Work/life flexibility, Geriatric Associates of America
1 Sector: Physicians practice
1 Headquarters: Houston
1 Greater Houston Employees: 53
1 Regional leader: Dawna Boudreaux, chief operating officer
1Q: Most of your employees are physicians or nurse practitioners working with elderly patients in nursing homes. How do you create flexibility to benefit them and clients?
1A: Treating people well goes from the top down, so if we are not treating our employees well, that is going to trickle over into patient care. An overall positive environment and supporting them and their efforts with their family, and being flexible and understanding, I think it trickles down. A lot of our patients don't have family and we're kind of the only ones, other than the nursing homes, that are talking to them and coming to see them. If our employees don't feel appreciated by our company, or don't feel focused because they are worried about, you know, they dropped their kid off sick at school, they are not going to be as focused on our patients.
1Q: What are some examples of flexibility at Geriatric Associates of America?
1A: A benefit of not having an office practice is (time flexibility). They can go into a nursing home a little earlier or a little later. We are there in the building so often the nursing home knows they can count on us if we need to shift stuff around. We allow (the physicians and nurse practitioners) to switch things around, within reason, so they can handle personal things. I try not to be rigid. We have our own call center of nurses who take calls from the nursing home nurses. A few have had sick family members so we have set them up to work from home. If we have good employees and can afford to do something, we think outside of the box.
1Q: What about the way the company is structured allows more flexibility?
1A: We only focus on long-term care. They don't see patients in hospitals or a physician's office. They only have one thing to focus on, so they don't have a lot of external things getting in the way. We also have a lot of support for them. There is a ton of paperwork involved, things they have to sign; we take care of everything we can for the doctors, to make sure the right paperwork goes to the right doctor, and they get anything they are supposed to sign. We take all the pressure off them.
1Q: And you allow 18 paid time off days annually for new employees?
1A: Yes. At five years, they get more. They have three parent-teacher days a year. Some of our employees are grandparents, and we allow them to use those days. Last holiday season, I had a party at my house for all the families, and we had Santa give gifts to the kids, and a big video game company came. We've done a day at Schlitterbahn for the families. We've done internal fundraisers for employees. We had an employee who passed away suddenly and we set up a scholarship in her name, and a fund for her kids we all give to. For a little company, we try to do things that make a big difference. Our employees know they can count on us.