2019 Teams and Initiatives of the Day

Throughout Health Care Human Resources Week, March 10-16, 2019, ASHHRA recognized exemplary teamwork and valuable initiatives in the health care HR field.


Team of the Day: South Lake Hospital
Clermont, Fla.

South Lake Hospital

The South Lake Hospital Human Resources team is comprised of ten team members. What makes them mighty is their ability to partner with one another for initiatives and projects. Many of them have worked together for years and bring a wealth of knowledge not only about human resources, but also South Lake Hospital history. They go above and beyond getting to know our team members and welcoming them to the South Lake Hospital family. This team can make the most complex projects appear easy. More importantly, they always place the team members need as their number one priority. They are a shining example of what human resources should be and represent our organization well.

Recently, this team was responsible for rolling out new team member ID badges across our organization. They completed the task for 1,600 team members, 200-plus volunteers and physicians. They adjusted their schedules and personal lives to accommodate our night team members. They completed this project in about 50 days.

This team leads our Christmas giving campaign. This year, we coordinated and delivered wrapped toys from our team members to over 60 children in our local community. We had over 300 gifts to be delivered which included 7-8 bicycles, a drum set, skateboards, etc. But they did not stop there! They stuffed 10+ Christmas stockings for the children of these families. Their compassion for not only our team members but our community is second to none.


Initiative of the Day: "We CARE" Customer Service Initiative - Bakerfield Family Medical Center
Bakersfield, Calif.

We CARE...Where caring comes to life! This customer service initiative includes new telephone scripts encouraging warm telephone transfers, monthly certificates for getting caught caring and "I received great care" lapel pins for patients that feel like the employees went above and beyond. The initiative also provides CARE buddies for new employees. CARE buddies show them the ropes in the first 90 days and advise on customer service. Bakersfield builds its appreciation week around the program; they even vote for a King and Queen of CARE.

As a result of this initiative, call center calls have decreased by 500-1000 per month and staff turnover went down by five percent. Additionally, staff engagement increased by 100 percent (they had no customer service program that required any interaction in the past). Job behaviors have been corrected in employees that had challenges prior to this training, and membership has increased ever so slightly. Finally, provider/staff complaints coming through the call center have decreased. They were receiving about three a month on staff model providers; now, they might get five a year.

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Team of the Day: Capital Medical Center Human Resources
Olympia, Wash.

Capital Medical Center Human Resources Olympia, Wash.

The team of James Glade (Director), Jessica Steinebach (Coordinator) and Michelle Butler (Generalist) contributes to the organization and the health care HR community in countless ways. The team has been in place as a unit for a little over a year, and in that time, it has contributed to a positive, effective and family-strong organizational culture. The team produces and oversees biweekly orientation, the hospital volunteer program and the ever-popular Employee Activities Committee.

Through its work, the prospective and current 650-plus team members are on the forefront of the team's mind each and every day. The team persists in its search for candidates that are examples of what we call "The Capital Advantage" - those who demonstrate our mission, vision and values that set us apart from the rest. Leaders of our 107-bed hospital appreciate the team's friendly attitude and availability when asked to drop everything for any particular issue. No appointment? No problem! The team provides attention the moment it's needed.

"What we appreciate most of our team is its focus on the human element of our well-loved hospital," says Capital's Marketing Coordinator Tim Farley. "Whenever a need arises, our team members James, Jessica and Michelle shift focus to squarely rest on the issue at hand." A walk-in question, an email inquiry, a phone call within two rings: no matter the issue, undivided attention will be given. All three are active, engaged participants within our Employee Activities Committee, which boosts morale by offering events like Jeans Day Fridays, Nurses Week, the Holiday gala and more.

Perhaps the team's best attribute is its dedication to service. A mantra employed at Capital Medical Center is showing care and service to "every patient, every encounter, every time". Our HR team lives this saying every day in the service provided to each member of the Capital family each and every day.

"We couldn't be more proud and appreciative of our Team of the Day during this National Health Care HR Week."


Initiative of the Day: "Recruiter and Hiring Leader Partnership" - Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Charleston, S.C.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare

Roper St. Francis Healthcare is a non-profit system in Charleston, S.C. with 5,400 teammates. Like other recruitment teams, the Roper St. Francis Healthcare team is regularly away from the office for career events, speaking engagements, for medical reasons and personal time off. During such absences, the team identified a deficiency in their ability to ensure customer service consistency. Over the past several years, the recruiters’ and hiring leaders’ relationship has evolved into a partnership focused on best-practice engagement in selecting top talent. The knowledge base has grown exponentially beyond a basic department and job description to include the culture of the respective department, demands of the role, preferences of the hiring leader and specific interviewing details, which vary from position to position.

