It’s More than Lip Service: Winning with Employee-Driven Values

June 30, 2017 Chelle O'Keefe

Welcome home. Those words mean many things to many people, but to me they are comforting, soothing even. Our homes should be the place we come to relax, to fully be ourselves and to make memories with those around us. This is our goal at Associa for all employees; when they walk through our doors, no matter what office they work in around the globe, they feel they are in a great place, a welcoming place.

This is no easy feat. With more than 150 office locations worldwide and hundreds of onsite communities, the meaning of home for each team member at Associa can vary widely. Therefore, we focus on our pillars and our values – the true foundation of our company – to ensure we can each feel at home in our respective office locations.

We recently surveyed our employees to ask them what they love most about working at our company. What came back resoundingly reinforced this concept: themes centered around feeling like they are part of a family, believing they have growth and development opportunities and being able to use their gifts and strengths to serve our clients. With these themes in mind, we developed our Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which is a fancy name for what it feels like to work at Associa. Let me explain each aspect of our EVP more fully.

1. A work family

One of our most unique values as a company is Family Spirit. Coming from other larger companies, I noticed this value in action right away. Our company feels like a family and we do our best to act like one, even when things are difficult. Our employees tell us this is the primary reason they love to work at Associa- they believe in and support their work family and receive that same support in return.

Our company was founded by John Carona almost 40 years ago and to this day is still owned by the Carona family. This gives our value of Family Spirit additional meaning and ensures we hold to this value very closely. Given that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work, it is important to find a place where you love the people and feel like part of a team. Associa is that place.

2. A thriving career

We all want to know our contributions are valued and that we have a bright future ahead of us if we put in the appropriate effort. Associa provides that opportunity for employees at all levels, through both the ability to grow their careers within the company and to expand their skills through our innovative training and development programs. With so many locations worldwide, anyone who has a vision for their career can bring that vision to reality, whether that’s through growing in their current role, career advancement laterally or vertically, or relocating to another office in the country or the globe.

Additionally, our training programs and partnership with the industry trade organization gives each team member access to the most current information in the field of community management. Those programs, combined with our focus on continuous improvement, gives each team member the ability to constantly expand their skills. If someone has a “lifelong learning” mentality and a willingness to change, they will feel right at home at Associa.

3. A place to contribute

By nature of what we do, our work involves community service. We bring our expertise and our resources to the thousands of communities we serve to help them achieve their visions. We build long-standing, deep relationships with our board members and owners and leverage those relationships to ensure the business of the community runs smoothly and efficiently for all involved. There is inherent goodwill at the heart of our business; we help people preserve and enhance their most prized asset- the home in which they live.

We also work closely within our communities when there is a disaster, whether man-made or natural. Through our day-to-day interactions and our foundation, Associa Cares, we ensure residents of communities - even communities we do not formally serve - are protected when things go wrong. Those who gravitate to our company tend to have a servant’s heart and an intent to use their talents to benefit others. They serve their fellow team members and our clients daily and without reserve.

Granted, this is an image of our company on our best days. However, it is not aspirational - it is real and current. What I love most about the “Welcome Home” image is that we did not create it in a corporate bubble; it came from within and resonates with our employees across our dispersed network. It is my hope and my daily focus to ensure each employee feels at home at Associa. We would love to welcome you to our home as well.

About the Author

Chelle  O'Keefe

As Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Chelle is responsible for leading the company’s human resources functions, overseeing talent management, managing internal communications, and coordinating employee benefits. Her career has focused on multiple aspects of communication, including change management and employee development. Her expertise is in simplifying and translating strategy and tactical information in a way to be easily understood and acted upon.

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