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Corporate Culture 3: Culture of Caring

Now that we've explored several themes, let's do a case study.

Recently we interviewed Jenna Ratcliffe, Project Coordinator with Nurse Next Door Home Care Services. Here, we explore this company’s unique approach to management and growth based on creating a caring, nurturing environment for its employees.

Here’s David Elmy’s (DE) interview with Jenna Ratcliffe (JR):

DE: When you started with Nurse Next Door what did you notice that was special about the way this company treats people?

JR: I will never forget how Cathy, our president and CEO, gave me a hug. I felt warmth and friendliness throughout the office with each visit leading to my hiring. We have a mostly flat organization here at Nurse Next Door, and it is very evident throughout the office that there is mutual respect for everyone. I always say to guests when they enter our office that we believe in hugs not handshakes.


DE: When you hire, is there anything important that you tell prospects about your corporate culture?

JR: Our team ensures that every candidate understands Nurse Next Door’s Core Values, and that it truly resonates with them.

Our Core Values are:
  1. Admire People
  2. WOW Customer Service
  3. Find A Better Way
  4. Passionate about Making a Difference
As well, new employees are taught our Core Purpose, which is to Make Lives Better. It’s not just at the hiring stage; we instill these principles in each other on a daily basis.


DE: How do you inspire people in your organization to project these values?

JR: In many, many ways. Here’s an example. We host a daily huddle, a 7-minute group meeting where we share our top priorities, announce good news, highlight results, and at the end we give a cheer. We also have quarterly All Star Parties. We’ve created an internal “currency” which we call “flower bucks” that employees can earn throughout the year, for behaviours that reinforce our Core Values and support our Core Purpose. This could be helping out a colleague, cleaning the kitchen, or submitting Heart Star Awards for people. We then have prizes to be auctioned off at our parties where employees bid for them using their “flower bucks.”                                                                                                

Year-round, we encourage everyone to be on the look-out for colleagues worthy of praise, particularly when we see someone exemplifying one of our Core Values or something contributing to our Core Purpose (which is Making Lives Better.). If we witness something note-worthy, we fill out a Nomination Ballot. As a reward for recognizing some else, the nominator is given “flower bucks”, which I mentioned above. As for the nominees, they hope to earn enough nominations to win prizes and recognition at our All Star Parties.


DE: How did the founders' vision influence the company's values? 
JR: Our Core Values and Core Purpose came directly from our co-founders, John DeHart and Ken Sim. They wanted to make Nurse Next Door an amazing place to work.


DE: Can you think of anything that has changed in your company that has enhanced its ability to project a caring environment? 
JR: Yes, we now emphasize a Culture of Self-Leadership. You could check out a recent article onForbes.com about how Nurse Next Door is embracing a culture of self-leadership to stay agile as we scale and to foster future leaders.


DE: What do you like about Nurse Next Door's office space?

JR: I love the large open space that serves as the meeting space for many of our formal and informal office functions. It’s perfect for our Daily Huddle. 

The Huddle is where everyone gets to share (a) what they are working on, (b) what they are excited or happy about, and (c) who they’d like to recognize or commend for doing something special.


JR: Nurse Next Door has embraced a culture of self-leadership to empower employees at all levels. This means empowering those best suited to make decisions. We believe strongly in self-leadership. We continuously review our policies and procedures by asking this question: “If it isn’t making things better, why are we doing it?”


DE: If you were to sum up what's special about Nurse Next Door's corporate culture in a sentence, what would you say?

JR: “It’s a culture with heart and is filled with people who truly are passionate about making a difference in people’s lives”



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