By Tim Brooks
It is the honor of my life to lead the company my father, Howard Brooks, founded in the mid-1960s. He built HealthKeeperz from his own keen instinct to always do the right thing by people. My dad has always looked for new and inventive ways to help folks, based on what they need for care. With his ultimate servant’s heart, he always ran this company with humility and a willingness to help the poorest among us.
With my father’s legacy of care inspiring the work of all of us at HealthKeeperz, I’ve made it my priority to focus inward on building a culture that resonates across the company. In the last few years, I’ve been motivated to collaborate with my colleagues at the company to create what we call the Barnabas Culture.
In late 2014, I had the pleasure of hearing a gentleman speak at a conference for Christian business leaders called the C12 Group. As part of this group, I had committed—just as my father before me—to build a great company with a great purpose. At this particular gathering, the speaker outlined for us that there are two reasons people work: first, they want their work to have value (as opposed to just pushing widgets), and second, they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
I thought about the attributes that we most cherish in our teammates at HealthKeeperz: encouragement, selflessness, humility, and caring. Our team realized that we had a Biblical reference point, a shining example for us to measure our own behavior by—Barnabas. In the Bible, Barnabas is the Apostle Paul’s close friend and missionary companion. Throughout the stories of their missions, we see Barnabas caring for Paul, helping him, and giving him credibility in his work caring for others.
In creating our Barnabas Culture, we sought to build a culture of encouragement for everyone who works here. We want HealthKeeperz to be the kind of place where people openly care for their HealthKeeperz teammates, where commitment to each other sustains us daily. Caring for others is hard work—we put our blood, sweat, and a lot of tears into caring for our home health patients, hospice patients, case management patients, and medical supply patients—and you need somebody to have your back, lift you when you’re down, and spur you on each day to do your best by each person in need.
We live the Barnabas Culture every day, and we celebrate it every quarter and annually. On a regular basis, you’ll hear a HealthKeeperz employees call out, “I need a Barnabas!” And sure enough, they get that reinforcement they need, right away. In our leadership team meetings, we always focus on two areas: first, we work on preserving the core, and second, we stimulate the progress of our company through vision and execution. On that first part, we inject a daily dose of Barnabas to our proceedings, asking questions like, “What can we do better for our people?” “Who needs extra help?” and “What more can we do to live our values?”
Perhaps my favorite aspect of our Barnabas Culture comes in the form of our quarterly Barnabas Awards and our annual Barnabas Award (informally known as the Super Barnabas). At the close of each quarter—and we’ve done this every three months since the first quarter of 2015—we survey all of our employees. Each employee has a say in nominating his or her peers for a quarterly recognition. Thus, each year, we have four winners, recognized for caring, humility, selflessness, and encouragement. Then, at the end of the year, we vote on an annual winner among the four to receive a special award at our annual Barnabas Banquet.
When it comes to corporate culture, there is no passive approach. We’ve been intentional at HealthKeeperz about declaring who we are and what we stand for, and that’s caring for each other so that we can care for our patients.
I am so proud of where we are going as a company, how we continue to grow our business by growing in the ways we can serve others, just as my dad built this company to do. I am most proud that we do all of these things with purpose, lifting each other along the way. To care for others for the glory of God requires us to follow examples set before us, and the life of Barnabas is our template for achieving this level of commitment.