Behavior Change Institute is the No. 5 small employer in Top Workplaces for 2022.
Description: Behavior Change Institute is an Alamogordo-based behavioral health care agency, specializing in applied behavior analysis therapy for those who have been diagnosed with autism as well as their families. BCI was founded in 2014 by Kathleen Karimi and Joy Pollard. This is the seventh consecutive year that the organization has placed on the Top Workplaces list.
From the organization: “It is our mission to inspire hope and improve the health and well-being of those we serve through an ongoing commitment to excellence in all that we do. We are committed to facilitating, providing and improving access to high-quality treatment options for all communities, even those in the most remote locations.”
From the employees: One employee said they love their job because, “I able to make a difference in the lives of the children that I serve. I love the people that I get to work with because I know that I am valued and appreciated. My team is fantastic and I am able to work to my full potential and also take necessary breaks to avoid burnout.” Another employee said, “I get the support and encouragement to think outside the box, and propose ideas to best service client’s. BCI hears its employees.”
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Behavior Change Institute co-founder Kathleen Karimi, whose comments have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
How has your organization’s culture helped you to succeed during the last year?
“I think that we have worked very hard to reassemble things and kind of get back to where we were pre-COVID. Because COVID disrupted everything we temporarily paused a lot of in-person engagement initiatives, a lot of our in-person community outreach initiatives and now that we are getting out of the woods a bit, we’ve been able to re-engage the community and start to go to in-person community events again, reach out in-person with our community partners and then get our staff together as well, which has felt, really, really great. Our staff has been able to get back out and engage with in-person professional development so going back to conferences, seminars and still doing some online, but not as much, I think that has really been a positive shift for everyone and has really helped address a lot of the just general isolation that I think people were experiencing because of COVID. And then I think just celebrating our resiliency because, we, even prior to COVID, offered telehealth services and integrated telehealth technology into almost every patient’s care. We were really proud of the fact that we were able to really mobilize and continue care for our patients in the best way possible. There were a lot of companies, I think, in our space that had to shut down locations, lay off employees — and we did not lay off a single employee through all the disruptions we faced during COVID.”
How has your concept of supporting their work-life balance changed as their employer?
“So we have always offered remote positions, and that really has allowed us to accommodate people at every stage of life. We have lot of individuals who are employed with us and have young children at home, so even before the pandemic we are proud to be able to offer an infant and child at work program that allows employees to work in some capacities with their children present. Of course, with the pandemic and children being out of school and daycare, we really had to shift our already existing program and expand that even further. And it really became apparent to us how important it was to see every employee as an individual with unique needs and work together to understand where the employee was coming from, what their needs were, and do whatever we possibly could to be a supportive factor and not a stressful factor in an already stressful time. We incorporated some — back in 2020 and have continued it through this year — supplemental paid mental health days. Those are days that we issue a couple times a year, and are flexible, so the employees don’t have to utilize paid time off or sick time if they just need a break.”