Who doesn’t like being recognised for a job well done? Almost nobody. At GERATEC we believe in maintaining a company culture where our values are upheld and lived out every day in everything we do; and we believe in and understand the importance of, recognising our employees for the extra mile they walk for our company, our clients and our residents
Our values – RESPECT, COMPASSION, INTEGRITY and INNOVATION have never been more true and valued than in the year 2020. Each year GERATEC celebrates employees that instill and live out our values.
Using our cherished values, we celebrated differently this year by having our awards virtually. Our voting panel had a very tough time to choose the winners of each category as our employees went far and beyond what was expected of them. Here are the testimonials of the employees that received awards this year:
Maralyn Kallis (Nerina Gardens) – FSA
“Is this all I need to do?” is a question often asked by Maralyn when she sees her name on the cleaning schedule. She will always ask if she can help them first with whatever the cooks are busy with and afterwards start cleaning from top to bottom. She is very proud that she is the first one who starts cleaning the floors with a hard broom to make sure the grout looks “white” , as she always aims to do. She has set her goal to do the floor washing every day, even if she is not on cleaning duty. When functions are planned, she is the first to ask if she can assist with decorations, as an opportunity to use her creativity. When an employee is unable to perform a task, you can be sure that Maralyn is next in line to take over. She simply says, “don’t worry I will do it”. She is always willing to take the load upon herself, for the good of the residents and the company.
Lydia Hala (Rusoord) – GA
With 13 years of service at Rusoord, this employee shines through respect for those around her. Her fellow colleague was experiencing a high risk pregnancy. At times when Denise was tired, Lydia would work through her lunch break to make sure Denise’s portion of the work got done. Lydia goes the extra mile on special diets to make sure it is delivered even when th
WINNER: Lydia Hala
Colette De Wet – (Support office) – Auditor/ Relief Manager
Colette started with GERATEC in 2017 as the Food service Manager for Soeterus and has fast become one of our most valued employees. In 2019 she was promoted as the company’s internal auditor and relief manager. Colette is adaptable in all surroundings and holds true to the value of Integrity. Because of her consistency and neutral approach, when requested to investigate certain problems, she does so with nothing but company standards in mind. If something is not near enough to our standards, you can be sure that Colette is implementing a plan to make it exceed standard. Colette is one of those gem employees with the highest ethics and is looked up to by many of her colleagues. Right is right and wrong is wrong. She will fight for the rights of those around her but make no mistake, she is definitely not a softy! Colette was asked to stand in at Robari Lodge in the very beginning when the whole country was still under lockdown and at the time we received news that a few key players at Robari tested positive for Coronavirus. Without hesitation Colette stayed late and took her laptop to facilitate sessions between the employees and support office. She immediately filled the managers role without knowing the site risk assessments, contact tracing or individual interviews. Shortly after more people tested positive and during the following 2 month period many of the employees were absent for extended periods and we could not make use of casual workers in terms of infection protocols. Colette dealt with this in a calm and professional manner. Very few people would have been able to cope with this pressure and demands; but Colette never complained and she excelled in her position to maintain our high standards.
Marie De Koker (Langverwag) – GA
Marie has 14 years of service with GERATEC. Marie is responsible for the dining room’s cleaning and laying of tables. When we have functions to arrange after hours, Marie will always out of her own accord, step in and help with the tables set up and chairs etc. Marie works most of the time through her lunch breaks and in the morning she comes to work a half an hour before her shift, to start on her dining room duties. On top of that Marie has not been absent for the past 14+ years. She starts her commute to work at 06h30 each day and from the time she arrives at Langverwag, she begins her work day. She will also sit at the front desk especially in a crisis and she is always busy busy busy! If a resident is not in the tea lounge when they normally are, Marie will either take their tea to them or go and see why they are not there. She carries residents groceries and helps them with numerous tasks on a daily basis. Marie never hesitates for any extra work. She helped the residents for an entire day, from 9-5, with their fruit festival, moving tables around, cutting fruit and this without taking a tea or lunch break. Marie also helps residents to enjoy their tea at their favourite places and carries the tea around after them with a smile on her face. Her behaviour is honorable and she can be trusted to work diligently.
Colette De Wet – (Support office) – Auditor/ Relief Manager
Elsabe Lewis (Langverwag) – FSA
Elsabe started working for GERATEC in 2017. This GERATEC Angel helps residents in her free time to do their washing and to hang it up for them (sometimes even during her lunch break). It takes a special person, full of kindness and compassion to selflessly serve others the way Elsabe serves our residents.
