A Customer Success Story

Baystate Health: Humanizing the Patient and Employee Experience

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Healthy cultures thrive on gratitude, especially in this new world of work. Take Baystate Health – their recognition program and budget had been phased out during cutbacks, but employees called out the need to value “rock steady” staff members, a desire for a more social culture, and the importance of peer-to-peer recognition. The leadership team needed a solution to answer these requests and also to align with the core values of their new strategic plan. Discover how they did it by partnering with Workhuman.

Fun fact: In the first year alone, more than 15,000 recognition moments were captured and 66% of employees received recognition through Baystate Celebrates!

Our nurses receiving three or more recognition awards ... had a turnover rate seven times less than those receiving no recognition. This is compelling information in an industry facing long-term, national shortages of providers.

Jennifer Faulkner
Vice President, Team Member Experience and Talent Management, Baystate Health

Based in Springfield, Mass., Baystate Health is a not-for-profit, integrated healthcare system with a longstanding mission to provide quality and compassionate healthcare to more than 800,000 people throughout western New England. Its 12,000 team members work across three community hospitals, an academic medical center, and home health and medical practices. Baystate Health is also a three-time Magnet® hospital for nursing excellence and was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three hospitals in Massachusetts for 2017-2018.

A core tenant of Baystate Health’s people strategy is a focus on ensuring team members feel appreciated and valued so they can deliver the best possible experience to patients.

32,000 recognition moments in just one year

The challenge

The last decade has been one of fiscal restraint and numerous mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare industry. Baystate Health is no exception. Jennifer Faulkner, former vice president, team member experience and talent management, explains, “Our previous recognition program and budget had been phased out during a period of belt tightening … We had an informal, manual, cash-based program. It was difficult to manage and wasn’t delivering the value or impact we needed.”

When Jennifer and her team administered a recognition survey to team members, several themes emerged, including the need to value “rock steady” employees, a desire for a more social culture, and the importance of multi- directional recognition (not just manager to employee).

During this time, Baystate Health was also launching a new strategic plan that included new core values: quality, compassion, teamwork, service, and innovation. The leadership team was looking for a solution that would bring these values to life for team members.

7x lower turnover rate for nurses who receive 3+ Baystate Celebrates! awards

The solution

Baystate Health partnered with Workhuman® to launch its new peer-to-peer, Social Recognition® program, Baystate Celebrates! The program includes a public newsfeed of recognition moments where all employees can see and share their congratulations, as well as Service Milestones®, a way to celebrate service anniversaries. “Together, these two elements create a powerful community celebration,” says Jennifer.

Team members can also give and receive recognition through the Baystate Celebrates! mobile application, which CEO Mark A. Keroack, MD says is his favorite app. “We call Dr. Keroack a recognition rock star,” says Jennifer. “He’s a super user and was an early champion of the program. You can imagine what it’s like for any of our team members to get a recognition from the CEO. And when he recognizes members of management, they understand what that feels like and are often inspired to recognize their own team members.”

In addition to executive-level support, Jennifer and her team use Baystate Health’s engagement councils – comprised of frontline staff and supervisors – to build grassroots support for the program.

“The buzz started instantly … We saw right away how this could really work in our fast- paced, 24/7 culture,” says Jennifer.

Because each recognition moment is tied to a core value, Baystate Celebrates! provides a treasure trove of employee stories for internal communications, videos, social media, and the annual report. “These stories are culture building. Without Baystate Celebrates! they may have slipped by us.”

Baystate Health scored in the 99th percentile in the New England region and 78th percentile nationally on the recognition component of its employee survey

The result

Now recognition has risen from one the of lowest-scoring engagement survey items to one of the highest. In a recent employee survey, Baystate Health scored in the 99th percentile in the New England region and 78th percentile nationally for being satisfied with recognition received for doing a good job, out of a database of more than 1.5 million respondents.

That increase in engagement is also having a direct impact on employee retention. For example, turnover rate of nurses who receive three or more Baystate Celebrates! awards is seven times less than those who haven’t received recognition. And there was no turnover for the forty physicians who received three or more awards, as opposed to a six percent physician turnover otherwise.

The momentum of sharing gratitude continues, with 32,000 recognition moments generated in just one year. “Working with Workhuman, we have analytics that help us to be strategic with recognition and give us insight into how we are living our core values throughout the organization,” says Jennifer.

Backend analytics are also becoming an integral piece of driving employee performance. “It’s great information for managers to have in their conversations with team members or during staff meetings,” explains Jennifer.

Another positive result of Baystate Celebrates! is that it is bringing together disparate locations. “When we see recognition flowing multi-directionally between different entities like community hospitals and our academic medical center, we know that we are truly helping to better integrate our health system,” says Jennifer.

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