2021 April

Employee Retention: practicing your faith

by Clare Krabill, MHS COO

I remember almost 15 years ago hearing about a leader named Steve from those who had worked with him. They all agreed they would have given their absolute best for Steve. They knew he gave his best for them, believed the best in them and invested in their best outcomes. They wanted to continue working with him and were not interested in looking elsewhere.

Their testimonies made quite an impact on me. I decided at that point I wanted to lead like Steve! I began a journey of cultivating servanthood leadership skills. I read leadership books, sought knowledge through peers and mentors, and attended leadership seminars. It didn’t take long to realize that while I could learn best practices and skills, knowing these things didn’t translate into consistently doing them.

The MHS membership network is a community of faith. It is one of the things that sets you and your ministries apart. Yet, your belief alone does not result in your being better leaders. The invitation is to take your belief, invest it with time, effort, and perseverance, and go deep into yourself to cultivate practices that arise from the Spirit.

The spiritual practice of solitude of the heart can be foundational. Through solitude of the heart, one seeks to perceive the world from a quiet inner center. It can transform loneliness and neediness to abundance and generosity.

While experienced alone or in a crowd, it is best developed in actual solitude. In speaking of this solitude of the heart, Thomas Merton wrote, “It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. It is pure affection and filled with reverence for the solitude of others… There is no way of telling people that they are walking around shining like the sun.” He goes on to explain that he perceived his practice of solitude as a responsibility that he had for himself and others. That through the practice of solitude he experienced the depth of community. This is the depth that can empower you to give your best to, believe the best in, and invest in the best outcomes for your colleagues. It is a foundation that can set you apart as a leader. I suspect this is the real key to leading like Steve.

2021 April

Employee Retention from a Millennial’s Perspective

by Twila Albrecht, MHS Program Manager

My parents still get a kick out of telling their friends about the letters I used to write to the president of the United States when I was in 2nd grade. We were learning about rainforests and deforestation and I became deeply concerned why the president was cutting down so many trees.

Fast forward.

It’s a year later and I’m watching the Twin Towers fall on the tv screen in my third-grade classroom. [Yes, we had tv screens in our classrooms when I was in third grade]. A war then ensues.

It’s 2008, Barack Obama becomes the first black president of the United States. The year 2008 will then be bookmarked by The Great Recession, where those born near the beginning of my generation were beginning to enter the workforce, or lack thereof.  

It’s 2014 and an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, is killed by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri.

Climate change, terrorism, and racial (in)justice are some of the movements that informed a generation of socially and environmentally conscious, purpose-driven, tech wizards.

As a generation, millennials (born between 1981-96) are commonly tagged as lazy, entitled, tech-crazed, ‘job-hoppers’. These labels are probably true on our worst days. But, as a millennial, I could think of some other ways to describe us: adventurous, interdisciplinary changemakers that believe in working smarter, not harder.

A quick internet search including the words ‘millennial’ and ‘retention’ results in a plethora of tips and tricks for retaining us. Here’s my quick summary of common themes that millennials are often looking for, and that you are likely already aware of and probably even attempting in your organizations:

  • Opportunities for professional development and mentorship;
  • transparent communication, particularly related to decision-making and power structures;
  • opportunities that matter – some of us still believe we can change the world, and while it may seem far-fetched at times, volunteer and community engagement activities go a long way at creating community and moments of social change;
  • flexibility, flexibility, flexibility – we’re in a pandemic. You’ve likely altered how you are working, so what has worked well, what hasn’t;
  • Authenticity – we want to show up as we are, and we expect the programs and services we are working with to reflect the mission and values of the organization, consistently.

One strategy for taking this a step further is to begin by including millennial voices in developing your retention strategies. [We like to feel special after all.] You might consider asking the following questions of each other; without judgement, daydream:

  1. What brings you the most satisfaction at work?
  2. What are some things in your daily routine that, if you had the power to change, would make coming to work easier?
  3. If you had the opportunity to rewrite the employee handbook, where would you begin?
  4. In what ways do you think the organization needs to adapt to stay relevant, and/or to meet the changing needs of people served and people serving?

