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CareWorks Family repeats as "#1 Large Best Place to Work" by Business First

November 9, 2006

For the second straight year, the CareWorks Family of Companies was named the “#1 Large Best to Work” for companies with more than 500 employees by Business First newspaper. The CareWorks Family of Companies' Chairman and CEO, William W. Pfeiffer, was interviewed by Business First about this accomplishment. To follow are direct excerpts from this question and answer session as it appeared in Business First.

Business First: You’ve been quoted as saying you need to treat your employees like gold because they are your most important asset. Would you provide some examples of how you do that?

Pfeiffer: Our most popular incentive is a Reward Day where associates earn one paid day off for achieving a defined goal. All associates understand our company-wide goals and what each individual can do to help us achieve them.

We set attainable goals, yet set them high enough so that achieving them ensures we grow and are successful. Our weekly recognition program allows supervisors to immediately reward individuals for exemplary performance with movie tickets or dinner for two on the town.

Business First: What are the keys to winning the respect of your employees?

Pfeiffer: Respect your associates and they will respect you. Respect means providing your associates with the equipment, resources and training they need to do their jobs. It means appreciating and recognizing great work and extra effort.

It includes thanking associates and making them partners in your company’s success. You can win your associates’ trust and respect by regularly communicating about the company’s direction and plans.

Business First: What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about the right and wrong ways to get your workers to buy into what is best for your customers and your company?

Pfeiffer: A key lesson we train on is listening to our customers-both internally and externally. Our associates ask questions so they truly understand each customer’s unique needs, which allows them to deliver services that exceed expectations.

The same holds true for us as an employer as we continually ask our people what they value most – benefits, community outreach, wellness – so our programs directly match their needs. Don’t make the mistake of guessing what people want. Ask questions and then use the input to develop ideas that work. Words must be followed by actions.

Business First: We hear that as a company gets bigger, it becomes harder to keep employees happy. What has been your experience?

Pfeiffer: The larger CareWorks becomes the more opportunities for advancement we can offer our associates. The majority of our supervisor and team lead positions are filled by promoting current associates. Growth is a primary goal year after year, but that’s because we are trying to create a company that has a stable long-term future.

Our associates are motivated by interesting work and see value in the role they play on every team. Growth allows us to create new and challenging career opportunities, so our associates do not have to leave to find them.

Business First: How do you make sure a new employee is going to fit into the CareWorks culture?

Pfeiffer: CareWorks has a structured on boarding program all new associates attend during their first week. We talk about how the company began, how we work, our customer service philosophy and our expectations.

We clearly communicate the requirements of each position to avoid any misconceptions. We let each individual know (he or she) will be part of a team with clear goals and objectives and support them with continued training on soft and hard skills throughout their career here.

Business First: A lot of people talk about the need to bring some fun into the workplace. Do you agree with that and what would your employees say is fun about working for CareWorks?

Pfeiffer: We believe we do have a fun environment. CareWorks listens to its associates’ input to ensure we are putting together activities they value. Visitors to CareWorks often remark about our energy and high level of productivity. We like to say our associates work hard and play hard. Our annual Halloween party is a big hit, and everyone is amazed at the creativity on display.

Some of the most memorable moments are rooted in community outreach, with our associates giving back to a charity or cause they believe in.

Business First: If you could only offer one piece of advice to companies wanting to be seen as a great place to work, what would that advice be?

Pfeiffer: Keep your approach to success simple. At CareWorks, our goal is to have our associates take pride in what they do, enjoy the people they work with and trust the people they work for.

Associates should feel like they can be themselves at work. Associates should celebrate the success of their peers and cooperate with everyone in the organization. If you encourage your associates to be successful, they will take pride in their work and the people they work with.

Business First: What’s the biggest challenge to you personally in walking the line between high productivity and keeping your employees happy?

Pfeiffer: The biggest challenge is ensuring we achieve our bottom-line business performance goals. Our associates understand that in order for us to create a fun and happy work environment, each individual needs to make a daily contribution to our success.

For more information please contact:
John Brinkman
CareWorks
Vice President of Corporate Communications
john.brinkman@careworks.com
Office: (614) 760-3506
Fax: (614) 760-3595

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