By Norene Cashen

When I was a child, my idea of a hero was someone who could outrun a speeding train or leap a tall building with a single bound.

My views have evolved quite a bit since then. And I’ve met a lot of real-life heroes in both my work and personal life. I mean, the kind of heroes who don’t appear in comic books or action movies. Instead, they show up in our lives and often go above and beyond the call of duty to make a positive impact on others.

Years ago, I served as a social worker in the older adult unit of a hospital, and I worked with a behavioral health specialist who sang to patients when they were in distress. He just stood there in his scrubs and belted out a cappella Motown tunes, and the whole place was transformed. That’s a hero.

I also remember the home health care worker who showed up daily at my grandparents’ senior living apartment. She remembered every one of their grandchildren’s names (more than a dozen) and learned to play my grandmother’s favorite card game. That’s also a hero.

Heroes KARE

The concept of real-life heroes was the focus of the recent premiere of the KARE-ing Conversations video livestream, “What the Data Tells Us About Staffing.” KARE CEO Charles Turner and COO Bridget Kaselak appeared with Foresight’s Steve Moran and Rachel Hill to unpack the lessons KARE (a Foresight partner) has learned from working with and researching frontline caregiver staff.

A unique, tech-based labor marketplace, KARE is doing a lot to innovate and disrupt an industry, tackling one of the senior living’s greatest challenges, staffing. Communities get to pick from thousands of caregivers to fill their open shifts and then hire them full-time at no charge if they like them.

But it doesn’t stop there. KARE is gathering and using data to answer big questions and lead the way as agents of change. Want to know what kind of work culture will support staff retention? There’s an answer for that. Spoiler alert: Respecting and valuing your staff is the key!

Shifting How We Think About Staffing

But one of the most exciting things KARE is doing is reinventing the concept of caregiver. It gave caregivers the job title “HERO” long before it was trendy. (It stands for honest, empathetic, reliable, open-minded.) And it’s a title to be taken seriously enough to carry into the second episode of KARE-ing Conversations, “Heroes In and Out of the Pandemic.”

These KARE-ing Conversations remind me of the real-life heroes I’ve encountered on my journey, but they also remind me how important it is to shift the way we think about staffing and service.

As Richard Branson once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Ways to Watch

Need a KARE HERO in your organization? Fill out the inquiry form here. And be sure to catch KARE-ing Conversations every Wednesday, live at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT. Here are some ways to make sure you don’t miss an episode:

You can catch up on all the KARE-ing Conversations episodes here.