2020 presented a host of unforeseen challenges that required human services organizations to be agile and pivot to continue serving their communities. COVID-19 meant needing to rapidly put safety measures into place including accommodations for remote work, social distancing, and quarantining. In addition, increasing calls for equity, diversity, and inclusion within our workplaces, systems, and communities lead organizations to reaffirm their work to advance in their equity journeys.
While much of 2020 felt unprecedented, the need for human services organizations to continuously adapt in a rapidly shifting world is nothing new. Emerging technology and analytics, health care reform, advances in brain science, a pursuit for greater social justice, and a divisive political climate have already necessitated organizations to employ adaptive leadership strategies, engage staff, and innovate in new ways.
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation (COA)’s Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofit Organizations is a strategy framework that guides organizations in building key competencies that will help them to be nimble and proactive so they can capitalize on emerging disruptive forces rather than being paralyzed by them. Villa of Hope in Rochester, New York, and Great Circle in St. Louis are two organizations that have been able to adapt amid uncertainty and change.
Learn more about how these organizations leveraged the Commitments to further their missions by reading the case study or watching the video of their stories.
Villa of Hope Quickly Adapt to Keep Employees Safe During COVID-19
When COVID-19 cases began climbing in the U.S. in March 2020 and states started issuing stay at home orders, many businesses and nonprofits across industries were caught flat footed, rapidly trying to support remote work where possible and continue providing essential services. Needing to pivot on short notice put organizations’ leadership to the test. Leading with Vision, one of the Commitments, urges organization to engage all staff in finding solutions to complex and nebulous challenges.
At Villa of Hope, leaders quickly mobilized around COVID-19 precautions to keep employees safe. One of its critical strategies was to ensure that all staff had the information they needed—from executives to those providing direct services.
“I sometimes think leaders don’t give people enough credit for being able to handle information, but I think knowledge and information is power,” said Christina Gullo, president and CEO of Villa of Hope, in this video case study.
Being able to quickly develop and implement a plan that included a transition to remote work, personal protective equipment, and other safety measures for their essential workers in a matter of hours is a credit to consistent practice and trust in leadership. It also was made easier by the organization’s transformation from residential care to community-based and specialized residential services.