; proper work ethic, integrity, and compassion. While companies seek to empower their employees, they can become lax in ensuring that the employees are focused on the mission of the respective companies. It is not enough to expect loyalty from those you have sought help to realize who they are and how they fit in; you hope it becomes second nature as company and employee partner to complete the mission.  Another mistake is not showing appreciation when goals are met or not holding everyone to the same standard, thereby negatively impacting morale (particularly the higher achievers). Probably one of the most critical errors made is not gathering feedback from employees relative to what is or is not working as well as how to improve systems within the organization.

Why is it important for your firm to make employees feel valued?

It is important to HOC that employees feel valued since they are an integral part of everything we strive to do. We seek to find better methods of serving the senior population and who better to put the vision/mission in action than those who are the hearts and hands of the company?  When our employees feel valued we believe it has a direct correlation on their productivity. Also when people are built up on the inside it allows them to freely express outwardly what’s taking place inwardly.

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