Mercy Health - Springfield focused on employee retention, recruitment initiatives

As healthcare workers continue to face the pressures that come with a worldwide pandemic, it’s more important than ever that they have support from leaders who look beyond traditional incentives for their employees.

Employees “have been running what I would call a sprinter’s pace, but they’ve been doing it on a marathon track,” says Adam Groshans, president of Mercy Health – Springfield.

That’s just one reason why Mercy Health offers employees a variety of incentives and perks, including new ones that start this year. As one of the area’s largest employers with more than 2,000 associates, Mercy Health has a variety of career paths beyond the medical – including food and nutrition, engineering and information technology – and the hospital system has developed a number of ways to attract, retain and train talent.

One of those new incentives will begin in early 2022: a down payment assistance program for those who purchase homes within specific zip codes.

“We want folks to be able to live and thrive near where they work,” Groshans says.

Employees currently commute from many surrounding communities, including Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus. The ability to plant roots, grow a family and be near work can be difficult, and this new program aims to eliminate some of those challenges, he says.

Starting in January 2022, another new employee benefit is eight weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave, available upon hire, says Megan Douglas, human resources director at Mercy Health – Springfield.

“We’re really investing in people spiritually, and their personal lives as well,” says Douglas, adding that the hospital wants to support its employees’ goals and help them remain at Mercy Health, too.

In addition, the hospital’s continuing collaboration with Guild Education offers tuition assistance and reimbursement for employees, and fellowships, such as a 12-week program for nurses, giving employees mentors, exposure to different areas of the hospital and the opportunity to learn what type of patients they best connect with, Douglas says.

Groshans says that the hospital also has made changes to the traditional compensation and benefits package that is offered to employees, such as ensuring wages are competitive, freezing insurance premiums and making sure employees can carry over time off that they haven’t been able to use during the pandemic.

The hospital also is reinvesting in its employees in other ways, such as starting a culture committee that focuses on diversity, inclusion and connecting outside of work. Mercy Health is also providing spaces and resources for employees who “are dealing with a real-life tragedy as it happens,” he says.

“We think about the patient. We think about the family. Oftentimes we don’t think about the secondary victim of that, which is that caregiver that was there,” Groshans says.

Mercy Health is devoted to cultivating a well-rounded workforce, giving employees the opportunity to become leaders that have been cross-trained and exposed to many parts of the hospital’s operations.

“We pride ourselves on finding local talent that we can invest in and grow,” Groshans says.

This benefits patient care, too. During the course of their care, patients may see a variety of healthcare professionals and will reap the benefits when these leaders have a complete understanding of the continuum of care and can speak with knowledge and comfort, he says.

The hospital also is facing challenges in common with many others in the industry thanks to, among other reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the biggest challenges right now is trying to encourage and reinforce existing individuals while dealing with critical shortages in peak areas that add to the strain and stress,” Groshans  says.

Nevertheless, he says that the Springfield market has seen an improvement in retention rates as well as successes in recruiting. Key service lines continue to grow, including cardiology, orthopedics, neurology, women’s services and general surgery.

Mercy Health also is special because of its collaborations and the strong bond between hospital leaders and employees, Douglas says. For example, when the number of patients surged because of COVID-19, hospital leadership was called to work shifts on the floor to support the nurses.

“Long story short, there’s really nothing this leadership team won’t do to get out there and support their teams,” Douglas says.

Read more articles by Diane Erwin.