15 Team Members graduate from Trusted Leaders Academy

Twelve team members graduated from the 2019 Trusted Leaders Academy. Pictured are (front, L-R) Carol Hess, HR (mentor); Delores Elicker-Brehm, The Village at Kelly Drive; Megan Harper, HCH; Brenda Hackley-Greene, The Village at Gettysburg; Kim Hardy, LIFE Franklin; Corey Rankin, The Village at Kelly Drive; Jamy Long, The Village at Sprenkle Drive, Pam Conrad, The Village at Kelly Drive (mentor); (back, L-R) Penny Kilmon, The Village at Gettysburg; Sara Sprenkle, HR (mentor), Kathlyen Shroyer, HCH; Craig Meckley, The Village at Luther Ridge; Barry Wertz, The Village at Shrewsbury; Adam Myers, The Village at Sprenkle Drive; Connie Bremmer, The Village at Luther Ridge; and Christopher Ridenhour, HR (mentor). Also graduating but unable to attend the ceremony were Michelle Ofak, The Village at Sprenkle Drive; Shelly Peter, The Village at Kelly Drive; and Pam Seibert, The Village at Luther Ridge.

In November, SpiriTrust Lutheran® celebrated the graduation of its third class from the Trusted Leaders Academy. Prior to the graduation ceremony the 15 team members of the Class of 2019 provided overviews of their projects along with recommendations for implementation.

Each of the participants was required to work on one of three projects under the mentorship of a SpiriTrust Lutheran executive leadership team member. The projects, chosen in support of the agency’s strategic objectives, were based on three areas of improvement identified in the 2018 Great Place to Work Survey.

“The energy, passion and dedication that these team members from across the agency brought to these projects is truly inspiration,” said Carol Hess, vice president of Human Resources/chief human resources office. “The collaboration and camaraderie that resulted from these team projects makes me very excited about the future of our agency as these talented leaders take stride and begin impacting our work in very meaningful ways.”

Over the course of the program the teams researched and developed solutions with the goal of having their solutions approved and implemented throughout the agency. The teams presented the following solutions for their respective area of improvement:

Area of Improvement: Promote benefits and educational opportunities for team members.

Solution: Educate team members about free and discounted benefits beyond the traditional medical, dental and vision plans, including: Tickets at Work; gym and cell phone discounts; TelaDoc; employee assistance program; no interest loans, bank promotions; and tuition assistance. List the benefits on the Intranet and spread the word during new team member orientation by explaining how simple it is to access the Intranet; include a list of these benefits in the welcome packet; and add an explanatory benefits voice video to the Intranet.

Area of Improvement: Improve GPTW scores in five categories: credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie.

Solution: Based on the results of an agency-wide survey in which 19% of the team member completed, the project team recommended the following actions: (1) Credibility – increase the number of team members who have corporate email accounts; (2) Respect – budget resources for additional educational workshops and department-specific training; (3) Fairness – recognize team members for their years of service; (4) Pride – increase team member pride through team building activities; and (5) Camaraderie – organize agency-wide “off-the-clock” activities and monthly spirit days.

Area of Improvement: Create and hold feedback sessions with team members.

Solution: Establish a TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) Council that includes representatives from across the agency working together to address concerns and ideas submitted through Vetter, the team member online suggestion box, along with planning staff appreciation events to improve morale.

About Trusted Leaders Academy

The SpiriTrust Lutheran® Trusted Leaders Academy began in 2017 with the goal of developing the next generation of SpiriTrust Lutheran leaders. The program began with Carol Hess, vice president of Human Resources/chief human resources officer, envisioning a year-long program to “turn leaders into the amazing leaders our agency and team members need them to be.”

This year’s class based its learning on the book “A Leader’s Legacy” by James M. Kouzes and Barry G. Posner. The book includes a series of 22 powerful essays which explore the often thorny and frequently ambiguous issues of significance, relationships, aspirations, and courage: how leaders serve and sacrifice, why leaders need loving critics, why leaders should want to be liked, why leaders can’t take trust for granted, why it’s not just the leader’s vision, why failure is always an option, why it takes courage to “make a life,” how to liberate the leader in everyone, and ultimately, how the legacy you leave is the life you lead.

Application to the program is open to all SpiriTrust Lutheran team members, regardless of their role in the organization. Each applicant has to commit to completing all the assignments along with actively participating in all the training sessions.