As the MHS Program Manager, I’ve really enjoyed working on employee engagement assessments with some of your organizations. MHS, together with MHS Consulting, offers a variety of tools, like the employee engagement assessment, to help leaders and organizations invest in their greatest asset – their employees! We are eager to hear what strategies you are implementing and how we can support you.

2021 April Your Words

Your Words Responses

What is your favorite interview question to ask? Why?

Tell me what attracts you to this organization and how do those characteristics fit with your own values? Because I believe this gets to how an employee or student fits within the system, their own values, and their motivations.

Don Tyson, Professor of Nursing, MSN Programs Director at EMU

Often applicants have many of the same qualifications. Why should we choose you, of all candidates, to help us serve our mission?

Dawn Veh, Executive Director at Mennonite Friendship Communities

You’ve lost your keys. How does that make you feel and how do you go about finding them?

Missy Schrock, Executive Director at Center for Healing and Hope

Why do you want to work here?

Bob Aschliman, President at Aschliman & Co CPAs

When interviewing for a community based counseling position, I want to be able to assess how candidates might react to the unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable situations they may encounter in a client’s home or in the community. At the end of the interview, I let them know I saved the most challenging questions for the end and ask…”what is the color of the number 7?” “If 7 is (insert their answer) then what is the color of the number 3?”. Obviously, there is no correct answer but it I feel able to assess how they might react to something unexpected and slightly odd. Full disclosure, I learned the question from a Clinical Director who thoroughly enjoyed adding humor to the work place.

Kerry Beck, Clinical Supervisor/Therapist at Shalom Counseling and Mediation

If you were a piece of furniture, what would it be and why?

I ask this question as it reflects what’s important to the person. For example, if a person wants to be a television, you know they choose to be the center of attention; if a kitchen/dining room table, then they are most likely a collaborator who likes to surround themselves with meaningful conversations/relationships. No wrong answers, but very interesting to hear.

Deanna Beins, Administrator at Menno Haven

Is it more important to you that people like you or that they respect you? (Those who want to be liked will compromise almost anything to make people happy. Those who seek respect will do what is right, even when it is unpopular.)

Richard O’Hara, Director of Spiritual Ministries at Frederick Living

What pushes your buttons and how do you manage those reactions/feelings?

Bob Redcay, Dir. of HR at Friendship Community

Tell me about a time when you went over and above for a patient or resident. What did you do and what was the end result? Why I like this question – This is a great question to get candidates talking about their view of what “over and above” actually means to them. It will reveal people who struggle with boundaries and do not have awareness of appropriate boundaries. A few candidates answered this by sharing something they did that was unethical or a poor practice. However, they considered it “going above and beyond” and did not have good awareness of the need for boundaries in mental health treatment.

Nicole D Twigg, Director of Human Resources at Brook Lane Health Services

What are your wellness practices? It gives a glimpse of the balance someone has, it helps me know what’s important to them, and it often shines a light as to their level of adventure/risk.

Michelle Rassler, Executive Director at Landis Communities

We often talk a lot about what we do, but I would like to know more about why you do what you do?

Allen Rutter, Executive Director at Shalom Ministries

If you had to be an egg, what kind of egg would you be and why?

This question, in my opinion, allows for the candidate to think quickly, be confident in their answer and maybe a little light-hearted. These qualities may not be perfect for each role but in front line caregivers they are important qualities. It usually allows a chance to see a little bit of color from nervous candidates as well.

Lauren Thomson, Clinical Director at Frederick Living

“Please tell me about yourself.” Good broad opening first question before getting into specifics, and it’s insightful and fascinating to hear the person describe themself.

Jeff Evans, CEO Cross at Keys Village

I like to end with: “Give me 3 words your friends and family use to describe you.”

Jennifer McKenna, Enhanced Living Administrator at Messiah Lifeways

Why is a manhole cover round?

J Brian Nealon, CEO at Wesley Health Care Center

I give background on our CORE Values: Trust, Teamwork, Dignity, Integrity, Quality, Compassion, and Community. Then I ask which is more important: Compassion or Quality?

Susan A Howard, Director Human Resources at Fairmount Homes

“Tell me about a time when you encountered a mess at work and you fixed it.” I like this question, because it gives the candidate a chance to talk about solving a problem and taking ownership of a project. Proactive candidates will have stories to tell.

