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. 

Adoption assistance

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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