Mixing Personal and Business Core Values

By Akmal Saleem
Continuous Quality Improvement Director
Seraaj Family Homes, Inc.

akmal-head-shotFor the past few days, I have been contemplating on personal and work-related values. At first, I tried hard to separate the two categories. I began to question myself. “How can you be this person at home, and then try to be a completely different individual at work?” It was a stressful and impossible task. I realized that the values that I selected made up of everything that has happened to me from childhood to my mid-life endeavors.

When I was hired as an employee at SFH I began to ask some of my co-workers about the history of the agency’s core values. I was told to ask the CEO, Abdul Seraaj. He simply said, “What my wife and I learned at Boys Town and what our upbringings taught us is where those core values originated.”  

Everywhere I look SFH’s core values are present throughout the company. They are noted in the employee’s handbook, posted on the company’s website, tools for evaluations, a part of job interview questions, and one of the corporate office’s training rooms has been named “H.I. & F.A.A.R.,” an acronym for the company’s service values. These values are: honesty, integrity, flexibility, accessibility, accountability, accuracy and responsiveness. 

As the agency’s Continuous Quality Director, I began to notice that these values are also embedded in how teams make decisions and function as a united front in solving difficult situations. These values are also found in how teams assist the agency in laying out a realistic, yet, achievable strategic plans of the highest level of service delivery imaginable.

SFH core values are what help make up the identity and culture of the company. These values act as the norms and standards of doing business. They constantly set standards regarding how we makes decisions, and functions as a leading authority in foster care. In fact, SFH’s core values have a superior culture that’s rooted in quality customer care. 

Today, I witnessed one of many outstanding acts based on delivering the best service rooted in those core values. Upon entering the building, I spoke to the receptionist and told her, “It’s nice to come to work and be greeted with a smile.” She responded, “That’s funny that you said that, because the other day a lady called and said, “I can tell that you are smiling through the phone.” 

I hope that all external and internal SFH customers experience one or more outstanding core values. The simplest way to make this happen is not to leave your personal values locked up at home, but to bring them to work and combine them with SFH’s values. Thus, everyone will feel valued, have pride in their place of employment, and develop a sense of ownership. Like most values, they start at home and follow us everywhere in our daily lives.