Submitted By: Elizabeth Rutkowski, Assistant Director of Community & Staff Relations, Mountain Lake Services
Mountain Lake Services launched the Enriching Lives / Employee Spotlight program as part of our CQL Person-Centered Excellence Plan, which is connected to our CQL Accreditation. The Spotlight program was initiated to celebrate and recognize direct support professionals (DSPs). We use social media and our Friday Features newsletter throughout the year to highlight personal stories about excellence in direct support. This was one of the strategies in our Action Plan to have a more person-centered, informed, and stable workforce.
Sharing stories about the accomplishments of staff and people receiving services has brought our organization closer together. Mountain Lake Services provides supports throughout a large rural county. Since it can be challenging to create unity while spread across that area, this has been a great way to keep everyone informed. It also helps boost morale and spreads a positive message.
Staff report that it makes them feel valued and respected when they are recognized in a public venue. This program also allows employees’ co-workers and friends to share these stories of excellence. For many DSPs, it has rejuvenated their work and reinforced their purpose by reminding them of the positive impact they have every day.
To replicate this type of program, organizations need to have clear goals and detailed strategies, which are assigned to specific people to complete. Mountain Lake Services has a dedicated staff person who is responsible for ensuring the tasks associated with our Employee Spotlight are accomplished.
Organization-wide, the entire agency should also be committed to make this happen and follow up regularly to overcome any barriers. Everyone must ‘buy in’ to the program and it has to be a priority for administration and management. To be successful, leadership must not only notice when staff excel, but also take the time to share pictures and stories of these accomplishments.
Implementing The Employee Spotlight Program For DSPs
Here are the steps that Mountain Lake Services took to establish the Employee Spotlight program. Other organizations could develop this same type of initiative, by taking similar actions.
- Gather nominations and ideas from all levels of employees at the agency
- Confirm spotlight with the director of the program
- Obtain photos of the DSP and people they support
- Obtain photo consent for all parties
- Write the story
- Develop layout on Adobe Photoshop
- Post on Facebook and other social media
- Follow up with manager and the person
About Mountain Lake Services
Mountain Lake Services began in 1967 with 15 citizens who were concerned about the lack of support for people with developmental disabilities in their communities. From our beginning, providing vocational training at our work center, Essex Industries, through the development of residential and day services, we now offer a wide array of services to suit any need and capability.
Mountain Lake Services’ mission is to enrich the lives of people with developmental disabilities, their families and our communities. By offering a comprehensive range of services we ensure that we are indeed meeting the needs of the individuals we support, their families and our communities.
2020 National DSP Recognition Week
For 2020 National DSP Recognition Week, NADSP and CQL are sharing specific organization-wide initiatives that lift up and bolster direct support professionals (DSPs) throughout the entire year. These include significant, long-lasting, and meaningful actions that have far-reaching effects on DSPs. By sharing these initiatives, other human service providers can both learn about and replicate these efforts to build up the DSP workforce. This is also an opportunity to highlight the programs your organization has developed to strengthen DSPs.
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Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.