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Kai S., Health, Safety, & Wellness Specialist, is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Award for Accountability – one of the highest honours within Circle of Care’s employee recognition program, Champions of Care.

Supporting a team with care

Kai’s position, as a Health, Safety, and Wellness Specialist is more important now than ever before. With the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions, her duties to ensure employees’ safety have increased.

“I spend a lot of time providing guidance related to COVID-19 exposures and testing, speaking to employees about health and safety concerns, ensuring PPE protocols are being followed and working with other departments to ensure we are mitigating the spread of COVID-19,” she says.

But, becoming a Health, Safety, and Wellness Specialist was not originally in Kai’s career plan. After completing her University Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, Kai planned to pursue a career as a Registered Dietitian. She changed paths after witnessing a loved one become negatively impacted by an injury and illness. Kai realized the importance of promoting healthy lifestyles, health education, and behavioural changes. This realization ultimately led Kai to her current position.

“It made me appreciate the importance of health care, and in particular, the role community care can play in promoting independence as individuals overcome adverse health impacts,” she says. “That led me to take a post-graduate program in Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion.”

When Kai first arrived at Circle of Care in 2019, her day consisted of data collection and consulting with employees about their sick leaves related to an illness or injury. This helped her understand the employees’ needs. Now, her day consists of following up on employee health concerns, setting up return to work calls, following up with WSIB, creating new policies along with reviewing existing policies, and creating content for employee communications.

Putting others first

Over the years, Kai has demonstrated and shown accountability, kindness, and a positive spirit. Even with the extra duties, she still puts others first, especially her team.

Since Kai started working with us, I always receive immediate responses to my emails, and she always resolves any problem. Now we dont need to be worried about problems coming up. We always feel that we’re in good hands because of Kai,” says Julia, a colleague at Circle of Care.

Kai often works closely with Julia and other Service Coordinators to support the Personal Support Workers (PSWs) by following-up on an illness or injury, as well as discussing modified duties, coordinating return-to-work, and confirming scheduling details.

“My favourite part of my job is being able to help my colleagues, because many play a vital role in the community by providing care to our clients, and many of them are passionate about the work they do,” she says. “Even though I am not involved in the service delivery, it is meaningful for me to support our employees who are directly involved in client care and service delivery.”

As a Health, Safety, and Wellness Specialist, Kai relies upon two important skills.

“The most common skills I rely on are time management and empathy,” she says. “With that, I aim to do my job well and work as a team player to resolve problems, I hope to make the job tasks of my colleagues and teams a little bit easier.”

Celebrated for her contributions to accountability

In June 2021, Kai was presented the Award for Accountability. This award is given to an employee who is trusted by many, helps provide a better quality of life, and showcases integrity and transparency in their role. She was nominated for this award by her colleagues.

“It makes me feel good and hopeful that I’ve made some positive contributions to Circle of Care, especially in the areas of health, safety, and wellness, because these areas have a direct impact on our workplace culture and the experience of our employees,” says Kai.