Since covering for a teammate had developed into more than just the assignment of general tasks, the need for a knowledge-sharing communication tool was realized. Since the evolved partnership between the recruiter and hiring leader had proven effective in meeting the talent needs of the organization on a more tailored level, the addition of this coverage template tool further alleviated leaders’ concerns that his/her needs may not be fully realized if his/her specific recruiter was unavailable.

The impact of this idea went beyond assuring basic coverage of duties and provides the hiring leaders with assurance that their talent acquisition needs are being met with the same priority regardless of which team member is covering for his/her specific recruiter. The process further ensures that an applicant’s experience is seamless to include a simple introduction, explanation and guarantee of the continuation of the excellent experience provided thus far.

The greatest impact has been realized by the recruiters themselves. While the team has always worked together effectively, this defined process elevated the assurance for the recruiter on leave that all duties are covered with the same level of attention and service to leaders and applicants alike, and without any added worry of the recruiter returning to a heavier than usual workload. The clear set of expectations allows our high-performing team of seven recruiters and two support roles to have a distinct understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities in the process, as well as access to real-time coverage plans. Overall, it was a process improvement that had beneficial impact for all involved in the talent acquisition continuum.

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Team of the Day: AdventHealth Talent Acquisition
Orlando, Fla.

AdventHealth Talent Acquisition

AdventHealth is a centralized talent acquisition (TA) team that services over 26 acute care hospitals, over 50 clinics and long term care/rehab facilities. This team includes TA recruiters, talent sourcers and preboarding specialists, international recruitment and data analytics.

This team prides itself in operating at Top Quartile benchmark numbers at all levels. This ensures its employees and patients are getting the best service possible. In 2018, the TA team won many awards that focus on its commitment to quality and customer service. One award, the CANDE (a candidate experience award), is given out to any organization who receives high marks through a candidate survey. The TA team also received awards from Lean Human Capital for receiving high scores in service from their hiring managers, hired candidates and non-hired candidates.

The team is also committed to the community by volunteering for mission-driven organizations in the Orlando area. They are always willing to help each other meet their goals whether that's through one-on-one coaching or just lending a hand. Their slogan was "We are Stronger Together." "We all recognize it is not an individual that makes the team successful," says Director of Talent Acquisition Cathy Henesey, "It is all of us working together to make us stronger than if we were working apart." This team hired and processed over 22,500 employees across nine states. "We are so proud of the hard work they do."

Initiative of the Day: "Expanding Horizons" - Anne Arundel Medical Center
Annapolis, Md.

Anne Arundel Medical Center

Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) in Annapolis Maryland, strives to be the best place to work in health care. They recognized that if they wanted to recruit and retain the best talent, they needed to support their employees in all aspects of their lives. In 2016, AAMC developed the Expanding Horizons program to place focused attention to assist entry level staff achieve high wellbeing. Expanding Horizons uses a multi-pronged approach to help entry level staff grow within the health system that includes access to technology, opportunities for internal development and promotion as well as career coaching, mentoring and job shadow opportunities. The hospital and the Auxiliary joined forces to introduce a special scholarship program designed for entry level staff without degrees. This program has had a profound impact on our organization.

The competitive scholarship program helps employees earn a degree or certificate for a middle-skilled job, allowing staff to go to school full-time, work part-time and be paid full-time while in school. Thirty employees have participated in the scholarship program and upon graduation experienced between 25-30 percent increase in pay. Several have gone back for additional schooling and obtained further promotions. Our first-year turnover has decreased by 28 percent.

In addition, AAMC moved its minimum starting wage from $10 to $15 per hour over three years. As of January, 2019, 100 percent of AAMC employees earn $15 per hour or more. The increased wages allows entry level staff have greater economic security, and feel better about being able to care for their loved ones. It enhanced AAMC's ability to recruit experienced staff and staff who want to make health care a career. Since the adoption of the $15 minimum wage, the applicant flow has increased threefold.

Over the past two years, AAMC has conducted internal pulse surveys to track employee engagement and wellbeing with overall improvement. In 2018, AAMC was listed as one of the best places to work in the Baltimore area.

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Team of the Day: Physicians Affiliate Group of NY (PAGNY)
New York, N.Y.

Physicians Affiliate Group of NY (PAGNY)

This team was nominated because of their resilience and commitment to patient care. The Harlem, NYC-based PAGNY is one of the largest physician group in the Northeast, managing the HR and payroll needs of approximately 3,500 employees. With the challenges associated with the recruitment of physicians and clinical staff, PAGNY had to rebalance its position as a major physician group as well as protect its business needs, employees and other stakeholders. Through it all, the HR team was at the core of the transformation. They work together across six acute care hospitals to meet the needs of a diverse employee population. This HR team promotes an environment of trust and respect for each other’s differences.