Steve Keener, Executive Director at Jubilee Association of Maryland

What did you play as a child when no one was telling you what to do? This indicates their motivational pattern. If playing dolls, were they nurturing or organizing the play household? If they were playing ball, were they getting the team together? Playing the game? Focused on stats? This gives insight on what they love to do and feel guilty accepting a paycheck because they are having so much fun.

Anne Krabill Hershberger, Goshen College Associate Professor of Nursing Emerita, Retired

Define leadership in abstract terms – unrelated to a particular job.

I’m interested in how a person thinks and that they do indeed think rather than how well they understand and apply the latest management theory.

Carl Ginder, Board Member for Paxton Ministries
2021 April

Reduce Your Kitchen Risk and Deliver What Residents Crave

CPS logo

Managing cooking oil and grease disposal is one of the most dreaded tasks in any kitchen. It’s dangerous. It’s messy. It’s labor-intensive. It can even be costly if someone gets hurt in the process. That’s why you need Total Oil Management—the all-in-one solution for fresh cooking oil delivery, grease removal and recycling at the push of a button. Restaurant Technologies understands the unique challenges of non-commercial food service operators. Their solutions can help you with reduced full-time employee capacity and deliver measurable safety benefits day-to-day as well as help you continue the quality of care and living standards your residents expect.

Program Benefits:

  • Eliminate labor-intensive oil handling or long transfers across property
  • Reduce employee exposure to hot oil to reduce serious injury frequency
  • Reduce slips, falls, burns, and associated worker’s compensation claims to reduce employee injury frequency
  • Eliminate loading, storing, and retrieving 35lb. jugs
  • Encourage more diligent filtering to improve food quality
  • Reduce non-organic waste and carbon footprint by eliminating thousands of pounds of waste corrugate and plastic JIB packaging
  • Support organic waste reduction programs by eliminating the 1lb per JIB of fresh unused oil thrown out by normal practices
  • Support employee retention and engagement by providing a safer, cleaner, more efficient kitchen
  • Support diversity and inclusion by providing a reasonable accommodation for a difficult back of house task for employees with disabilities

With Total Oil Management, they handle the entire oil process for you—from ordering and receipt processing to delivering fresh cooking oil all the way to storing, handling and recycling of used cooking oil. The advanced kitchen equipment and technology even automates everything so your employees never have to worry about transporting hot oil ever again.

How does it work? Restaurant Technologies install two tanks, one for bulk fresh cooking oil and one for waste oil in your back-of-house. The tanks are connected to your fryers, as well as an exterior wall. They then install automatic controls on the inside of your fryers so employees can easily add, filter and dispose at the push of a button. They do system configurations for all fryer types—even those without built-in filtration. Once the equipment is installed, the service trucks deliver fresh cooking oil and remove restaurant grease via a lockable outdoor fill box. All grease picked up by the trucks is recycled into biodiesel, making used cooking oil removal and grease recycling easy for you and your business. The entire process is done according to your schedule and cooking oil usage, creating a seamless experience thanks to the system’s closed-loop functionality. And with Restaurant Technologies, there is no upfront capital costs to install or unexpected service charges on equipment because they stand behind their services.

The oil technology and monitoring solutions provide managers with access to an easy-to-use dashboard for visibility into each location’s performance and compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs). This data, pulled from the advanced smart equipment they install in your kitchen, is continuously updated for daily analysis.

Not only that but the Oil Activity subscription technology tracks daily oil usage and sends email notifications when a location exceeds its threshold or isn’t filtering for the required duration. Managers can also view current oil levels, evaluate trends in oil usage, and see the delivery and disposal history. When paired with your own food data, daily tracking of food-to-oil ratios and other key metrics becomes possible—and easy—across locations and dayparts. Now you have the power to determine if your staff is using too much oil, costing you money, or using too little oil, sacrificing food quality.

A variety of data views and downloadable reports allow managers to review historical data, compare oil usage and analyze activity over time. But what does all of this mean to you? It means you can improve staff training, correct employee behavior, forecast future oil usage and identify areas to improve efficiency. Don’t waste another minute on manual restaurant grease management. Get started today and stop worrying about fryer oil so you and your staff can get back to what really matters: delivering the food and dining experience your residents crave. Contact Dianne Piet, your dedicated CPS Client Account Manager, at 603-935-7923, email: