Clearbrook finds success after rebuilding itself from the inside out

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Founded in Arlington Heights, IL, in 1955, Clearbrook is a human service agency that helps adults and children with disabilities. Clearbrook employs almost 900 employees, with over 70% minorities, and serves over 3,000 clients. It offers holistic services at over 40 facilities throughout the Chicagoland area and the state of Illinois.

In the human service industry, high turnover rates and decreasing wages are the norm, due to decreased government funding. At one point, this was also the case with Clearbook. However, under new management in 1996, the company began rebuilding itself from the inside out. Management worked hard to open what had previously been a very closed culture inside the office. It also strengthened leadership and management practices, set higher performance standards, and made a substantial investment in employee development. Now Clearbrook has diversified its revenue sources and has cultivated a professional, loyal, highly trained workforce–without being able to pay employees top-notch wages.

Clearbrook implemented a non-hierarchical management system, with nearly 80% of staff working directly with clients. Employees can earn a merit wage increase on an annual basis. The company also offers on-site training, staff job shadowing, help with tuition, and DVDs/videos and webinars to help employees stay up-to-date on patient care.

“…Clearbrook maintains a solid statewide reputation for consistently delivering high quality care to children and adults with developmental disabilities. I know the primary reason we are able to accomplish our goals – year in and year out – is because of our professional, loyal and well-trained workforce.”–Carl La Mell, President

Much of Clearbrook’s success is due to its dynamic, team-based open culture, enlightened management practices, employee development and innovative approaches to recruiting and retaining its production workforce. The Hitachi Foundation, a Green Plus partner, has helped publicize Clearbrook’s efforts and has helped make it a leading employer in the industry. For more information about the positive workplace environment and workers’ benefits, click here.

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Amanda is a current MA student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her areas of expertise are social media and marketing and new/digital media. She's also interested in innovative marketing techniques for nonprofits.
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