Valoris has officially completed and launched its new strategic plan, setting the course for the organization until 2021.
That’s what strategic plans do; it’s basically a way of summarizing major upcoming goals. In the sometimes-obscure corporate world, these plans aim at shedding some light on how the organization plans on using what is has learned over the past years – transmuting knowledge into concrete action.
To better understand the “why”, “what” and “how” of Strategic Plan 2018-2021, let’s take a look at the 2014-to-2017 plan.
“When we drafted the 14-17 strategic plan, we were looking to develop new reflexes within the organization; the reflex to use the tools we adopted. Moreover, we wanted our professionals to not only learn to use these tools but to understand the importance of using these tools,” explained Valoris Executive Director Hélène Fournier.
This stated importance alludes to statistics; to evidence data gathered by said tools.
“Evidence” is the key word here. It alludes to statistics gathered with a goal in mind – numbers and data that have a pre-established purpose. From 2014 to 2017, Fournier’s team gathered information and analyzed its own practices, laying the groundwork for philosophical and tangible changes the 2018-2021 plan hopes to bring about.
“This new plan builds on the last. It’s a logical follow-up to what we did from 2014 to 2017,” said Fournier.
Finding the gaps
During the 2014-2017 era, Valoris spent a great amount of time and energy gathering data.
While those on the front line provided evidence-based feedback from their interaction with clientele, additional analysis was being done within the Valoris office walls and throughout the community by way of a large scale feedback survey.
“Information was coming in. So, we asked ourselves: ‘Are we of service? Are we helping? Are we sure?’ If we look at the survey, the results are inconsistent. Some people say they receive excellent service, others say otherwise. Some may not agree with the services rendered. The fact was we had to know for sure,” stated Fournier.
When added to the internal investigation, the major gaps that would become the building blocks of Strategic Plan 2018-2021 were finally identified:
- to better empower Valoris employees when faced with change through leadership
- to make Valoris’ structure more efficient
- to prove that the quality of life of the clientele is improved
The 2018-2021 Strategic Plan – What does it mean for you?
Even though Valoris’ end game remains the same (“to be of service to vulnerable persons”), much of the work the organization will be undertaking to improve is of an intrinsic nature.
As we saw earlier, the latest strategic plan is split in three: clinical performance, organizational efficiency and quality of life for clients.
While the plan is publicly available through the Valoris website, Executive Director Fournier tells us, in her own words, what this means for the community.
“Enhanced clinical performance means we need to re-evaluate the way we train our employees. For instance, mass training (with groups) is on its way out in favour of more focused training based on the actual needs of a client and of the person being trained.”
Valoris’ clientele is indeed filled with unique and elaborate contexts that require a case by case approach. By having the same philosophy applied to employee training, Valoris aims at fostering collective leadership, information exchange and better access to tools.
“Enhanced organizational efficiency means we are reviewing the way things work so everyone can get the information they need much faster. For clients, this means getting answers to questions quicker. Eventually, I’d love to know that a client would never have to hear ‘Let me check with my supervisor’ again.”
One of the first steps undertaken to accomplish this was to establish exactly how much leeway front-line team members have when faced with a decision. For now, changes linked to this practice will be concentrated on staff working with children.
“Finally, ‘enhanced quality of life for clients’ means using the tools we have to know if we are of service or not. If not, they we have a accept the fact that we’ll have to change; to renew and refresh our practices constantly. For an organization this size, it represents a great challenge. One that’ll require a lot of exchange and vigilance.”
It is Valoris’ mission, after all. “To be of service”. What has changed now is the interaction with clients; by getting them more involved in the decision-making process, it reveals if the services rendered were of help or not.
At first glance, such goals may seem obvious. Why wouldn’t we want better performance, efficiency and service? Why does it need to be put on paper; to be said at all?
It’s easy to think this way when seeing a four-year strategic plan as a simple one-pager. The key to understanding its relevance, its raison d’être, is to be aware of what came before and the desired destination.
For an organization with a 400-strong team, having a well-defined direction is both essential and a relief in a world where stats and data are behind-the-scenes rulers.
Throughout the next four years, we will see Valoris bridging the gap between the cold realm of statistics and the warm reality of human services.
“Behind every fact or piece of data, there’s someone’s life story. That’s the important part. These stories need to be told to understand the value of data.”
A bit of extra information
Valoris is a multiservice organization funded by three ministries. Its operating budget for 2017-2018 was of $39.6 million split between five mandates, Child & Family Mental Health, Children Developmental Services, Child Welfare, Gender-Based Violence and Adult Developmental Services.
Valoris’ team is comprised of over 400 individuals and its payroll is approximately $22 million. Over 80% of Valoris’ employees reside in Prescott and Russell.
More information on Valoris and their latest Strategic Plan can be found on the organization’s website, at https://www.valorispr.ca/en/.