When prospective residents or other newcomers visit Immanuel, they often remark on what a positive environment they find. Many of them have remarked that “it just feels different” from other communities or workplaces. That difference usually has to do with the way staff members interact with each other and with residents. People say to hi to each other in the halls, often calling each other by name and sometimes stopping for a brief exchange about how the day is going. Residents gather in the Patio Room for coffee and games or just for a chat before dinner. Floor staff are busy, but they always appear to enjoy each other’s company when they’re working in teams, and they take the time to greet passersby.
At Immanuel, we emphasize “community,” and that’s part of what creates this atmosphere. But we also strive every day to live and work the values described in the Immanuel Spirit. The Immanuel Spirit was developed by leadership several years ago to structure the culture we want to create here at Immanuel. For example, the Immanuel Spirit reminds us to “Greet everyone warmly, by name, and with a smile” and to “Contribute to an atmosphere of positivity, teamwork, and cultural support.” It’s these values that are reflected in the exchanges visitors notice.
But these values aren’t just for show. They shine through in other areas, as well. For example, recently our culinary team was preparing a meal from a specific ethnic tradition for some visiting VIPs. A housekeeper with experience preparing this kind of ethnic cuisine happened to wander through the kitchen. She noticed that something wasn’t quite right, and she jumped in to help. A little bit later, she returned to the kitchen when her assistance was requested. This housekeeper isn’t on the culinary team, of course, and she still had housekeeping work to finish, but because teamwork is so important at Immanuel, she stopped what she was doing to make sure that a big event turned out as well as it possibly could. She saw a problem she could help solve and jumped in—incidentally, another of the Immanuel Spirit commitments is “Respond to every problem I see.”
It’s not always easy to honor all fifteen points of the Immanuel Spirit, but when we keep them in mind, we create a culture that is welcoming and special. We strive to work as a team across departments, and when we do, residents and guests notice.