One of the joys of my Being More Human work is that I get to choose to work with businesses that capture my heart. Kitsu Kids is a perfect example.
Kitsu Kids provides “a soft landing for kids in crisis”
“While others see the limitations of caring for children in crisis care we embrace our opportunities, using our 9 Tails Way to guide us.”
Why has this business captured my heart? Because from its very conception, its Values have been at the centre of everything it does. Not your off-the-shelf garden variety, these values embody meaningful human virtues.
I’ve been involved from the very beginning. My role involves instilling these Values into the business, coaching team leaders and providing the “9-tails” induction each month for new staff. This is reinforced by regular Team workshops focusing on each of the values.
In every workshop, the team considers the values from a personal perspective, increasing their self-awareness, before considering how to help instil them for the children in their care. Each session is filled with laughter, meaningful conversations and team members adding to their toolkit to help positively equip the children in their care.
This focus on growth for Kitsu Kids’ employees is truly heartening – people really want to belong to a workplace where they can continue to grow and learn about themselves.
Positive language and self-talk, changing our narrative, above the line thinking and role modelling are incorporated into all the sessions:
- RESPECT had staff recognising each other’s strengths, entwining a rope across the room (creating a safety net – the soft landing for kids in crisis) as they shared what each of them brought to the team.
- HOPE gave individuals the chance to clearly define their hopes – without hope for ourselves, how can we help instil it in the children?
- EMPOWERMENT was a hands-on sensory workshop, providing tools to equip children (and grown-ups) to help self-regulate when emotions threatened to overwhelm them.
Of course, things aren’t always beer and skittles. As with any business (particularly one experiencing rapid growth) the goal-posts change, employees and management make mistakes, so continuous reflection and strategizing is par for the course. At these times, the values guide the business’ actions to enable swift decision-making.
With their values at the core of the business, these are the outcomes I’m seeing:
- A strong Employee Value Proposition: staff retention is high, as are employee engagement survey results. Skilled, loyal and committed people are being drawn to the business.
- Brand awareness: The employees are the biggest cheerleaders for the business, with social media hashtags including: #mybossrocks #thanks #kitsukids #myjobisbetterthanyours
- Relationships: There is a sense of belonging – staff visibly care for and support each other. Humour is big too!
- Authentic Leadership: there is trust and love for the owner of the business. A sense of social justice permeates all decisions made and the little things matter. Employees regularly receive cards when they or their family members are ill; Thank you cards and a gift when a child moves on from their care and birthday cards and flowers.
- Client outcomes: at the core of Kitsu Kids is the goal to make a positive impact on young lives. While Kitsu Kids provides short-term care, they are seeing tangible positive outcomes such as learning improvements, as well as the less tangible. Children who have moved into permanent care come back to the business for special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter parties. Staff and children mingle, laugh, and show a deep respect for and enjoyment of each other. There is a deep sense of belonging for all – and this is the true embodiment of a business being human.
“They may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
—Carl W. Buehner
Values drive culture and culture drives your brand. When you live and breathe your business values, great things will happen – for the business and the humans involved.