To Arnie Burchianti, culture and success are as intertwined as a Celtic knot.
“There’s a direct [link] between the health of your organization’s values and culture to your growth and to your long-term viability,” says the founder and CEO of Celtic Healthcare Inc., which takes its name from the intricate symbol.
Burchianti builds that culture by measuring his 600 employees against core values, such as accountability, teamwork and mutual respect. Doing this has allowed the home health care provider to grow to 2007 revenue of $31.4 million from $5 million in 2005.
Smart Business spoke with Burchianti about how to hold your employees accountable by setting clear expectations and offering simple rewards.
Q. How do you hold employees accountable?
It starts at the hiring process. We only hire people who are self-motivated and hold themselves accountable.
Anyone who’s coming in is asked to do an online personality profile. It helps you get through the b.s. of the interview and understand what motivates the person. You can see whether the person has the
behavioral styles to be accountable to the responsibilities.
We ask open-ended questions like, ‘If you were in this situation and here were the terms, what would you do?’ We’re trying to reproduce what we know this job is going to require. You’re asking questions that will put them in a work environment and seeing how they’re going to respond.
Q. How do you hold employees accountable without micromanaging them?
Managers micromanage because the roles and responsibilities are not clear enough for the employee. If we bring the right people in understanding the roles, then we don’t need to micromanage them.
When you hire employees, you have to have well-documented, clearly defined roles and responsibilities. You’ll hear people say, ‘Here’s your job description, but you’ll be doing more than that.’ That’s like saying, ‘You’re going to join the football team, but you’re going to use a golf club, too.’
Revise your job descriptions as frequently as you [change] the responsibilities. Once the description is clear, then you don’t need to micromanage. You say, ‘This is due on every Tuesday of every week. If
there’s a disaster, let us know. Otherwise, you’re going to be held accountable to do this weekly.’
If you give them a crappy job description, then say, ‘You’re not doing your job,’ they’re going to look at you like you’re nuts. People will lose trust in you if you’re holding them accountable to things that you’re not telling them about.
Q. How do you measure their performance?
We put a lot of time in performance appraisals throughout the year to judge whether the person’s getting it. If not, let’s not wait till the end of the year to nail them in the review. ...
We do 90-day reviews with new employees then [another after] 30 more days if there are any areas that aren’t being exceeded. [If there are,] they go through our whole process: We give them verbal notice, written notice, performance plan with realistic measures and goals, and termination.
Q. On the flip side, how do you reward employees for good performance?
You’ve got to recognize your people for adherence to things that are important to you.
You’ve got to create a system that you can actually implement. Technology allows for these things to occur. The Web is a powerful tool to keep people connected in real time.
We have a program called G.R.O.W. It’s an acronym for Great Reward Opportunities With Celtic. That program is a Web-based, real-time program, which recognizes and rewards people.
We put about $100,000 into the G.R.O.W. program each year. People can take their pay out quarterly either in cash or time off. It’s recognizing people for adherence to our core values.
All our managers are able to recognize employees by just logging in to our Web-based application. It sends an e-mail notification to the employee that [they] received X points, and then those points go into a bank. They’re weighted, so a person with 10 points versus a person with two points is going to have more of that pool of money for that quarter.
Recognizing people in the act of doing good is probably more important than bonuses and money. Yeah, they need a paycheck, but they want to know if they’re doing something worthwhile for the organization.
If I see somebody being accountable to a project, I’ll log in to our system and give them two or three points and a little message saying, ‘I’m happy you were able to hit that project. You did a nice job on it.’
If you put together a rewards program that takes five steps and mailing letters, are you going to take the time to do that? No, but log on and type in someone’s name, and instantly they get an e-mail. You really
just get people to buy in to your core values because you’re constantly recognizing them.
HOW TO REACH: Celtic Healthcare Inc., (800) 355-8894 or www.celtichealthcare.com