Several Iowa hospitals are included in a top workplaces listing recently published by the Des Moines Register. The listing is determined based solely on employee feedback provided through a survey, which is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement.
Six of the list’s top 10 medium-sized employers are hospitals, including Fort Madison Community Hospital (#2), Palmer Lutheran Health Center in West Union (#3), Clarke County Hospital in Osceola (#5), Kossuth Regional Health Center in Algona (#7), Palo Alto County Health System in Emmetsburg (#8) and Iowa Specialty Hospital-Clarion (#10). Pella Regional Health Center ranked #3 in the large employer category.
In an accompanying article, Bob Kroese, CEO of Pella Regional, discussed the hospital’s keys to success: “Our whole place exists because of the patient. But if you really want happy patients, you must create an environment where your employees are happy. … Happiness in health care isn’t a laugh a minute. It’s a sense of fulfillment, that employees’ views are heard, that they have what we call shared governance, that they have a lot of input.”
Jim Platt, who leads the Fort Madison hospital, also shared: “We went to our employees and said, ‘What values do you expect from your co-worker?’ We put together an employee team, no one of management was on that, and we developed eight standards of behavior…It now guides our team from housekeeping to our physicians.
“They all honor those standards. They are a guiding point, part of our evaluation process. If someone is not behaving the way they should be, they pull out those standards and say, ‘Go back to this.’ It’s not coming from the managers. Employees hold each other accountable.”
Deb Chensvold, CEO of Palmer Lutheran Health Center, said, “We work very hard to be flexible and promote a healthy work/life balance. We promote a family friendly workplace. We strive to be a workplace of choice in our community. We recognize that our employees are our greatest asset. Satisfied employees provide better quality of care. Palmer Lutheran is a vital part of our community and staff are proud to be part of this organization because they recognize that their work is meaningful and is making a difference in the lives of their family and friends.”
Brian Evans, CEO at Clarke County Hospital, said employees are committed to patients and to each other. “We’re fortunate we’re in a health care field and our employees see the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, whether it’s the nurse at the bedside or the individuals who are keeping the hospital clean so that patients don’t get infections,” he said. “When they put that together that their job does make a difference, they add meaning to it; that’s an important piece for them.”
Special awards were also given based on standout scores for employee responses to specific survey statements. Employees rated these statements (such as “I have confidence in the leader of this company”) on a seven-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Hospitals showed up several times among these awards, including for leadership (Chensvold at Palmer Lutheran); managers (Clarke County Hospital); “doers” (Fort Madison Community Hospital); and training (Palo Alto County Health System).