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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Giving Employees What They Need So They Can Help Others

Generous benefits and a family-like work environment keep workers at Valley Village wanting to stay. The 39-year-old Winnetka-based organization provides residential and day care services for developmentally disabled adults. It has 294 employees and offers full-time workers a benefits package that outshines those of most not for profit organizations, said Valley Village Executive Director Debra Donovan. “We want to make sure they’re comfortable, that the employees’ families are covered for medical and dental to ensure that they (do) not worry about their families’ health when they’re coming to work,” Donovan said. Valley Village’s benefits include health care, dental care, vision care, 403(b) plans, voluntary life and disability insurance, family coverage and credit union membership, Donovan said. Employees receive two weeks of vacation after one year of employment, three weeks of vacation after three years of employment, and several paid holidays. They even receive gas cards for travel. The organization also provides training, weekly team meetings and an employee newsletter. Jenny Daniels Freese, the organization’s director of development, said another thing that makes Valley Village the best place is its tight-knit work community. “Everybody is treated like family,” Freese said. “I think that when you’re sick or when you don’t feel well at most places you’ve ever worked, your boss is going to send you home. But here, your boss is going to take you to the doctor’s (office) themselves.” Freese said the organization’s strong fiscal management policy also keeps her at ease as an employee. “The management team is just so on top of it that everything is paid, everything is insured and everything is taken care of,” Freese said. “We are not worried about our paycheck being held or not coming.” Valley Village operates 17 residential homes and three day care facilities. Live-in care providers stay with the organization for an average of 15 years and executive team members stay for an average of 14.5 years, Donovan said.

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