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Robert Bezanson, President & CEO
Robert Bezanson, President & CEO

2011 Choice Employers, 300+ Employees No. 1: CoxHealth

Posted online
CoxHealth has a work force of 6,734 full- and part-time employees and a benefits package that includes a 403(b) plan, and health insurance for which the company pays a portion of employees’ and dependents’ premiums. Tuition reimbursement is available for work-related continuing education, and there also is an employee mentoring program in place. Employees have access to on-site child care as well as assistance programs for adoption and transportation.  

How does your company foster employee loyalty?
“Our loyalty to employees is fostered by our commitments to protect jobs – a commitment we have kept – and to keep (employees) informed. In the last four years we have greatly expanded the methods and frequency of our communications. Our goals are to assure employees understand challenges we face, where we are headed, the ‘why’ behind (each) important decision, and how we are doing.”

Tell us about your firm’s team-building activities or events.
“Our recreation council plans our picnic, national Hospital Week activities and annual awards dinner. Our world series – the doctors versus nurses softball game – is our fun way to raise money for nursing scholarships and build relationships. Team building also is supported by our leadership development programs and Experience Excellence initiative.”

Has the economy made it difficult to award raises? How are employee efforts rewarded?
“Without question, the recession has affected our operating margins and employee pay increases. Despite the challenges, our merit increase programs for 2011 and 2012 exceed state averages for health care providers. We encourage employees to give themselves a raise by taking advantage of our tuition programs to prepare for career advancement and seek promotions. … CoxHealth has also implemented recognition initiatives such as simple hand-written thank you notes sent to employee homes by senior leaders; spot awards for behaviors that exemplify our core values; national Daisy awards for RNs; bimonthly recognition luncheons for employees who make special efforts to help patients and fellow employees; and annual Prestigious Partners awards that send the best of our team to weekend getaways in Branson for truly exceptional service.”

What makes your company’s benefits offering stand out in the market?
“We believe our communication efforts give us an edge as an employer. CoxHealth’s (human resources) team includes benefits staff who meet with employees at hire and annually to review benefits and provide benefit value statements. Each fall during open enrollment, we have employee forums and weeklong benefit fairs with our vendors to provide information about what’s new, what’s changing and what’s available. … Benefit information is available to all employees (online, and) our benefits manager maintains a blog, ‘Ask Andy’ to share information, answer questions and obtain feedback.”

What is the most celebrated benefit/perk among your staff?
“On graduation day for a new nurse, it may be loan forgiveness or tuition assistance. For someone injured or ill, it’s our health plan. For employees at the close of their careers, our retirement plan is most important. The most valuable perks we provide are benefits that make tomorrow better and protect us if the unforeseen strikes today.”

Click here for the full 2011 Choice Employers.
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