We Are the Champions

Debbie Simon, UnityPoint Health

Employee engagement is about emotion. It’s about building, sharing and preserving your culture. In August 2015, we held the first of four quarterly meetings of our newly formed employee engagement team we call our Champions.

Champions are employee-leaders, vital to their individual departments and selected by their managers/supervisors to take part in this unique initiative. It’s impossible to create and sustain a culture of employee engagement in a large organization without help from every part of the organization. Champions have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in their departments—and they have the trust of their peers.

Trish Jones, Facilities Administrative Support Lead and an employee-Champion, recently shared her thoughts: “I’m thrilled we have the program. It makes it easier for employees to share their thoughts—it helps communication from employee to leadership and back again. It makes me feel good to know my coworkers value me and my participation. That says a lot about trust.”

Another Champion, Dana Bradshaw, Proctor First Care Practice Supervisor, shared: “There is the phrase ‘happy employee, happy patient.’ There is evidence that supports encouraging employees to explore what interests them. Employee engagement correlates to declines in absenteeism and turnover—and also to increased customer service. Part of creating the best patient experience is building a relationship which makes patients feel comfortable and respected by the engaged, interested and satisfied employee.”

Champions expand the reach of critical messages. They are vital ambassadors for strategic projects and goals. They listen to and share the thoughts of their peers with leadership. They raise important concerns and issues, but also share creative and interesting ways to solve them. Most importantly, Champions are role models for our culture.

Being a Champion isn’t all work; in fact, it’s a lot of fun. Quarterly half-day retreats and occasional breakfast meetings allow these individuals to meet, share ideas, laugh and use their collective problem-solving skills during breakout sessions. In many cases, they’re meeting one another for the first time. They’re becoming friends, networking and building relationships.

I want all employees to feel the same kind of passion for their work as I do. While we have different roles, I want an environment in which every employee feels their work is meaningful and they make a difference. We want employees to share, inspire their coworkers, and in doing so, deliver on our goal to provide the best outcome for every patient every time.

The Champion program will move us forward in advancing our culture of a great place to work and a great place for our community to seek care and services. iBi

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