Category Archives: Values
4 health systems retaining talent with perks beyond pay
As hospitals and health systems continue to grapple with staffing shortages, employers are using perks beyond pay to recruit and retain talent.
Incentives beyond the norm are attractive to employees: They prove the employer values them personally, beyond their work performance.
These four health systems offer perks beyond pay, like extra paid time off, well-being coaches, adoption assistance and local discounts.
Food, entertainment and staycations
Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt Health said it will launch a new employee awards program in September that offers workers perks, discounts and a grand prize “staycation.”
The month-long Work Perks program will feature a website where employees can play games to earn perks in music and entertainment, health and wellness, dining and Nashville-area attractions, according to an Aug. 29 news release shared with Becker’s.
Workers will also be able to enter a drawing for a staycation. Five employees will win grand prizes including a one-night stay at a downtown hotel, passes to Nashville attractions, dinner at a local restaurant and a gift basket with items from Nashville businesses, including a winery and chocolate company, Vanderbilt Health said.
“We’re excited to show appreciation for our dedicated workforce in this way, and we’re grateful to so many generous partners to help make it happen,” Amy Schoeny, PhD, chief human resources officer, said in a release. “This is just one of the many benefits and perks that we offer to those who choose to pursue careers in making healthcare personal for our patients today and in the future.”
Work Perks will launch Sept. 5.
“We Hours” program
Marlton, N.J.-based Virtua Health told Becker’s it has instituted a “We Hours” program “to give employees more time to do the things that are important to them — from self-care to community service.”
The program offers eight additional hours of scheduled, paid time off per year for most of Virtua’s 13,000 employees.
“The ultimate goal is to encourage mindfulness and a healthy work-life balance,” Rhonda Jordan, Virtua’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, told Becker’s. “We Hours are intended for colleagues to pursue something rewarding or fulfilling, such as volunteering, recognizing a religious or cultural event, or ‘recharging their battery’ with extra time away.”
Ms. Jordan said Virtua workers may also use the program for practical matters, such as a physician’s visit or attending to household repairs.
The program name stems from Virtua’s “Culture of We,” a set of guiding principles that include continuous learning and innovation, open communication and inclusive teamwork, among others.
A colleague committee developed the tenets in 2019, and employees are encouraged to share how they spend their We Hours in a private Facebook group, according to Ms. Jordan. She cited examples including photos from a visit to a botanical garden, a description of volunteer work helping nonprofit organizations, and a photo of the day one worker spent with her son, who’d been away serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“One of my favorite outcomes of the We Hours is that they invite us to learn more about our colleagues and the people, causes and activities that are most important to them,” Ms. Jordan adds.
Walking trails and well-being coaching
Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health encourages all-around health through their LiveWell programs.
“[LiveWell] exists to support teammates in working meaningfully, eating healthfully, learning continuously and living fully … living their best lives so that we can deliver on the mission of Atrium Health,” Scott Laws, vice president of enterprise total rewards at Atrium Health, told Becker’s.
Physical health is encouraged through perks like discounted gym enrollment, tobacco cessation programs and on-site walking trails at Atrium Health facilities. Financial assistance is provided through free webinars and individual medication management consultations. One-on-one well-being coaches encourage employees to consider personal health.
Those that take advantage of the LiveWell resources are rewarded.
“By completing certain physical, personal and financial well-being goals — which include participation in wellness exams and programs or financial education — teammates are eligible for financial incentives, paid into their HSAs,” Mr. Laws said.
Springfield, Ill.-based Hospital Sisters Health System offers adoption assistance as part of its benefits package.
“HSHS provides financial support up to $7,500 per child for eligible adoption expenses to qualified colleagues,” Catie Sheehan, vice president of advocacy and communications at Hospital Sisters, told Becker’s.
Alicia Corman, an occupational therapist in the health system, was first to receive the benefit. After the adoption decree was signed, the human resources department helped her submit a breakdown of what the financial support would cover, Ms. Corman said in a video shared with Becker’s. The funds she received aided Ms. Corman and her husband in adopting their son.
