Posted by: Nancy | February 12, 2011

Meaningful work

Heartstrings is a non-profit based in Kansas City, with a mission to provide dignified and meaningful jobs for developmentally disabled adults.

Key words: Dignity, Meaning.

This week, I had the chance to visit the organization’s offices and a couple of the retail outlets. Heartstrings runs six businesses, employing 44 people. There are retail shops, gift baskets and snack carts that serve area businesses.

I have some experience with other work programs, but I have never seen an operation like this.

It was founded by Anne Hull because she saw a need for it. She wanted a place that provided true employment, where employees feel responsible for what they do and are held accountable to complete their tasks. The employees are needed and valued. The workplace, like Anne herself, is bright, friendly, happy, open, productive and positive.

This organization has a unique infrastructure, designed to provide attention to the employees. Heartstrings has one team leader for every three employees; many other organizations operate with one staff member responsible for 10, 20 or more employees.

Like all successful organizations, this one values and respects its employees and the community they serve. That shouldn’t be unusual, but too often it is. I loved how the employees greeted visitors, how quick they were to ask for a business card and then share their own. How eager they are with a handshake — or a hug to friends. These are happy employees.

Engaged, motivated, welcoming others. What business doesn’t want this?

Visit Heartstrings for more information.

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