Mickey Meece of the New York Times recently wrote an article entitled, "Doing the unexpected for employees pays off." He described a small company, Vurv Technology, a developer of human resources software, where the supervisor of two employees came to the founder and CEO, Derek Mercer, and suggested that they purchase two good used cars for two employees who were having trouble making the commute to work.
The alternative for the company would have been to pay out much more than the $10,000 paid for those two vehicles to find replacement employees. Valuable time would also have been lost during the search and training of those new employees as well.
In this case, it was a relatively simple analysis where both the risk and the opportunity were examined. It is often a balancing act of helping people while not destroying company profits. In the case of a nonprofit hospital, if there is no money, there can be no mission, but the mission requires passion and commitment that can only come from helping our staff do their work and experience the satisfaction of being a healthcare employee.
Recently, one of our competitors bragged about the improvement of their employee satisfaction ratings on a scale from 1 to 100% from the low to the mid sixties. Your ratings of WMC are about thirty points higher than their best score. The secret, according to Dan Rozycki, president of the Transtec Group in Austin Texas, is to attempt to build the ultimate workplace.
That has always been our goal, to make Windber the employer of choice, and with the full support of the Board of Directors we have tried very hard to make WMC a very special place to work. Of course, it is not Utopia. Our pension took a real beating a few years back and just now is beginning to move toward competitive levels. The benefits are good, and, over the past few years we have made significant progress with our salaries as compared to other hospitals, nursing homes and medical offices, i.e., the marketplace.
The real differences, however, come in the form of the various qualitative offerings that are not always widely utilized. Yes, we still have tuition reimbursement, reduced fees for Healthstyles, prescription, dental, optical and other normal benefits, but we also have staff members who are employed to help you and our patients to experience optimal healing within our environment; massage, reiki, music and aroma therapy, drum circles, spiritual healing services, acupuncture, picnics, a Pirate's game, and a medical staff that is willing to step up to the plate to defend you from abuse from their peers, i.e., an anti-bullying philosophy. That is not only significant; it is also very rare in most hospitals.
No, we haven't had the money to buy anyone cars lately, but we sure are trying to do the right thing while we move forward in an unbelievably competitive environment. We know that some of our staff has the mistaken belief that we are flush with money. Let me assure you, after being woefully under funded for years, we are always struggling to take care of all of the needs of this organization. In spite of that, the good news is that people have voted with their feet to come to Windber for their care, and we are seeing daylight and growth. The better news is that we are committed to continue to work toward becoming the healthcare employer of choice for this region. You are our most important asset, and you are doing an unbelievable job. On behalf of the board and administrative staff, all I can say is thank you for caring. Thank you for being the amazing people that you are. Buildings, equipment, and publicity are not the determining factor. Day after day people tell us about your great work, your caring work, your kind and gentle touch. Windbercare care is YOU.