This year's employee survey saw a surge in participation: Nearly 5,000 people responded to the May survey—a 22 percent increase over the last survey, conducted in 2006.¬ŻBetter still, ratings are up in 18 of 21 categories, and more than three-quarters of the items were rated above 75, out of a possible 100.
"I'm thrilled with the findings and want to thank everyone who took the time to give us feedback," says Sandra Fenwick, chief operating officer. "The survey results are invaluable for all of us in leadership roles because they help us evaluate where we are as a workplace, to see what we're doing well and help us identify areas where we can improve."
One area that showed the most improvement was Children's Martha Eliot Health Center (MEHC), which had increases in every category. In 2006, 15 areas scored below 75. But this year, only one area (technology) scored less than 75—and it came close, with a score of 74.70. Many areas showed remarkable improvements: Operational Effectiveness went from 71.15 to 78.31, Marketplace Awareness jumped from 75.04 to 83.33 and Information/Communication increased from 66.88 to 76.98.
Jim Cote, MEHC's executive director, is gratified and attributes the high scores to an ongoing collaborative effort involving employees based at MEHC and Children's Longwood campus. "I'm so proud of these improvements and this truly has been a team effort," he says. "But we need to continue to build on these successes." In particular, Cote plans to find ways to keep fostering a work environment that adheres to Children's commitment to Exceptional Care, Exceptional Service. "Our improvements are due in large part to an increased commitment to improve teamwork, operations and overall service," he says. "This has led employees to feel more connected with Children's and contributes to their overall satisfaction."
The survey also revealed some opportunities for improvement, including the area of Information Technology. "The scores in part reflect the implementation of the CHAMPS project, which a number of people mentioned in the comments section," says Scott Ogawa, chief technology officer. "I certainly don't want to minimize employees' concern about the system and the fact that we could have done certain things better. But it's good to remember that whenever there's change, it takes a while for people to get used to it. We're committed to making the system better and it will really benefit departments, patients and relationships with referring physicians."
Now that the basic CHAMPS functionality is implemented, Ogawa will work to improve the system—a challenge he's tackling head-on by collaborating with clinicians to make improvements. "A significant portion of Phase 3 of CHAMPS includes hearing everyone's concerns and addressing them one by one," he says. "It's onward and upward from here."
Another area that employees identified for improvements is retirement. "Building on what we heard in the survey, we're taking a fresh look at how to ensure that all Children's employees understand and take full advantage of the program," says Jean Holtman, director of Benefits and Information Systems. "For starters, we know that many employees may not know they have a pension plan—the Cash Balance Plan. It builds year after year, but its value is hidden until retirement." She hopes employees realize that at a time when other employers are trimming or eliminating traditional pension plans in favor of 401(k) plans, Children's is staying its course.
To help bridge the communications gap related to retirement, HR has rolled out a presentation on the Cash Balance and 403b plans. To schedule a session for your department, contact the HR Employee Service Center at 617-355-7780 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In the coming months, look for retirement education sessions, where employees can talk to representatives from TIAA/CREF, Fidelity, Social Security and Benefits—and sign up for a 403(b) plan on the spot.
This fall, HR will finish sorting through the survey responses and devise new strategies. "As each department completes its own analysis, we expect them to identify two or three opportunities for improvement on which to focus their efforts during the coming months," says Arlene Beauchemin, director of Learning and Development. "Judging from past years, departments that have taken steps to address their challenges and have made changes based on employees' feedback have really reaped the rewards."