At Vera, our values are our cultural compass. They're reminders of who we aspire to be as a collective - our company. It's easy to get bogged down in day-to-day work, which is why we try our best to lift our heads when we can, and appreciate the people around us. What are those values?
- Do well and do good.
- Practice personal and corporate authenticity.
- Love those we serve.
Currently we find ourselves in a time of crisis. We are struggling through this, but we are resilient. As healthcare providers, we are considered an essential business, providing an essential service. Love those we serve is a core value we are all practicing — or aspiring to practice every day and every minute. All of us at Vera have personal lives that we are trying to navigate and are worried about the health of our family members. We are working to manage our patient population, as well as juggling all the rest of the things on our plates.
In times like these, the most helpful thing is for us to look to our values to guide us forward. How can we continue to deliver on our values to our employees, to our patients, and to our clients? And how can we be really mindful of how we show up for each other, especially knowing we all have heightened emotions right now? We're all in it together, in different ways and in different roles. As one of our Vera whole health coaches recently remarked:
"Our team character has really shown up with this wild COVID-19 ride. We do good and do well together as a connected team. We love those we serve by also loving each other.”
– Cathy Moore, Vera Whole Health Coach at 5th Avenue Care Center in Seattle, WA
Using Vera’s values to navigate stress and anxiety
While it’s true that people are stressed right now and things feel pretty crazy, at the same time, the tenets of Vera's culture and the way that we have always conducted ourselves with each other and in the world provides us with a really good foundation for a time like this. We are already in the practice of asking the question: How can we care for one another? How can we hold each other in positive regard? How can we approach any situation from a nimble, flexible, and adaptive standpoint?
We want to allow our team the space to be creative (while being able to provide structure and framework, because we all know we have guidelines and regulations we have to follow). We want to allow innovation and collaboration to shine through in a time where it's really necessary.
How we’re providing practical support to our teams
Since we’re experiencing a pretty extraordinary situation right now, we’ve made practical changes to support our teams — both clinical and support — through all of this:
- One Team To Coordinate Our COVID-19 Response: We created what we're calling a tiger team to support all of the changes and work related to COVID-19. We have a daily meeting to review and support new regulations, new policies, and new information that needs to go out to our teams.
- Daily Huddles With Our Care Teams: We have morning huddles to support our care centers and meet with each team to review new information.
- Weekly Q&As With Our CEO: Ryan Schmid, our CEO, hosts a weekly State of the Union with Q&A around COVID-19. He addresses any new information, acknowledges everyone’s hard work, and gives any specific updates. Then we offer the opportunity for people to ask questions and share their concerns.
- Weekly Emails To Employees: We send out weekly emails to all of our employees, giving them precautionary tips, offering policy information, and sharing about anything new we’re doing to further support staff.
- Paid Time And Daycare Reimbursement: We’ve provided employees extra paid time to support them during this time which now aligns with the changes required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We also have provided daycare reimbursement. So if someone is struggling to find daycare with school closures, and it is an unforeseen cost that they weren't paying before, we have offered to cover those costs.
- Mindfulness Program: We've kicked off a 12-week live mindfulness program to begin and end each week with a centering meditation moment. They are 15-minute meditation-based mindful moments that people can use to help them prepare for the challenges of their work and personal lives.
- Extended Benefits: We’re extending benefits that may not have applied to certain employees before, but now affect them. Employees now working remotely may benefit from a cell phone stipend.
- Innovative Appointments: While phone and video appointments aren’t new, we’ve been able to shift care around in our care centers to allow some people to work remotely, doing additional phone triage to save on in-person visits that aren’t essential, and innovating in a very rapid fashion to keep everyone (our patients and our Care Team members) as safe and cared for as possible while still providing world-class care.
- Bonuses For Employees: We are adding a one-time bonus for our employees whose salary is below a certain threshold to provide financial support in these tough times.
Our goal is to really understand what's happening and then work to meet our people where they're at. Our question to ourselves every day is what are our employees’ real needs outside of caring for themselves and caring for their patients? And how can we support them and ensure that they have the support necessary to get through this?
These pivots are new, but they aren’t surprising. They’re what make me proud to work for Vera and demonstrate how we show up, even when times are tough. What we are reiterating and demonstrating, to our employees, to potential candidates, is that they are the most important. We are here to support them at all times, but particularly during this crisis.