Friendship 2.0

Friendship 2.0

Some folks are just lucky. 

Winning the lottery. That’s lucky! Having Gisele Bündchen’s genetic makeup is pretty dang lucky too. 

You know what else is lucky? A senior living organization being named Best Employer in their community during a pandemic. That’s got to be luck, right? 

Well, you would just have to ask our clients, Friendship, in Roanoke, Virginia, how they feel about luck. 

While so many providers struggled with this unprecedented health crisis, which was compounded by a staffing nightmare and sprinkled with PR gut punches, Friendship was busy winning awards.

So, what makes Friendship so good at what they do, even during trying times? 

It’s definitely not luck. The answer? A deep connection to their shared values. 

Two years ago, Friendship engaged Drive to help them undergo extensive work on their culture, which included reimagining their mission, vision, and values. 

Friendship was fully convinced that improving their culture was the only way to strengthen, from the inside out, and they really wanted their entire staff involved in the process. Through focus groups; culture assessments; leadership training; and the mission, vision, and values development, Friendship solidified the intentional and strategic nature in which they were shaping their culture.

Arleen Smith, RN, one of Drive’s Culture Consultants, helped Friendship identify the very best values to call their own. Drive’s Culture Assessment revealed the behaviors and values employees want to see in the future. WAY more important than measuring what happened in the past, this peek into the future is incredibly powerful information! From their culture assessment results, Friendship homed in on their sacred short list: accountability, compassion, respectfulness, positivity, and teamwork.

To make very certain they had landed on values their team members would wholeheartedly embrace, Friendship surveyed their employees. A whopping 95% of them said that the organization had selected the correct values! (That’s a higher percentage than dentists that recommend Dentyne gum!!)

Any organization can hang pretty posters on the wall with fancy values. Any organization can list “special” words in the employee handbook. 

To avoid making a grand gesture about empty values, Friendship, with Arleen’s support, determined step-by-step what they needed to do for buy-in and made their expectations very clear. Staff love clear expectations because it takes the guesswork out of decision-making. 

Friendship 2.0

Fast forward two years. The Culture Committee at Friendship determined that the organization had mastered the first set of expected behaviors for each value. They got to work crafting a second set to create the sustainability a great culture thrives on. The initiative named Be That Friend 2.0 was born. All of their employees are now rallying around this new set of behaviors. 

And that’s what it takes, my friend. 

When culture is shaped using an intentional and strategic approach, even a very large group of people learn to work in sync. A cohesive group, unified through values, works more productively, achieves better financial outcomes, and experiences a greater level of fulfilment in their work. Involving team members so intimately in the process of shaping an organization’s culture tells them “you are very important to us.” 

Stephanie Landes, Director of Marketing at Friendship, remarked, “It’s pretty amazing to look back at all that we did and be so thankful that we began this culture work before the pandemic hit.” In times of crisis, a healthy culture is the best sort of guiding North Star. And so it was the case for Friendship. During the pandemic, their engagement improved, their vaccination rate shot through the roof, AND they were winning awards in their community. 

Luck? Nah. Friendship proves that the more intentional you are, the luckier you get with culture. 

Congrats on the accolades, Friendship. Your future is bright. We love being friends with you.

Want to learn more about the kind of culture work we did with Friendship? Click here to book time and see what it’s all about.


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