HR Management & Compliance

Great California Workplaces: California Pacific Medical Center Invests in Its Employees; Winning Strategies

California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco is this year’s winner of our 2007 Great California Workplaces Award in the nonprofit category. Like most hospitals, it faces a difficult challenge of attracting and retaining qualified employees: Healthcare professionals—especially nurses—have many options in today’s job market, and they’ll go where they can best utilize their skills and grow in their careers. CEA talked with Linda Isaacs, CPMC’s director of human resources, to learn about her organization’s strategies for success.

About CPMC

The three-hospital CPMC is one of the largest private not-for-profit academic medical centers in Northern California, with more than 6,600 employees. It provides hospital care, home and hospice care services, preventive care and education, and a medical education and research program. CPMC prides itself on employing exceptional people who are dedicated to serving others—and it is determined to retain employees by providing the same level of quality as an employer.

CPMC’s strategies are paying off, as underscored by low turnover. While the California Hospital Association reported a statewide average turnover rate of 15 percent in 2006, CPMC had just 10 percent turnover in that period—and an even lower 6 percent for registered nurses.

Employee Development

Offering opportunities for employee growth and development forms the core of CPMC’s efforts to attract and retain the best talent. The organization offers tuition reimbursement (up to $3,000 annually) for all employees to encourage them to grow into their current career or expand into new “market scarce” healthcare positions. And in a special program, CPMC has partnered with a local academic institution to bring college courses on-site, free of charge to employees.

CPMC also works to foster collaborative working relationships between doctors and nurses, which is known to encourage nurses’ professional development and reduce workplace friction. Job satisfaction also derives from being part of an institution that strives for excellence in patient care, medical research, and education.

Strong Benefits Program

CPMC also invests in its employees by offering a solid benefits package. Employees and their family members receive fully paid medical, dental, and vision insurance. They can also take advantage of Roth and traditional 401(k)s, with CPMC contributing up to 16 percent of compensation. Other benefits include generous paid time off, starting at 26 days per year; a pre-tax transportation program; and health and wellness classes.

Listening to Employees

CPMC, says Isaacs, believes that listening to employees is imperative to its success and employee happiness. The organization conducts an annual employee satisfaction survey and studies the results to determine program changes. Employees are invited to quarterly “presidential updates,” where they can hear the president and CEO discuss the state of the organization, and employees can ask questions. Employees are also encouraged to email questions
or comments to the president and CEO at any time.

Our Runner-Up

The 2007 Great California Workplaces nonprofit runner-up is California Independent System Operator Corp., the Folsom-based electricity transmission organization.

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