“I’m very grateful because if you look across the U.S., adoption is not very supported in a workplace,” Ms. Corman said.
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Houston ER physicians say they were urged to avoid COVID tests, work sick
A group of emergency room physicians filed a lawsuit in March alleging representatives for their employer, American Physician Partners, discouraged them from testing for COVID-19 and pressured them to work while ill, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Brentwood, Tenn.-based American Physician Partners staffs and manages ER physicians at more than 15 Houston Methodist facilities, including hospitals and emergency care centers. The lawsuit, which does not involve Houston Methodist employees, centers on a dispute between eight physicians and APP.
The physicians allege APP is underpaying them and engaging in “unethical practices,” such as urging physicians with COVID-19 to work, as a way to boost revenue.
APP’s protocol, “discourages testing and disregards physician, staff, and patient safety when a doctor does test positive for COVID-19,” the lawsuit alleges. The physicians claim APP is putting “profit over patient.”
APP denied its involvement in the alleged financial damages in a response to the physicians’ complaint filed April 25. The company told the Houston Chronicle that it has been in discussions with the physicians since they raised concerns four months ago.
“We advised them at that time that their concerns do not reflect the facts known to APP and otherwise appear to be based on misinformation,” APP said in a statement to the Chronicle. “Thus we are disappointed these physicians — who represent a very small minority of the physicians APP partners with in the Houston area — have decided to move forward with this litigation. We remain open to continuing our dialogue with these physicians outside of the litigation, which, again, APP believes is without merit.”
Houston Methodist, which isn’t involved in or named in the lawsuit, said it cannot comment on the specific allegations, according to the Chronicle. “We are unaware of any ER doctor who came to work after testing positive for COVID-19,” a hospital spokesperson told Becker’s.
Read the full Houston Chronicle article here.
Rudeness is on the rise — why?
It’s not just you, and it’s not just in healthcare: Poor behavior ranging from the impolite to the violent is having a moment in society right now.
The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan spoke with more than a dozen experts on crime, psychology and social norms to suss out contributing factors to the spike in poor behavior, which she details in her piece, “Why People Are Acting So Weird,” published March 30.
Stress is one likely explanation for the bad behavior. Keith Humphreys, PhD, a psychiatry professor at Stanford, told Ms. Khazan the pandemic has created a lot of “high-stress, low-reward” situations, in which someone who has experienced a lot of loss due to the pandemic may be pushed over the edge by an inoffensive request.
Not only are people encountering more provocations — like staff shortages or mask mandates — but their mood is worse when provoked.
“Americans don’t really like each other very much right now,” Ryan Martin, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay who studies expressions of anger, told Ms. Khazan.
It doesn’t help that rudeness can be contagious. At work, people can spread negative emotions to colleagues, bosses and clients regardless of whether those people were the source of the negativity.
“People who witness rudeness are three times less likely to help someone else,” Christine Porath, PhD, a business professor at Georgetown University, said in the report.
Just as the pandemic has reaped high-stress, low-reward moments, it has brought on a level of isolation that has affected how people behave.
“We’re more likely to break rules when our bonds to society are weakened,” Robert Sampson, PhD, a Harvard sociologist, told Ms. Khazan. “When we become untethered, we tend to prioritize our own private interests over those of others or the public.”
Richard Rosenfeld, PhD, a criminologist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, went one step further to describe society operating with “a generalized sense that the rules simply don’t apply.”
Ms. Khazan makes a point to distinguish mental health in the broader conversation about poor behavior.
“People with severe mental illness are only a tiny percentage of the population, and past research shows that they commit only 3 to 5 percent of violent acts, so they couldn’t possibly be responsible for the huge surge in misbehavior,” she said.
For a quantified look at how problematic behavior — including crime, dangerous driving, unruly passenger incidents and student disciplinary problems — has spiked, turn to journalist Matthew Yglesias’ deep dive, born from his observation that “the extent to which we seem to be living through a pretty broad rise in aggressive and antisocial behavior” is underdiscussed.