By Jennifer Larson, contributor
January 28, 2011 - Each year, Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list highlights the accomplishments of organizations who have found ways to successfully recruit, satisfy and retain employees.
Health Care Providers on 100 Best Companies to Work For* List
19. The Methodist Hospital System – Houston, Texas
36. Southern Ohio Medical Center – Portsmouth, Ohio
37. Scripps Health – San Diego, Calif.
42. Baptist Health South Florida – Coral Gables, Fla.
54. Atlantic Health – Morristown, N.J.
60. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Atlanta, Ga.
61. Mayo Clinic – Rochester, Minn.
62. OhioHealth – Columbus, Ohio
75. Arkansas Children’s Hospital – Little Rock, Ark.
80. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital - Memphis, Tenn.
88. Meridian Health – Neptune, N.J.
91. The Everett Clinic – Everett, Wash.
*Rankings of hospitals and health systems, with their headquarters, from Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2011; details in Feb. 7, 2011 issue.
The 2011 list includes 12 health care providers (hospitals, clinics, hospital systems and networks) among the elite, and they happen to have several things in common. Employee turnover tends to be low, employee benefits are highly rated and the organizational culture emphasizes appreciation and accountability.
Carole Hackett, VP of human resources for the Methodist Health System, says strong corporate values, shared governance and flexible work options help keep their nurses happy and their turnover rate low.
The highest ranked health provider is The Methodist Health System in Houston, Texas, which came in at 19 overall. The hospital was cited for its low turnover; in fact, 17 percent of its workforce has logged 15 years or more of service.
And it’s not an accident that people want to stay there once they get hired, said Carole Hackett, BSN, vice president of human resources for Methodist.
The system has established certain values that guide everything; the acronym I-CARE outlines the values, which are Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence. Each year, the entire workforce recommits to those values. So the employees know what is expected of them, and they develop a deep sense of purpose in knowing they have a vital role to play, Hackett said.
“At Methodist, we really live these values. It’s integrated into every aspect of our work,” she said. “It gives us a foundation and a community and a mutual focus.”
Not only that, but employees are rewarded for exemplifying those virtues. Twice a year, Methodist honors about 20 employees with either a check for $1,000 or paid time off.
The hospital system, which is designated a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, was also ranked number 10 on the list for work–life balance.
Work–life balance is often cited as a problem when it comes to nurse burnout, but Methodist has worked hard to find ways to combat it. Through the shared governance agreement, the nurses are able to self-schedule, and they have a wide array of flexible shifts from which to choose. There is even a seasonal shift option which is attractive to nurses who may have children home from school in the summer.
“Because we offer so many options and we have a pretty low turnover rate, we are able to accommodate the different schedules and preferences,” Hackett said. “We are always trying to think outside the box to help our nursing staff.”
Baptist Health South Florida is also working on expanding its flexible work options for its nursing staff as one way to continue making its employees happy. Baptist, which is based in Coral Gables, Fla., was ranked 42 on the Fortune list for 2011, and has appeared on the list 11 times.
Lillian LeBlanc, assistant VP for human resources at Baptist Health South Florida, says they concentrate on issues important to their nurses and other employees, including some generous childcare benefits.
“We try to keep our finger on the pulse of the issues that would be most concerning to all of our employees, but certainly of our RNs,” said Lillian LeBlanc, assistant vice president for human resources strategy and culture for Baptist.
Baptist also appeared on the list of 10 companies with the best child care benefits. Fortune noted that Baptist had one of the lowest monthly rates for on-site child care. According to LeBlanc, child care has always been a priority for Baptist, which began offering on-site care for employees in the 1960s.
The system also offers an unusual child care benefit that allows employees to call a trained caregiver to come to their homes to provide subsidized emergency care. Additionally, employees’ children can attend a child care center operated by a partner organization at a very low hourly rate.
“By offering this benefit, it’s a way for employees to be able to come to work when they’d otherwise have to stay home,” said LeBlanc, noting that the employees get to save their vacation time.
At the same time, the hospital doesn’t have to scramble to find someone to cover those shifts, and the patients benefit from having caregivers who are not distracted by worrying about finding care for their children or other dependents.
“Happy employees make a difference,” she said.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., made its first appearance on Fortune’s list this year, coming in at number 80.
Like the other hospitals mentioned, St. Jude puts considerable effort into recognizing its nurses for the jobs they do. The hospital leadership also makes concerted efforts to listen to the employees and hear both their concerns and their ideas—and to let employees know that they are valued. Also, because employees have expressed a desire for more programs that foster camaraderie, some new programs have been established to do just that.
The result is that the turnover is correspondingly low, noted Mary Anna Quinn, senior vice president of support operations and human resources.
But more than anything, people work at St. Jude because they really believe in the hospital’s mission to advance cures for pediatric catastrophic illnesses through treatment and research, Quinn said. They want to make a difference.
“It’s the mission,” she said. “There’s no question about it.”
Fortune partnered with the Great Place to Work Institute to conduct the surveys that were used in compiling the list.
© 2011. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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