by Emily Olsen

Care Team. Taking care of those who take care of us

“A culture of support is about creating understanding, which leads to empathy.”

– Eric Army, Signal Works Founder

Signal Works’ people-first philosophy extends beyond creating projects that function well for those who live, work and play in those structures. It’s about designing a culture that supports individuals facing hardship, applauds those who go above and beyond for their community, and celebrates the moments that make life thrilling. 

To codify a supportive culture that recognizes the humanity of staff, colleagues and members of the community, Signal Works developed a dedicated Care Team. Care Team’s role is threefold: 

  • It strengthens the community of Providence through volunteer days (like this one on the Woonasquatucket River) and quarterly donations
  • It shows appreciation for members of the company’s business network through gifts, support and celebrations
  • It supports Signal Works staff and their families 

Kelsey Ling, who heads Care Team, says, “Everything Care Team does feeds into Signal Works’ core values of putting people first and taking action with purpose.”  

Supporting staff members currently is Care Team’s biggest job because it’s continuous. But Ling emphasizes that the team doesn’t assume what type of support would be helpful. “When a staff member is facing a major life event, such as a death in the family or a new baby, it’s a given that we’ll support them schedule-wise,” Ling says. “But we also ask our staff members what kind of help they would find most useful. In the past we’ve given donations to a cause, offered a meal or sent flowers.” 

Signal Works also has embraced the post-pandemic emphasis on mental health.  Ling says, “We recently implemented an employee assistance program (EAP) that allows staff members to seek anonymous, confidential mental health support through counseling.” The EAP is nondenominational, but Signal Works also offers confidential support through a chaplain system for staff members who prefer the counsel of a religious figure.

Signal Works staff members join Care Team not only to support their colleagues and community, but for personal growth. “We’re trying to support the development of the whole person,” Ling says. “Care Team helps people grow to meet their own goals.” 

One of those goals could be leadership. Dan Niederman, Business Director at Signal Works says, “We ask non-managers who are interested in leadership roles in the company to lead Care Team because it’s a low-risk, low-stress education in management. It also allows us to mentor future company leaders and teach them how to view everything through Signal Works’ values.”

“I have a personal interest in Signal Works’ values,” Ling says. “That’s part of the reason I got into architecture. I’ve always had an interest in humanitarian architecture, but had trouble picturing how it would work as a career path. But Signal Works speaks to that part of me. It helps its community through traditional projects, of course, but that can only go so far. What’s special about our organization and Care Team is that it allows us to really go the extra mile to build relationships and support those who support us.” 

We want to hear from you! How does your organization support its staff members? Let us know by emailing us at hello@signalworksarchitecture.com.