The team strives to develop relationships by seeking input from staff and anyone affected by PAGNY’s decisions and policies. Each person on the team sees him or herself as an extension of the patient care team. They work diligently to remove potential HR-related stressors, thereby, allowing the caregiver team to function more effectively and efficiently. The team understands that they too play a role in patient safety and the reduction of potential errors. Their commitment to quality of care and patient safety is remarkable. 

The HR team has delivered tangible results that have contributed to PAGNY’s overall success and quality of care. Three years ago, the team on-boarded 700 employees within the NYC Correctional Health System in record time. Approximately one year later, HR team helped to transition to a new payroll system and provided initial and ongoing training to all of its employees without any major disruptions to employees.   

This team constantly delivers.

Initiative of the Day: "The Culture of Wellness" - Magnolia Regional Health Center
Corinth, Ms.

Magnolia Regional Health Center

Establishing a culture of wellness was a strategic differentiator that began in 2018. Each month, teams are responsible for covering the entire month with The Culture of Wellness Activities focused around four dimensions of wellness: physical, mental, social and financial. The idea behind this was to address all aspects of wellness impacting employees personally which ultimately impacted their ability to work to the best of their ability.

Since its inception, the organization has lost approximately 1,200 pounds in biggest loser competitions. They have offered extreme couponing classes and retirement planning seminars, implemented Dave Ramsey's computer-based learning system, provided a series of classes on forgiveness and dealing with grief and loss, increased suicide awareness, celebrated mental health day and red heart day, and increased participation in our wellness center by 174 percent currently with over 700 members. In addition, employees have participated in a scavenger hunt while learning about the campus, raised $15,000 for LeBonheur Children's Hospital, selected and celebrated our employee of the year, and so many more activities.

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Team of the Day: Jackson Health System
Miami, Fla.

Jackson Health System, Miami, Fla.

The human resources team at Jackson has been leading the way through cultural transformation for the past two years. They have made a significant shift to closely align to operations and have been part of solving critical needs to move Jackson forward as it starts its next century in serving the residents of Miami-Dade County as the public, safety-net health system. This team is highly engaged and has a "do-whatever-it-takes" mindset.

Jackson realigned the HR team to a business partner model in 2016, which was the turning point for how it changed its focus from a back-office service provider to a driver of people strategy, aligned to business needs. Since that shift, this team has had many wins including:

These wins, along with many others, resulted in our best employee engagement survey in decades. Our employees are ready for more and see it as a positive step forward for Jackson. 


Initiative of the Day: "Lunch Book Club" – Covenant Woods
Mechanicsville, Va.

The Covenant Woods HR team had a lunch book club reviewing the HR practices book, Repurposing HR from a Cost Center to a Business Accelerator. After reading this book, the team restructured the department so that each specialist could also be a recruiter to gain more overall HR experience.

This restructuring energized the team as new learning occurred and provided variety to the day for those in the benefit and staff development positions. It helped the organization by assigning high turnover departments a recruiter who could focus on one job category and really get to know the hiring managers and department culture. The team filled twice the openings in the first month than they had when they had only one recruiter who also did all other categories of HR. Since then, two of the employees have left for jobs with greater responsibility at other organizations, and yet our department is stronger for their contributions.

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Team of the Day: Carle Health System
Urbana, Ill.

Carle Health System

The HR department at the Carle Health System works diligently to develop contemporary and innovative solutions that supports current and future needs of our workforce. Whether the HR team is challenged with meeting the talent acquisition needs of a growing organization, producing relevant talent-related statistics to inform organizational strategy, evaluating comprehensive total rewards strategies that meet the needs of a multi-generational workforce, cultivating talent through coaching and developmental programs, or assisting employees through various stages and situations in their careers and life, the team steps up and forward to serve in distinctive and synergistic ways. The HR team has invested in the organization’s culture resulting in overall high engagement scores, high leadership effectiveness scores and achieving the national designation for the second year in a row of a Great Place to Work. These workforce achievements are possible through a true alignment of purpose between HR and the health system.

Reduction in vacancies without compromising quality of hires, deployed tactics to drive engagement, innovative learning and developmental offerings and workforce outreach programs are just a few of the contributions HR makes to the organization and community. A vacancy rate of nearly 10 percent transformed to approximately 6 percent was achieved as a result of creative sourcing strategies, efficiency in the recruitment cycle and using recruitment metrics to drive decisions. Workforce development programs are an essential element to our talent strategy and our community. We have constructed hiring tactics to attract more veterans and members of the military to our health system as the values incorporated in their service align well to the values necessary for employment with our organization. Additionally, we have invested in members of our community that have struggled with stable employment and hired them into our Job Readiness and Learning Program. This program provides training and intensive support and coaching to help ensure participants have successful and lasting employment.

