Core Values Are Organic, They Don’t Mean Anything Otherwise

Core Values Are Organic, They Don’t Mean Anything Otherwise

These Five Core Values Defined Themselves through a Culture Fostered for 20 Years

By Paul Binsfeld, president and founder of Company Nurse, LLC

While companies oftentimes set core values to define an aspirational company culture, really that methodology should be reverse engineered. For 20 years, I have been committed to creating a company culture that fosters a sense of care for each individual – both professionally and personally. To my humble surprise, that culture is felt by staff today and even permeates through all areas of the business.

During a series of executive leadership strategy sessions in late 2016, we redefined our core values and the process was rather easy. Instead of racking our brains to find the perfect set of words to articulate who we think we are, we looked inward and simply expressed how we act day to day.

These are the core values we defined:

  • Do the right thing
  • Go the extra two miles
  • Driven to find solutions
  • Compassion for everyone
  • Work together to work it out

We are a company with history, filled with defining moments, whether good or bad. Our core values tell stories.

For example, “do the right thing” is a two-way street and I show that with my employees. I once had a circumstance in which the client’s primary point of contact was verbally abusive with my team. I phoned my key client contact and said that it was unprofessional behavior, and requested the client speak politely and civilly to my team. The behavior continued, so I gave the client 30-days notice. In the end, the primary point of contact was terminated, my employees received an apology letter, and they have been our client for over 15 years.

“Go the extra two miles” is practiced routinely, particularly by our nurse triage call center. Take, for example, a critical situation in which an 83-year-old gentleman slipped and fell in a school cafeteria and hit his head. While he phoned into our nurse triage call center saying he felt fine, our nurse took extra care. She asked all of the right questions to ultimately realize that his condition could quickly worsen, given the medication he was taking. Giving him explicit details to go to the ER if he felt off in any way, our nurse took the extra step in notifying his wife too. The medical triage phone call did not end there. Rather, our nurse picked up the phone the next morning to make sure he was doing well.

Creating core values in a silo – based off of solely my perspective – would be sterile and less meaningful. These are principles for which we all have lived for years. Being formally defined further allows the team to firmly know expectations; creating an unwavering guide that dictates behavior and action. As we look forward, these guiding principles will certainly keep my business on the right path for years to come.

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I asked what our core values mean to my team, and here are some responses:

“To me, it reflects the business we offer our clients and respect we give our employees.”

“The Core Values mean to treat our callers, clients and co-workers how we would like to be treated, and work as a team to solve problems and get work done.”

“I like seeing these reminders. Some cases can be more difficult and this can allow me to refocus what my goals for the client need to be, despite the difficulty of the case.”

“’Driven to find solutions’ is critical to our business. We must drive to find solutions to both customer-facing challenges as well as solutions that help us each do our jobs better, to our fullest potential. Individuals should not determine priorities, products, and directions in a vacuum, without discussion and understanding the needs of those impacted.”

“It reflects the attitude of the company and is a reminder of who we want to be. I particularly like ‘compassion for everyone,’ as this is often lacking in a business environment.”

“I love that we stand for something at Company Nurse and that what we stand for gives us direction and purpose on a daily basis. My thoughts on the five core values:

  • Do the right thing – doing the right thing is not always easy. It can be difficult or painful to make the ‘right’ choice instead of the choice that is least painful or that most people agree with, but when you do the right thing, you set an example of living with dignity, honesty, caring and respect for yourself and others.
  • Go the extra two miles – this means doing more than is expected and doing it with an attitude of generosity and willingness, without expecting special recognition.
  • Driven to find solutions – do not settle for the first or easiest solutions – look for the best solution.
  • Compassion for everyone – Aha! let’s dust off the Golden Rule that many people in this world have forgotten: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do not judge; be loving and kind to all.
  • Work together to work it out – love these two quotes – they say it all: ‘Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success,’ and, ‘I can do things you cannot, and you can do things I cannot; together, we can do great things.’”

“’Driven to find solutions’ is something we all need to do. If we don’t have a solution, we need to seek out those that do. It brings us together and lets us grow together.”

“’Work together to work it out’ is what I see this wonderful office doing. Everyone here works so well together. Teamwork is evident here and that is the first thing I noticed when I began working here. It’s a great group of people coming together for a mutual goal.”

“Make decisions that are in the best interest of Company Nurse and our clients. Do your best each day to meet and exceed the expectations placed on you. Always look for better ways to solve problems. Collaborate with others.”

“’Go the extra 2 miles’ to me, means to not do the bare minimum when speaking with an injured employee. Give more than care advice; explain why. If they need reassurance, give it. Do whatever is needed to help. ‘Driven to find solutions” means don’t give up when you hit a snag. Think it over, and if necessary seek another’s opinion to solve a problem. ‘Compassion for everyone’ means that we are all alike and need to understand that. Treat everyone with the empathy for which you would like to be treated. Remember that we are dealing with people who are upset and hurting, and may not always be nice to you. ‘Work together to work it out’ means we have a lot of experienced, intelligent co-workers at Company Nurse. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. When we put our heads together, we can do anything!”

“It means to give your best, all the time, without reservation.”

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Paul Binsfeld is the founder and president of Company Nurse, LLC, a firm that specializes in medical triage and injury management for workers’ compensation. In Q4 2016, Binsfeld formally launched the first-to-market SaaS solution for worker’s compensation nurse triage management.

Binsfeld’s career began as a workers’ compensation consultant with mid-size employers helping to streamline claims processes and improve outcomes for injured workers. By working with many different types of employers, he identified a common need for early intervention in the workers’ compensation claims and injury management process, and thus, Company Nurse was born in 1997. Binsfeld – one of the pioneers of the pre-claim nurse triage industry – was recently appointed to the Entrepreneurial Insurance Alliance Advisory Board of Directors. He has over 25 years of experience in workers’ compensation and is one of the most influential leaders in the market.

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