By Derek Fenwick

Senior Director of Human Resources

In the last Insider, we looked at the difference between manager and non-manager perspectives on our recent employee survey. Today I’ll share some employee survey insights about the difference in the therapist vs. assistant vs. non-clinician experience.

There are five questions that stood out in terms of the therapist vs assistant perspective. There were no questions in the survey where the non-clinician experience scores were significantly different.





First, it’s important to remember that for all of these questions, we’re generally working from a place of strength, where anywhere from 7-9 in 10 employees agree or strongly agree with the question. From here, though, we can read between the lines for the real story.

To me, the real story here is about engagement. I see a trend of our assistants feeling relatively less connected, less satisfied, and less heard. As for why, I don’t immediately know. But now that we’ve noticed, it’s important that we now reflect and seek to understand.

This brings to mind a conversation I had with one therapist assistant several years ago. He told me that he did not feel the term “therapist” was inclusive of him. He said, “I am not a therapist. I am a therapist assistant, and I am proud of that.” This struck me because it’s true – so often we generalize our language for our clinical staff, calling them “therapists.”

Look no further than our popular Shining Star award, which is officially named the “Shining Star Therapist Award.” I am certain that this award was never intended to specifically recognize therapists vs. assistants, yet it might not feel that way if you’re a therapist assistant.

It begs another question too – How are we to recognize the accomplishments of our non-clinician employees? Is this the right place for that? And if not, where should we go to do that?

Details matter and the language we use is important. It’s common that the experience of the majority can overshadow that of the minority, often in an unintended way. But this reflection and correction is the exact work we need to do if we are to reaffirm ourselves as a great place to work for everyone.

As for next steps, I invite you to pay special attention to the experiences of our less common employee groups. Do the words you use include them? Do you know their unique needs? If not, make space to ask them and hear them. As an organization, we will continue to lean into this work as well, as we work to close the experience gaps on these and other survey questions.

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