Clas­sic Care Phar­mac y

Ottawa Business Journal - HR Update - - Awards 2009-10 -

Ahappy en­vi­ron­ment breeds a healthy en­vi­ron­ment, most im­por­tantly when you’re a health-care provider. It’s a tru­ism that Wendy Buchanan, man­ager of phar­macy and clin­i­cal ser­vices at Clas­sic Care Phar­macy, un­der­stands and puts into prac­tice.

“I’ve taken ev­ery job I’ve been in and put to­gether how I’d like to be treated,” she says. “Happy and en­gaged em­ploy­ees pro­vide great client ser­vices and ul­ti­mately (make) happy cus­tomers.”

Clas­sic Care Phar­macy opened its Ottawa offices in 1999. This “closed door phar­macy” (not open to the gen­eral pub­lic) pro­vides pre­scrip­tion and health ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices to seven long-term care homes and 16 re­tire­ment res­i­dences, serv­ing 1,900 res­i­dents in east­ern On­tario.

This is the third time it’s been an Em­ploy­ees’ Choice Awards win­ner. No sur­prises there, for this is a place where in­di­vid­ual care and at­ten­tion is not just lav­ished on pa­tients.

“I hire the best peo­ple I can get and take a lot of time to fig­ure out what mo­ti­vates them, then I try to en­gi­neer it so I can help them find their niche,” Ms. Buchanan says.

While many em­ploy­ers throw up their hands in de­spair at the “im­pos­si­ble de­mands” of Gen-Xers and Gen-Ys, she says she doesn’t be­lieve they’re any dif­fer­ent to pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions in terms of work ethic and loy­alty.

“I think if you give peo­ple mean­ing­ful work, if they’re en­gaged, have own­er­ship and are re­spected, there are not go­ing to be re­ten­tion prob­lems.”

This is a woman who knows what she’s talk­ing about, given the low turnover rate and fre­quent job in­quiries. And it’s cor­rob­o­rated in the em­ployee feed­back for the 2009 ECA sur­vey.

“Clas­sic Care Phar­macy is a won­der­ful place to work. In my time here I have been able to de­velop my skills and take on new and chal­leng­ing roles. Great ef­forts are taken to cre­ate a sense of com­mu­nity within our com­pany,” wrote one staff mem­ber.

“I have re­cently joined this or­ga­ni­za­tion and man­age­ment has been ex­cel­lent in help­ing me with the tran­si­tion from stay-home mom to part­time em­ployee, es­pe­cially through­out the sum­mer months. We worked out a sched­ule that ben­e­fits both of us. It’s not easy to find an em­ployer that will go the ex­tra step,” wrote an­other.

Ms. Buchanan ex­plains the fo­cus is on ful­fil­ment and ul­ti­mately, top per­for­mance.

“We want every­one to have re­ward­ing and en­joy­able ca­reers, not just a place to work. We’re com­mit­ted to build­ing skills and com­pe­tency at all lev­els so we can be at the top of our game ev­ery day.”

Like its vow to go “above and be­yond in client care,” the com­pany pro­vides the same in terms of ben­e­fits for its em­ploy­ees. In­no­va­tive HR poli­cies in­clude $1,000 awarded to em­ployee of the year. First-time new­ly­weds re­ceive an ex­tra week’s an­nual leave, prod­ucts can be pur­chased from the phar­macy at whole­saler prices, the health ben­e­fits pro­gram is 100-per-cent cov­ered and pre­scrip­tion fees are waived. And that’s just the tech­ni­cal facts.

“We care about our em­ploy­ees and rec­og­nize that life can be messy some­times, but fam­ily al­ways comes first,” says Ms. Buchanan. “When we say we’re go­ing to do some­thing, we fol­low through … Our busi­ness is peo­ple. If we re­spect our em­ploy­ees, col­leagues and clients, we’ll all achieve our end goals.”

Em­ploy­ees and pa­tients aren’t the only ones to ben­e­fit from Clas­sic Care Phar­macy. Over the past three years alone, the com­pany has raised more than $75,000 for Cana­dian char­i­ties.

“We are very proud of our fundrais­ing ef­forts,” says Ms. Buchanan. “We want our em­ploy­ees to make a dif­fer­ence in this world by help­ing oth­ers and set­ting the stan­dard of care to our se­niors.”

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