Curtis Interviews Chris Thomas About Recruiting In Mental Health

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This episode is part of a TV Series called Restoring Hope with Crosswinds Counseling. Restoring Hope With Crosswinds Counseling can be viewed in the Indianapolis Area on WHMB40 Thursday nights @ 9:30 pm.

Curtis Smith: Chris you have an interesting title, Director of Strategic Initiatives, but I know your focus right now is mainly recruiting. That’s a real challenge given where we are in the world right now, and in the mental health space especially. How are you going about tackling getting people into Crosswinds Counseling?

Chris Thomas: Absolutely, I think just with the environment where we are in the world. People need people. And every organization is looking and needing people right now, and so one of the biggest things that we’re dealing with is really leaning into who we are, and what Crosswinds Counseling is. I think one of the biggest things that we’re doing is calling people who identify with our tenants of culture. One of the coolest things – I think – about us is that we are a faith-based organization and we’re leaning into that. Really what that’s doing is it’s putting – it’s polarizing – it’s putting people who want to be here for what we believe and saying, ‘Man, I am excited about your mission, and where you’re going. That we can have impact in a space that maybe I was frowned upon talking about Christ and my faith.” We’re really calling people to that and that’s been a great recruiting tool. And being able to find people that want to align with us in those areas.

Curtis Smith: I love that you’re not looking at it as a stumbling block or a barrier because some people might look at it that way, but being faith-based – being a Christian organization can be something that really buoys the entire organization, obviously. You mentioned the tenets of culture, which is a document that really describes who Crosswinds is and the foundation of this organization. For those who don’t know it very well or might be hearing about it for the first time, what is the tenets of culture?

Chris Tomas: Yeah. So the tenets of culture is really a framework of what we believe. And not only just what we believe, but backed up with scripture. I think the first time that I read it, I remember thinking, ‘man this is a doctrinal statement,’ and it was so cool to me because it really laid out the practical steps of who we wanted to serve what it looked like, how we thought God wanted us to serve in those areas, and then putting scripture behind it to say, ‘This is where we’re getting these things from.’ Which has really given us a north star to be able to say, ‘This is what we’re about. Who we’re about.’ And really leaning into that.

Curtis Smith: Let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of this. The logistical challenges of recruiting. How are you going about it? How are you structuring the work of finding more people? Finding the right people. Getting them plugged in. You’re doing that in Indianapolis, in Fort Wayne, soon in Ohio. It’s a lot. How are you juggling the logistics? And what does that actually look like to go about finding people in today’s world?

Chris Thomas: Yeah. In being specific. Being specific. Being specific. So a big way, and how that looks is, in those different markets that you talked about of where we’re trying to have people. It’s not just one thing – to have people there. It’s to have the right people there. So it’s us getting specific with local churches and local colleges. The people that we currently have working for us and talking to friends and family. Being specific about what our goals are in those areas. And then really from that, launching our framework of finding people. To be able to just blast something out there – to hope that we get a diamond in the rough. We’re finding that’s not always the best in this case, with Crosswinds. We want to be specific with those people. So really, it’s just getting down to the relationship side of things and finding the right people for the right fit with where we’re going.

Curtis Smith: And how much of a challenge is that? I mean it sounds like for those of us who aren’t in the recruiting space, it sounds like such a challenge given all the things going on over the last couple of years, coming out of a pandemic, and people suffering from mental health issues themselves, and people choosing to either leave the workforce or look for jobs that only allow them to be at home. I mean… it… is how do you get your arms wrapped around, all that.

Chris Thomas: So we can look at it and say it’s problematic which it can be. But in a lot of ways, it has been a blessing of opportunity. So there’s, and unfortunately, there are so many people that need help. But there’s also those that are looking to that call and saying, ‘I want to help. I want to be an ear to listen. I want to be a therapist. Especially after everything we’ve gone through. I want to be boots on the ground, listening and loving people well.’ And so in your question like, ‘Where we’re finding those people and how we’re kind of laying that out,’ really comes back to this idea of a call. We’re reaching out and talking to people and building those relationships, and they’re answering a call. Where God has put it in their heart to say, ‘I want to be here. This is the time for me to be here.’ Even with people leaving the workforce, and from the practical side of that we as an organization are trying to find. Flexibility and different things that go along with that, trying to adapt to how we make it so you as an individual have a work-life balance. How you’re able to have some of those benefits that are great and awesome. And trying to be an all-around well-oiled company.

Curtis Smith: I know that’s a big part of how you attract talent these days. It’s not just here’s the job. Here’s the salary. You’ve got to take the whole person into effect, look at work-life balance. Look at other benefits. So thinking outside of the box has that been eye-opening for you? How you have to craft things, specifically for people and meet, try to meet, all of their needs, not just their employment needs?

Chris Thomas: Absolutely. You think about my value prompt versus yours. You think about just the range of people that we have in our organization. It is a challenge, but [it] has made us better because it has shown us where our weak spots are and where we need to get better. Really looking at the areas of where we can improve. To say, ‘Hey, we missed it here, but we’re doing great here.’ And so it’s really been a challenge, but it’s been good for us because it’s allowed us to grow and to really buckle down with some of the other issues we have going on.

Curtis Smith: We always point people to crosswindscounseling.org/careers, but if someone is watching this and they think they might have a spot at Crosswinds – it might be their next career move. Or they have a friend or a family member they want to point towards Crosswinds. What
other resources should we be pointing out to them today.

Chris Thomas: Yeah. So we have, engagement is key. So through our different social, through online access, through the different things – when you see an interactive post, whether that’s google ads or different things with that. Interact. Interacting with that allows us to gain some of your information so that we can interact with you. If you have questions, starting with the website is a great place. If you just want to talk, call in and ask those questions and [we’d] be more [than] happy to talk to you about what that looks like in joining our team.

Curtis Smith: Wonderful, Chris. Thanks so much for your time today.

Chris Tomas: Absolutely.

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