EAN names Rhode Island Quality Institute Employer of Choice

MICHELLE L. DEXTER, director of human ­resources for the Rhode Island Quality Institute, reflects on the organization being named an ­Employer of Choice by the Employers Association of the Northeast. The award recognizes companies and organizations for developing workplaces that value employees, foster engagement, invest in training and reward ­performance.

Can you describe the company culture at the Rhode Island Quality Institute? RIQI’s culture is collaborative, engaging, innovative and passionate. We recognize that we are at our best when we work together as a team. Our team deeply cares about the impact we are having in the community, it drives us forward and we find ourselves often sharing the stories of those who’ve been helped in our work. Our culture and compassion resonate throughout the organization.

What are RIQI’s core values? How are these values integrated into the daily lives of RIQI employees? Our core values are passion, innovation, results, transparency and persistence, which captures the spirit of RIQI. They guide our decisions, interactions and behaviors at all levels. We continuously highlight when an employee is demonstrating one of our values, which may be a simple shout-out during a meeting, expressed through our recognition programs, and/or captured in the performance-management process.

Can you tell us about RIQI’s peer-recognition program? The High Fives Recognition program was created last year as a result from feedback received from our employee-engagement survey. The High Fives Wall gives employees the opportunity to acknowledge a peer’s contribution and/or positive behavior, which directly links to our five core values. Employees receive recognition for each High Five nomination, and after five High Fives, they get to select a small gift of their choice and receive a “High Five” trophy presented by our CEO at our town hall staff meetings.

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What are the tenets of a healthy workplace? First and foremost, truly caring about employees at all times is the foundation of a healthy workplace. At RIQI, we practice respectful engagement, trust and support on a daily basis – all across the organization. Creating clarity, setting expectations and providing timely feedback are also important principles that we embrace. Lastly, we take the time to pause and celebrate the many accomplishments that we achieve together and share a few laughs along the way.

Have you found that offering employees progressive benefits (such as better work-life balance and more time off) is good for business? Absolutely. We all need time to recharge, reflect and relax. Supporting this belief only makes us better, not only in our personal lives but professional lives as well. Encouraging work-life balance increases engagement, productivity and overall happiness, which have a direct impact on the success of a business. We support this balance by providing flexible schedules and opportunities to work remotely. We’re very aware that people often spend more time at work than they do with their families. We respect and appreciate the time they give to RIQI.