The HR division at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) includes a colleague Activities department, which is a rare, if not unique, budgeted HR function in the non-profit healthcare organization sector. While many healthcare organizations, particularly in the not-for-profit arena, are cutting budgets and experiencing staff reductions, TMH continues to support what it considers the organization's most valuable asset, the TMH Colleagues, through year-round celebration, recognition, and reward.
TMH is a private, not-for-profit community health-care system in Florida, U.S.A. that includes a 770-bed hospital specializing in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurology, women's and children's health, behavioral health, surgery and emergency medicine, a Family Medicine Residency Program, and five satellite physician practices. TMH has a medical staff of over 500 physicians and in excess of 3,500 staff; its Colleagues are those people employed by TMH.
The entire TMH organization is dedicated to providing quality patient care in an environment governed by the “ICARE” values—a set of five values, which were created by a multidisciplinary team of leadership and non-leadership colleagues. The ICARE values include Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence and are integrated in nearly every aspect of the organization’s operations.
The Human Resources team is charged with responsibility for colleague celebration and—simply put—fun. While most organizations have some sort of colleague-recognition program, the TMH Colleague reward-and-recognition program offers fun and much more. Formal colleague-recognition programs consist of the ICARE Caring Hands, the ICARE Colleague of the Month, and the ICARE Ambassador and President's Awards. A monthly awards ceremony honors recipients nominated by their managers or peers, or in recognition of some “above and beyond” behavior related to customers. The celebration includes an enormous cake to celebrate colleagues with birthdays during that month.
Summer of Fun
Each year TMH celebrates seven holidays with colleague parties and contests; there are at least three colleague picnics a year; celebrations during national Hospital Week and on the Fourth of July; and a grand finale, The Seafood Fest, which marks the end of the “Summer of Fun.”
These all-colleague feasts feed in excess of 3,500 colleagues. The late shifts participate in their celebrations at midnight on the day following the event. The Summer of Fun starts in June each year and culminates in late August with the Seafood Fest, with prizes for all colleagues.
In 2009 the Summer of Fun had a pirate theme. Events such as “Walk the Plank Poker,” “Create an ICARE Treasure Map,” a “Pineapple Decorating Contest,” and a “Pirates Cove” game day were a few of the events held that summer. Department contest winners got the chance to play “Deal or No Deal,” with the chance to win up to $3,000 to spend without restriction for their department. Colleagues also competed in individual contests to gain points to spend on prizes at the end of the celebration. The 2009 top prize was $1,500, three days paid leave time, and a big-screen TV.
Low Costs, High Returns
TMH hosts numerous department-based celebrations that boost morale and recognize colleagues; additionally, a Colleague Craft Show, a softball tournament, a bowling team and tournament, a golf tournament, and games colleagues may participate in on the TMH Intranet are commonplace. Ice Cream Socials and “surprise” breakfasts are frequently held for staff in various departments of the organization.
The TMH Colleague Activities team travels to TMH-owned physician practices scattered in rural counties, bringing them food, treats and games to ensure that the more distant colleagues feel included in TMH celebrations.
The approximate budget for all of these wonderful events, contests, and colleague-recognition events is a modest $54 per employee per year. Colleagues from across the organization are involved by volunteering to support the celebrations and judging events, while the TMH HR division provides outstanding events that are stress relieving, entertaining and—as we said before—fun.
About Felicia Polk
The Colleague Activities department is led by Felicia Polk, who is a certified Activity Director with over twenty years experience. Polk joined Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare fifteen years ago as the Activity Director in TMH's long-term care facility. She later transferred into Human Resources because she loved the idea of creating programs and events that recognize and celebrate the value of TMH colleagues.
About Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
Founded in 1948, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH), a 770-bed acute-care hospital, is the largest private employer in the region, specializing in heart and vascular, cancer, medicine, orthopedics, neurology, women’s and children’s health, behavioral health, surgery, and emergency medicine. TMH employs over 3,500 professionals dedicated to providing world-class healthcare to the Big Bend region of Florida.