Top Workplaces Leadership Award - Large Company
Charyl Schroeder became CEO of Interim HealthCare of the Upstate in 2016 after serving as vice president and co-owner alongside her husband, Ray Schroeder, who founded the company in 1979. The locally owned and operated service provider offers home health, hospice and personal care and has 471 employees across two locations in Greenville and Easley.
Charyl Schroeder says the purpose at Interim HealthCare is delivering “high-quality patient care in the home with integrity,” and employees say Schroeder embodies integrity each day. Ranked No. 3 overall on our list of Top Workplaces, the company earned a special designation for leadership based on standout scores for employee responses to specific survey statements. Employees cited Schroeder for her character, confidence, transparency and “open door” policies, as well as her knowledge and fairness. Here, Schroeder discusses her leadership style and how it relates to her company's growth and mission.
What is the most important aspect of leadership?
You have to believe in what you are doing. The purpose really does matter, and if you don’t have a purpose for what you are doing individually, it’s hard to convey that and bring people along. It’s also very important to listen to people, so you can hear the needs of all of our employees. Listening is very important, and planning and execution are critical.
What is your strength as a leader?
I come from a big family, and it’s important to be humble as a leader - that’s just one piece of the pie. When you come from a big family, that happens naturally. Hopefully, I put the needs of our team first. As I’ve gotten older, I have definitely realized that one person doesn’t have all of the answers. I rely on my team leaders to talk to people, find out what is going on and bring forward what their needs are. We’re a very policy-driven company, and very regulated, so we have to make sure we have processes in place to address everything.
What leadership skills did you have to work on?
Definitely learning to soften how we approach getting things done, so it’s clear we’ve developed a plan based on input from everyone. It doesn’t work to say, ‘I decided.’ It is “We decided.’
Did you have a mentor to guide you?
I had a great mentor in my husband. He has always lived his life for making other people’s lives better, so that was a huge help.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your leadership?
We spent an unbelievable number of hours even though we didn’t have one Covid-19 patient on our census. We spent countless hours developing policies and processes and anticipating every scenario. That made it much better.
Now everyone is working from home unless they absolutely have to come in, everyone is using secure video conferencing. It’s not the way we want it to be, but we are doing a lot and the communication is good. We have not had to furlough anyone.
Besides leadership, what makes Interim a top workplace?
Our culture, our philosophy, our mission - that’s what drives us. We have a wow culture, and we really mean it - our desire is that every interaction we have with anyone - employee, patient, vendor - we leave that person better, and they are left saying, “Wow.” And we embody our mission: dedicated to honoring God through the enrichment of human life.
Is there a book you recommend for those looking to learn about leadership?
I was given “Excellence Wins” by Horst Schulze by a board member. It’s about customer service standards from the expert for Ritz-Carlton, and it embodies who we are. It speaks our language. Then of course the Bible, and my husband did a lot with Steven Covey and the Seven Habits.
I think more time should be spent understanding what makes great leaders and what leadership is. I don’t think it’s a personality - it’s character traits. Leaders may have different personalities, but they have certain character traits that come through. I think it gets back to having a purpose.