By: Stephanie Berkowitz, President & CEO at Northern Virginia Family Service
Culture is a hot topic among employers — and with good reason. Gallup reported that less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs during the last 15 years. And, according to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Human Capital Trends Report, more than 50 percent of survey participants noted they are attempting to change their culture to attract, engage and retain a top-tier workforce. Numbers like these are why culture is a top priority for Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS).
NVFS has been improving the lives of families and individuals for more than 90 years. What started as a small community effort to help children and families stay warm in the winter has grown into one of the largest providers of human services in Northern Virginia. Every day NVFS works to improve the lives of more than 34,000 people through a holistic array of programs. Underscoring all of NVFS’ activities is the belief that an investment in people means a stronger community for everyone overall.
That’s why we make a concerted effort every day to put our people first. At NVFS, we adhere to five core values known as CIRCA: communication, integrity, respect, collaboration and accountability. Our internal values drive our strategy and our approach to solving the region’s most pressing issues. These values were chosen collectively by employees to reflect who we are as an organization. We live and breathe our brand.
To support these values, NVFS has adopted The FISH! Philosophy popularized by the Pike Place Fish Market. While CIRCA defines our organizational values, the FISH! Philosophy gives us a vehicle through which to build a healthy culture. It has four main tenets: be present for those that need you, play and have fun, recognize someone in a meaningful way, and choose your attitude when responding.
Why do we put so much emphasis on this? It all begins with crafting an intentional culture. Significant attention must be paid to developing that culture where how we do things is just as important as what we do. Our goal is a culture that fulfills its core mission to empower families and individuals that seek our help AND to empower our own people on their own path. This will continue to attract and retain the best workforce possible to meet the demands of our region. Like our approach to helping our clients, we want to invest in each employee who comes through our doors.
These beliefs are what led us to create the CARE Awards nearly 25 years ago. Because work and family are so entwined, we saw the opportunity to help change the conversation to improve our community as a whole. Supporting families and individuals is what we do at NVFS. Helping others create family-friendly environments with strong cultures to improve the quality of life is a natural extension of our mission and the reason the CARE Awards still exist today.
Our annual CARE Awards breakfast, at which we will honor companies who showcase innovative and successful employee-centric policies, will take place Nov. 18, 2016, at 7:30 a.m. at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Va. Interested applicants have until May 18, 2016, to apply for the award.