Elize-September Stokes (Langverwag) – Care worker
Elize has 5 years of service with GERATEC. A little while ago there was no water at Langverwag and the fire department delivered a tank of water. Residents were told that they could fetch water. At her lunchtime Elize took the trolley and delivered water to the residents. She collected buckets from the residents and took water to them on her own. She used her initiative and had compassion for the residents needing to wash their hands, do their dishwashing, toilet flushing etc and did not want them to be without. She is nominated for her responsible and caring nature – never taking her lunch hour for the benefit of the residents she cares for. One particular resident became very ill and he was confused, not eating and just not in a good place. Elize did not leave his side. She spent her tea times and lunch times with him to eat and encouraged him to hydrate. Management often called over the weekend to find out how the resident was doing and Elize always assured management that there was no need to worry as she was with him. Elize sent audio recordings of her and the resident singing hymns/ praises together. With her dedication in helping him out of a very dark place he slowly recovered. His family call him the “comeback kid”.
Elize regularly offers to work extra shifts to make sure the residents have everything they need.
Elize-September Stokes (Langverwag) – Care worker
** Special mention for Deziree Swarts from Langverwag Care who’s recently lost her son.
Deziree Swarts (Langverwag Care) – Enrolled nurse
This is a special mention to a wonderful person with a beautiful heart and a valued employee of 2 years within GERATEC. Deziree Swarts! Dez, you always show passion in your work and lots of love and attention to the residents of Langverwag. Anyone who meets you, will meet the softest and kindest person with love overflowing. The recent times have not been kind but we admire you Dez for the love you show every day. You have a heart of gold and our wishes for you are peace, strength and that you find comfort in memories and through friendships around you.
Melanie Crozier (Support office) – Area Manager
Melanie started with GERATEC in 2008 and was promoted to Area Manager a year and half ago, in 2019. Melanie’s creative juices have definitely added value to all our unit’s special functions, even through the time of lockdown. Through her initiative, the Mandela day Jars of Hope was a great success, where one jar would provide a hearty meal to 4 people. Melanie never seizes to bring innovation and high energy to the team. Melanie goes far and beyond what is expected of her. Her “can-do” attitude is turned into innovative ways of celebrating special functions at her units.
Aletha Hugo (Vergenoegd) – Food service Manager
Aletha has 9 years of loyal service with the company. When we think Jerusalema challenge, we think of Aletha. The Jerusalema challenge which spread like wildfire through GERATEC, was her initiative. She started the challenge with her kitchen team, soon the Huis vergenoegd employees were part of the challenge. They challenged the rest of the unit’s employees and it brought new energy in the company during a difficult time with Covid.
While her residents were in isolation she thought of new ways to lift their spirits. She sent a wordsearch and a quiz to the residents with their takeaway meals and included prizes for the winners. Special Initiative shown during lockdown which lifted heaviness and brought pleasure, enthusiasm and enjoyment.
Over Mother’s day she encouraged the Paarl community and children to make posters for the resident’s and the food presentation over special functions were incredible.
So also is received regular praise for beautiful serving of food especially with special occasions like mother’s day and father’s day and older persons week – snoek braai
WINNER: Aletha Hugo (Vergenoegd) – Food service Manager
Team Helderberg Society For the Aged
All the employees at Helderberg Society for the Aged were asked on very short notice (2 days) to stay on the premises for a full 3 week lockdown period when the covid pandemic started in SA. It was an emotional time as all in the country was put on hold and everyone had to stay home. According to the ide Marie, Area Manager she was expecting that it was going to be difficult to convince our employees to do this- to give up their homes and families, but when our Ide Marie phoned Joggie (the Manager of Vonke), and Lizal, (Assistant Manager at Silver Oaks), our employees who were able to put their hands up. They had already made all their arrangements. We were left in awe by their commitment and positive influence.
For example, at Vonke the normal team number is +-30 preparing meals for +-350 people daily. During this period they were only 9 employees, but had to prepare almost 150 additional meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner for other team members staying on site plus they had to supply various stock to the kiosk as no one could leave the premises to go to the shops. What made this more difficult was that the employees had also had to eat. So between the 3 normal breakfast, lunch, dinner servings instead of taking a short break and having time to clean and prepare for the next meal, they now had to serve the additional 150 meals to the on-site team and had to be ready for the next service-with dinner only finishing around 8 pm in the evenings.
This meant they almost never had time to rest as there were no “fresh shifts” to give them a break. Initially there were a few uncomfortable nights of sleep, but that was sorted and the Society employees and residents started to help with chores to make everything easier. Throughout this period the whole team remained very positive as they had a goal to keep the residents sheltered from the virus for 21 days.
And when they were asked to stay on longer they agreed without hesitation; although they were physically exhausted and were missing their families and loved ones. Many have small children who were missing their mums. And while many would have become distraught, they nevertheless remained positive.
The 1st time we were able to give them the support of a few fresh employees” was 4-6 weeks later at the various sites. Even then they had to work a single shift, every single day keeping in mind the extra workload.
Apart from the challenge of getting through the normal workload; this group on various occasions went even further and wanted to spoil the residents with roast chicken on Sundays, but since the numbers were far beyond our kitchens’ oven capacity for this they made a plan. They got up in the dark on cold winter mornings to start fires and braai for the residents.
At Robari, literally the whole team was on site as from the 1st July the full team was on site delivering full services. This team also excelled when they had a large number of employees absent due to Covid symptoms and had to keep delivering services with minimum employees on site.
