He’s a guardian of culture.
As vice president of human resources for CoxHealth, Andrew Hedgpeth says his priority is to provide guidance and support.
“My role is to foster and guard CoxHealth’s rich culture of being the best for those who need us, with particular regard to our best asset: our employees,” he says of his role.
Hedgpeth rose in the ranks of the HR department, beginning his career with the health system in 2008 as compliance coordinator, then system benefits and employee relations director in 2009 before moving into his current position in 2016.
Hedgpeth’s team provides services to CoxHealth’s more than 11,400 employees – and he also helped fill those roles. When stepping into his position two years ago, there were 1,250 open positions at CoxHealth. Today, there are roughly 750.
“To hire the best, we developed a series of systems and processes and added software to achieve that outcome,” he says.
That’s not easy to do when facing a national shortage of allied health workers, says Hedgpeth.
On the recruitment side, CoxHealth forged partnerships with local universities and the Missouri Career Center. Using grants and internal funding, CoxHealth recently announced it will invest $6.8 million in Cox College to renovate the campus, with plans to double nursing student capacity to 400. In the last two years, CoxHealth has hired 225 international nurses – mostly from Puerto Rico – along with three consecutive years of record numbers of graduate nursing students hired in a semester.
In terms of retaining employees, Hedgpeth says CoxHealth raised the financial stakes – including doubling the available bonus for nursing staff to $5,000 apiece.
“This retention tool allows nurses to earn additional compensation through demonstration of clinical education, volunteerism and clinical excellence,” he says.
The health system also in 2017 made a $7 million market adjustment, marking the greatest increase in pay for nurses in CoxHealth’s history and putting the organization ahead of state pay averages for nurses.
“Some of these individuals saw their annual wages increase by over $2,750 overnight,” Hedgpeth says. “It changed many lives for the better.”
Hedgpeth also worked to establish competitive compensation and benefits packages. Despite health systems often facing slimmer budgets and reductions in reimbursements, Hedgpeth says benefits are never the area to cut back on.
“An aging workforce requires more health care needs as it moves toward retirement,” he says. “CoxHealth provides an incredibly robust benefits package that continues to evolve to meet our workforce’s needs.”
Hedgpeth also invests in his own personal development. In 2009, he earned his Master of Business Administration from Missouri State University, with emphasis on health care administration. He also earned a Professional in Human Resources certification from the Society of Healthcare Management in 2005.
He is a member of the Health Management Academy, and Springfield Area Human Resources Association.
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