On a Mission for Bost Employees
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In June 2022, The Employee Engagement Committee began with a mission and a two-fold approach.  First, we looked at the existing way we hire staff and how we can make the process more appealing and efficient to attract new employees.  Second, we looked at our existing staff and created a conversation internally to increase retention. In short, we want to attract new employees while also focusing on existing employees to create a pathway where employees feel valued, supported, and heard.  Jennifer Paterak, Bost Project Manager and Co-Chair of the committee, feels deeply the importance of this mission and has seen positive attitudes and outcomes from the short time they have already been meeting.

The Bost team wasn’t entirely sure where to start or what the scope was, but we knew this was important. They knew they wanted engagement of our current employees, both from a direct service professional (DSP) perspective and a management perspective, to not only attract new employees but retain current employees. Bost Department Directors nominated employees to the committee, with hopes of getting their valuable feedback and ideas in moving forward.  Jennifer emailed all the members, letting them know the mission, intent, and scope of the committee.  When first meeting with the DSP group, or as Jennifer calls them “the hype crew,” was held she was blown away by their ideas and positivity!

Since the first meeting, the committee has reviewed and implemented:

  • Shortened online application; made the application much easier to use
  • Changed the wording on our advertisements to be less confusing
  • Changed our online application process to electronic. This has resulted in a large increase in applicants
  • Pre-School Staff Trainer/Behavioral Technician Job posted
  • Mileage increase from .42 to .50 effective 7/9
  • Change in 401k plans- enrollment monthly now instead of yearly
  • Added 401k loans based on balances
  • Wellness reimbursement is not just for gyms anymore!  Reimbursements remain $25 FT and $15 PT but check with HR if you’re doing something active and paying for it.
  • High school diploma hiring requirement removed from ADDT hiring requirement
  • Recent stay bonus given because we hear and value you
  • Conscience Discipline training coming for preschool staff and parents in September

Reviewed items for future focus:

  • Making short videos for each program that we can insert on each job posting that talks about the job
  • Electronic suggestion box on the website that will give Bost staff the ability to make suggestions year round
  • National DSP Appreciation Week and creative ideas

Moving forward with the support of the Executive Director, Assistant Executive Director and Bost Board of Directors, meetings will be monthly for a while, then as the committee evolves and accomplishes their goals, the meetings may adjust to quarterly. The committee realize that not everything proposed will come to life and there will be challenges and barriers sometimes. Jennifer wanted to share, “It’s important to share with staff that they’re being heard, and we are listening. We see you; we value you and you matter.  We may not always get it right, but Bost truly wants the best outcomes for their employees. We realize what works in Fort Smith may not work in Russellville or Harrison. What works in Children Services (because they’re in one central location), that’s not going to work for Waiver because they are more spread out.  We will do what we can to evolve, try new things and make changes that work in the best interest of employees and the agency.”

Please join us in saying “Thank you” to those employees who have given their time and energy to the Employee Engagement Committee! The Co-chairs are Jennifer Paterak, Samarah Clayton and the Secretary is Kathy Weatherl. Members are Kelly Ruther, Mary Beth McClure, Kimberly Sanders, April Hunt, Nicole Legris, Maureen Blackburn, Roberta Johnson, Lisa Vaughn, Hayley Smith, Jahmane Henton, Jennifer Hinkle, Linda Hernandez, Tammy Predmore, Cindy Hardgrave, Rhonda Jones, Lesa Fuller, Trish Baumgartner, Christina Mossman, Candy Rodriguez, Danny Harper. We also want to extend a special thanks to all our behind-the-scenes assistance from the IT and HR departments in making the above happen.

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