HR Excellence: Ohio Living adopts core values employees can get behind

Laura Newpoff
Dana Ullom-Vucelich

Several years ago, Ohio Living looked at its belief statements and found them to be too unwieldy for employees of the senior living organization to embrace. That prompted the nonprofit to develop six core values—care, customer service, integrity, innovation, financial stewardship and leadership—that now comprise the framework for how it drives accountability and evaluates performance. They also are the heart of how the nonprofit encourages, recognizes and rewards employees.

To make those values more relevant to employees, Ohio Living redesigned its performance review process under the direction of human resources leadership to create a recognition program that rewards them for behaviors that align with those six principles. Each value is clearly defined, and every manager has two assigned goals tied to providing timely evaluations and meaningful recognition.

“This has been a decade-plus in the making—we keep trying to evolve our values in a very relevant way for our teammates,” says Dana Ullom-Vucelich, chief human resources and ethics officer. “The most recent evolution was simplifying our performance review system so every person here is evaluated against our beliefs. If you are a cook or laundry worker or are a manager or the CEO, you are held to the same performance standards.”

The result is employee engagement and quality scores that are the highest in the company's history. Ullom-Vucelich even had one employee say that the “Ohio Living culture makes me feel like my job is one of the most important jobs in the world.”

HR Innovation recognizes an individual or organization for successful implementation of a new idea that achieves proven results in compensation and benefits, employee recognition and retention, strategic alignment, succession planning, talent acquisition or assessment, use of technology or work-life balance.

Laura Newpoff is a freelance writer for Columbus CEO.

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