The success of the Mission Society is built upon the compassion and dedication of our staff. Each day, they go above and beyond to ensure the needs of our students and families are met, whether that means creating brand new lessons, curating exciting opportunities for young people to explore their futures, or offering support beyond the classroom. While rewarding, undertaking this work can also be emotionally demanding.
In response, our organization is making sure our educators, social workers, counselors, and administrators know that their mental and emotional health matter. Mission Society’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Rick Lustig, shared that creating an empowering work culture for our team requires us to listen to their biggest concerns– like cost of living, healthcare, supporting their own families, and the ongoing pandemic. His philosophy is simple:
“We’re responsible for showing respect to all of our staff. For me, the best way to do that on a daily basis is to respond to staff requests as quickly as possible. No matter who they are, I want to hear them and address their concerns.”
Rick and his team work to build meaningful policies, benefits, and opportunities for staff to connect with one another. As job and financial insecurity have been on the rise, the Mission Society has retained employees, prioritized raising wages, and offered robust benefits that allow individuals to plan for a secure financial future. Through our partner, Corporate Counseling Associates, we share self-care resources, webinars, and a hotline for special counseling and emergency needs– a particularly necessary resource while navigating the pandemic.
Beyond benefits, we want staff to feel engaged with the organization, and most importantly, know that we see, hear, and want to engage with them in return. Rick shared that year-round, our leadership teams are finding new ways to regularly communicate important company updates, news, and success stories to their teams. And we never underestimate the power of fun! Organizing times for staff to come together and celebrate their achievements, socialize, and simply take a break has been a vital part of increasing morale.
At the end of the day, our community's well-being is the Mission Society's top priority. Our staff is the heart of our organization, and the people that look out for the welfare of the families we serve. They make it possible for us to welcome all students into safe, enriching learning spaces, and work alongside families to build better futures. In return, we will pour our efforts into providing them with every resource they need to thrive.
Thank you to Rick Lustig for his time and contributions to this piece. To read more about the ways the Mission Society has prioritized mental health and well-being as an organization, check out our self-care tips for students or our interview with social worker Mary McKevitz.