From Food service management – This year I want to give my own team a nomination. With this team I will go to war with, not only because they are unbelievably close but their compassion and their care for their fellow workers as well as residents , stuns me everyday. I will give some examples;
Lina Ontong, one of our FSA’s, turned 50 last September. Lina is always willing to help everywhere. She is a single mother of an adult son. Her colleagues wanted to spoil her with a little party. We decided to use the dining room, some gave money, others brought tarts and snacks from home and Lina got her party.
Andries looks after his niece and it was time for her matric farewell. The day of the matric farewell, he heard that the lady who would make snacks for them could not anymore. That day they discovered that Andries was still at work and when they spoke to him they found out what happened. They decided that she needs a proper matric farewell. and collected money amongst them, some baked and she had a fantastic matric farewell. Andries was proud and bragged after with photos.
Lizette and Mrs R get along very well and she helps Lizette in the dining room and always says that Lizette is the only one who understands her. Lizette decided to buy a dress for Mrs R out of her own pocket for a “spoil day”. The resident was very happy and immediately put it on.
Despite so many hurdles that my team had to overcome, they are at work every day \with a smile and have time to do \things for other people despite their own challenges. I salute them (pics below).
Team Helderberg Society For the Aged
Team Langverwag Care
Care Manager: Due to the fact that we were unable to have any service providers in the home, Care took on a new meaning. These ladies positively took on tasks such as the checking of groceries, not just for residents that we cared for but those whose children used to keep their grocery cupboards stocked up. Cupboards were cleaned and we had to work smartly in order to achieve this so standardized lists were made and Monday became shopping list days. Dez invested in a hot hair brush for those with shorter hair, while Meagan bought a pair of hairdresser scissors. Hair washing and blow drying was often done in tea times. Because the dining room was closed, meals were left in front of the flats and the carers would then go around systematically from floor to floor assisting with the warming of food, setting of tables and making sure that meals were enjoyed.
While many were positive there were some residents who took strain, not their usual selves, refusing to leave their flats. The carers would make sure that they stayed in touch with their families, with calls and facetime video calls.
We not only went through lockdown but daily power cuts as well, which meant that on occasion the kitchen would then run late with the handing out of meals. They have gone the extra mile, giving up tea times and lunch times and the best of all is that through all of this while there were tears, there was often much support for each other and laughter.
Home management – During the lockdown period the housekeeping personnel of Silwerkruin were under tremendous pressure. Not only did they have to work on a single shift and perform their usual cleaning and deep cleaning tasks, but the whole building had to be sanitized every hour which made the workload very difficult. 1 cleaner was responsible every day for 2 corridors of about 28 rooms, 6 toilets, 4 bathrooms, 2 small kitchens and 2 lounges, the foyer, offices and extra lounges. Then there were times when employees fell sick, meaning fewer employees on shift. I really take my hat off to all the cleaners from Silwerkruin you are a team to go to war with. Not even Covid19 could get you down.
Thank you so much for the amazing way you handled it. I am really very proud of you and have incredible appreciation for you. GERATEC can be proud of you. All this was done every day with a smile and a jump in their step. Thank you very much
Food service manager – What an incredible time to get through with the team from Silwerkruin. For the entire lockdown. Every Wednesday was braai day and residents came to help braai. There was music and dancing while food was prepared. Special functions were never just an ordinary day. Residents’ children sent video messages and it was shown to everyone on Mother’s Day. There was not a dry eye in the church hall. All this just to make the lockdown period a little easier and more tolerable. Every night an extra snack was made with the help of the residents. Every day the employees came to work with a plan of how to serve meals and drinks with color and love. Every Tuesday our building was sanitized and we took each resident outside for 2-3 hours to enjoy the sunlight and lunch. When it rained everyone was taken to different areas in the building and their lunch was served there. Some days we had too few teams and the work just continued with kindness and helpfulness. GERATEC values are really part of each and every one of you and you strive to live them. Thank you so much for your hard work and the spirit with which you went through this difficult time and seized the moment and made the best of it.
** Special mention for the Rusoord team who stood together in support of each other after the passing of Susan Dierdericks:
At the end of March our country went into lockdown because of the Covid19 pandemic. As an added precaution the teams only worked single shifts (meaning each day only half of the full complement of team would work). For 4 months the workload increased per shift to double with additional tasks also added like sanitising of touch areas. A full team per shift would be 14 employees and on numerous occasions the team managed to get through the day with 10 employees working in all the areas in the home to ensure no area was left unattended. The kitchen employees assisted with the distributing of meals whilst still completing all of their tasks. It took a tremendous effort for the team to get through this time, especially after a loved colleague and friend was diagnosed with Covid and sadly passed away (we will always remember her with love). The team relied on each other for strength and comfort.
We are so honored and proud of each and every one of our employees who were nominated and extend a huge congratulations to the above mentioned employees as 2020 Ambassadors to our Values!