Initiative of the Day: "Taking Care of YOU" – Vail Health
Vail, Colo.

Taking Care of YOU, You Owe it to Urself  - Vail Health  Vail, Colo.

Taking Care of YOU, You Owe it to Urself is an emotional well-being initiative implemented for all employees at Vail Health. There are many times where Vail Health employees encounter situations at work that stick with them, maybe it’s a memory, an incident or a really tough day. When these incidents happen, many employees are provided support in the moment but it was realized by Vail Health’s leadership that there is no official follow-up down the road. Sometimes, an incident happens and the employee may feel they’ve come to terms with it, but sometime in the future (it could be days, months or years), it creeps back up on them, causing negative emotions.

Thus, the idea of Taking Care of YOU came to fruition. This program allows employees to come as they wish to help learn how to take care of their emotional well-being. The meeting is interactive, with different guest speakers, who have mental health backgrounds, attending each month to help facilitate the conversation. Taking Care of YOU is a safe place for staff to ensure they have the support they need to continue providing superior health services with compassion and exceptional outcomes to the patients of Vail Health.

Vail Health is a rural hospital, at the base of a ski resort, meaning staff see traumatic injuries on a daily basis. Suicide is also on the rise at an alarming rate in this community. Being a small town means a lot of patients are also neighbors, friends and family. A seminar attended by some of Vail Health leadership spoke about Schwartz Rounds. Vail took that idea back to their organization, including clinical staff in the discussions to see what would work for their employees. Thus, Taking Care of YOU: You Owe it to Urself was born. The feedback received from staff that have attended monthly sessions is extremely rewarding. The initiative proved to be something we were desperately missing.

"We know that taking care of our staff is what allows them to take care of our patients to the highest level of care possible," stated Shannatay Bergeron, Vail Health Senior HR Business Partner. Another employee commented, “Taking Care of YOU included talking with a professional counselor who gave excellent tools and suggestions to use when I feel stress at work. This has already helped me improve my performance. Using those tools helps me remain engaged throughout the challenging days and memories.” Vail looks forward to continuing to support its employees and evolving this new program as time goes on. "For now," Bergerson continued, "we are thankful we were able to implement Taking Care of YOU and provide our employees an avenue to receive the emotional support they’ve been seeking."

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Team of the Day: Baptist Health Care
Pensacola, Fla.

Baptist Health Care - Pensacola, Fla.

This amazing team of 35 individuals believes in the mission of "Helping People Throughout Life's Journey" and they exemplify this each and every day. Over the past year, this team has gone from 14 percent holding an HR professional certification to 28 percent, doubling the amount of certified professionals in their department leading to a better understanding of human resources principles and bettering our organization.

This dynamic team has given back to its team members and community time and time again. They donated 395 pounds of food to team members in need over the holiday season along with collecting items for those impacted by Hurricane Michael. They provided Christmas for a classroom of Kindergarteners in a local neighborhood school. They collected gloves and hats for school kids and the list goes on and on. Whenever there is a need, they come through and often spearhead the effort. They consistently put others needs above those of their own. They contribute to the HR community by becoming more and more knowledgeable in the field, doubling the professional certification rate within HR and becoming a value instead of a barrier to the team members we serve, changing the way team members view health care HR.

Initiative of the Day: "HR Connect Team" – Providence St. Joseph Health
Los Angeles, Calif.

Providence St. Joseph Health

Providence St. Joseph Health created a team called HR Connect to act as an extender for the HR Field and System HR Service Center providing standardized solutions that create consistency, alignment and efficiencies across the six hospitals in Los Angeles. The HR Connect team is comprised of HR Generalists and HR Associates who work collectively to support the common, transactional and data needs of our HR Directors and HR Business Partners across the Los Angeles service area. This allows the field HR teams to optimize their time on more strategic people initiatives within their respective hospitals. In essence, it is HR for HR.

In 2017, HR field engagement survey results indicated that burnout and workload were opportunities for improvement. Providence implemented the HR Connect team in March, 2018 to offset the transactional work that still resided at the field level. It is the transactional work that the system's HR Service Center did not handle. At the end of 2018, HR field engagement results indicated a 26 percent decline in the workload and burnout categories. Providence attributes this decline to the HR Connect team implementation. The HR Business Partners are more engaged with the business outcomes, and are focusing more on leadership development, engagement strategies and retention strategies for their respective clients within the hospitals. Due to the effectiveness of the HR Connect model, Providence is beginning to scale it to other counties within Southern California. Concurrently, they are beginning the process of creating a project plan to scale it across all seven states in the system.

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Last Updated: Mon Mar 18 2019