The Training Excellence of the Year Award was presented to Gareda, LLC by Arlene Freeman, Director of Human Resources of Ventura Foods.
Gareda, LLC provides services and supervision for individuals who are in need of in-home care services. Services range from personal care, such as bathing to meal preparation, housecleaning, doing laundry to running errands and shopping. For many individuals and their family this type of quality care makes the difference between an individual being able to remain in the comfort of their own home and having to live in a nursing home or other facility or having to move in with a family member, causing upheaval to their own and their families’ lives.
A reputable home health care agency serving the Chicago southland for several decades through their offices in Calumet City and in south Chicago, Gareda’s dedication to clients is well-recognized. What may not be as well-known is Gareda’s commitment to the advancement its employees.
In February of 2012, newly appointed Gareda CEO Ella Grays contacted the Business & Career Institute of South Suburban College to discuss the professional development needs of her team. Ms. Grays had only been with Gareda for a short time when she realized the need for more in-depth training and assistance with human resource functions. Through her own observations and ongoing dialogues with her staff, Ms. Grays made a smart business decision by committing that the company would invest time and money into its employees. After several meetings and conversations with BCI, it was determined that all Gareda employees would participate in a deluxe training package that included modules in Customer Service, Effective Workplace Communication, Emotional Intelligence and Team Building. The management team would participate in Effective Leadership Skills training. Sometimes companies will train either their management team or their frontline workers, but it is not as usual for a company to make the decision to train everyone.
The sessions were spread over a three month period and consisted of traditional lecture and discussion, as well as group and hands-on activities. All sessions were fully attended and well-received. Written feedback from the participants and management team indicated the trainings were necessary and valuable. BCI even received a compliment about Gareda from another business in the community regarding Gareda’s excellence in Customer Service.
In addition, Ms. Grays requested the development of a performance evaluation system that included a formal employee performance appraisal tool to be implemented with administrative staff, supervisors, staffing coordinators and field supervisors. Training for supervisory staff with regard to appropriately and effectively using the tool was requested as well. After several weeks of work, the tool was created by a BCI staff member, with input from Gareda staff. Training on the new tool was administered and the project was successfully completed. This was not to be a manual that would simply be placed on a shelf, never to be used!
As a result of Ms. Gray’s leadership, the on-target training, and the positive reception to training by Gareda employees, Gareda has continued to build on its solid reputation in the health care community, making it a premier provider of home health services.