Arkansas Hospital Association Health & Science

Creating a Real Win-Win in Health Care

It’s exciting to think about Our Hospital Family, and the many stories this theme brings to the pages of Arkansas Hospitals magazine. People who work in health care make a huge difference in others’ lives, whether they’re inside or outside their roles in the hospital.

When I was doing research for our latest book*, I found many drivers of employee engagement. However, one that really encouraged me was the demonstrated correlation between workforce engagement and the opportunity for employees to make a difference – not only in their own jobs but in their larger communities, whether those communities are local geographies or groups of people with a common cause.

This was reinforced with a recent finding from the 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Survey: “74% of employees say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided with opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues – and 83% of Millennials and 70% of all employees would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to important issues.”

This topic is very close to my heart. Many years ago, I had the privilege of serving as the Executive Champion for our division’s Community Involvement Committee. I saw firsthand how much pride our employees took in representing our company in making a difference in the lives of so many people in the Tucson, Arizona area.

Whether it was helping us become the second largest corporate donor for the annual diaper drive for Casa de los Niños or taking part in Tucson’s first all-women’s build for Habitat for Humanity, our employees were delighted to have a chance to contribute and to be recognized for that by our company.

The recognition was simple in nature – t-shirts with our company and division name on the front and “Proud Volunteer” on the back, an annual appreciation luncheon for anyone who volunteered throughout the year, someone being designated as “Volunteer of the Year,” and paid time off for some company-sponsored events. We also used volunteer activities as a way to provide leadership opportunities as career development for employees identified as high leadership capacity potential. I am so passionate about this topic that I used it for my capstone project for my MBA, documented in my final paper, “Doing Great by Doing Good.”

What is also compelling is data from a corporate volunteerism report by Deloitte (the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey) that showed workplace volunteer programs are important to those who don’t typically volunteer in their private time. And this is even more important to our newer workforce members; 61% of Millennials who rarely or never volunteer consider a company’s commitment to the community when deciding on a job.

In a blog by Margaret Jacoby in Huffington Post, “Four Ways Workplace Giving/Volunteering Can Drive Employee Engagement,” she points to:

1. Increased productivity when employees work toward a common goal;

2. Pride in being part of something bigger than themselves, as well as pride in their organization that supports this effort;

3. Gratitude toward their employers, but also gratitude for their own life situations; and

4. Increased personal ethical behavior that then contributes to ethical businesses.

While many hospitals and health care organizations rely on a cadre of committed volunteers to support their own work, not all have a similar volunteer program involving their employees to give back to their communities.

Does your organization? Does the data presented in this column convince you that there are multiple benefits to having such a program?

If it does, and you’d like to get started, here are some suggestions:

1. The Baldrige Excellence Framework under 1.2c(2) Community Support, asks some great questions:

  • How do you … determine areas for organizational involvement, including areas that leverage your core competencies?
  • How do your senior leaders, in concert with your workforce, contribute to improving these communities and building community health?

2. Conduct focus groups with your employees to determine their areas of interest.

3. Consider small, locally-based charitable organizations that may lack the resources to do extensive marketing for their cause, and where your contributions benefit your immediate community. (This was the case for Casa de los Niños in Tucson.)

4. Look into resources that specifically match health care organizations with community health charities. A great one to explore is http://healthcharities.org/who-we-are/. Here’s a snapshot of who they are from their home page:

Community Health Charities is a nonprofit that raises awareness and resources for health and wellness by connecting more than 2,000 of the most trusted health charities across the United States with more than 17 million caring employees through workplace giving campaigns, causes, wellness programs, employee engagement, and strategic partnerships. Health has never been such an urgent priority: 77% of U.S. workers suffer from at least one long-term health condition, ranging from cancer to asthma – chances are, someone you know is affected.

And if your organization already has a community support program where your employees volunteer, please tell me about it. I’d love to feature them in a future column.

*Our first book, The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing Baldrige in Healthcare: Evidence-Based Excellence, is written in plain English for people new to the Baldrige Criteria. It describes a practical approach to implementing the essential systems to create a foundation for excellence and then continuing to build organizational capability and maturity.

If you’re ready to take this first step, I am happy to send you a free copy of our book. Just contact Elisa White, Editor-in-Chief, at elisawhite@arkhospitals.org for your complimentary copy.


The above article is from the Fall 2017 edition of Arkansas Hospitals, a quarterly magazine published by the Arkansas Hospital Association. Vowell, Inc. produces Arkansas Hospitals on behalf of the Arkansas Hospital Association. This article is reprinted with permission.

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