Late last year, The Independence Center (The IC) was named one of The Gazette’s “Best Workplaces” for 2020. This award is especially meaningful to me because it comes directly from our staff. Unbeknownst to me, a number of employees nominated The IC for the award. Once the nomination was official, almost 50% of our Home Health, Independent Living, and Administrative staff members then completed a lengthy survey about our work environment. It speaks volumes about the good will staff members have toward The IC that they would take the time and care enough to do this.
With around 330 employees, The IC was one of several “best workplaces” in the Extra-Large Companies category. Clearly, The IC is no longer a small, unknown nonprofit in Colorado Springs. Since 2011 we have doubled our employees and our revenues, purchased a second building, and now have satellite offices (for traveling staff) across our service area. New programs have sprung up, while others have been phased out. Today, we are considered a national model for other Centers for Independent Living throughout the country. Through all the changes, our staff has been the backbone of what we do. Without them, people with disabilities would not receive the services, supports, and advocacy that help ensure their participation and visibility in our local community.
The leadership at The IC understands that change and growth can have both a positive and negative effect on morale. So, we do our best to create an atmosphere of appreciation and support for our staff. We provide training, opportunities for creative thinking, and a comfortable, healthy space (even virtually) for staff members and consumers alike. Most importantly, we work to promote an environment that assumes positive intent and generates trust and respect. We believe if staff have the tools, knowledge, and support they need, our consumers and their families will benefit by getting the care and services they need to move closer to their goals.
I am so proud of our staff and feel blessed to be part of a group who is passionate about the work they do. Time and again, I have heard employees say they feel lucky to have jobs where they can make a difference in the lives of others. I say that the Pikes Peak Region is lucky to have such a wonderful team working hard every day, whether in person or virtually, to make sure that our community of people with disabilities can create the lives they want.
To the staff – past, present, and future – thank you for building the strong foundation that allows this organization to serve the people that we do with such love and success.