WellStar Health System: Managing Culture Transformation Through M&A Growth with Emprising

 WellStar Health System: Managing Culture Transformation Through M&A Growth with Emprising

Longtime believers in the importance of workplace culture, WellStar Health System has conducted employee engagement surveys since 2007. In 2013, the Board and Senior Leadership Team decided to embark on a new journey.

They challenged the Culture Team to find a new partner to take their culture to the next level. WellStar switched to Great Place to Work® to focus on trust, rather than engagement. As a result, the company has achieved a deeper, more meaningful level of culture success.

Challenge - Accurately Benchmark Company Culture and Plan for the Future

In April of 2016, WellStar added 6,000 new employees to the team through mergers and acquisitions. Two months later, the Total Rewards team administered the company’s first Great Place to Work Trust Index™ survey to the six new hospitals.

They needed to learn how the employees experienced the workplace, their colleagues and leaders in order to develop a long-term plan to integrate everyone into the WellStar culture.

Solution - Data-Driven Culture Conversations with Manager Access

The first survey results revealed that the culture was, in fact, still strong and WellStar Health System met the threshold for Great Place to Work® Certification™. Equally as important, the results helped the Total Rewards team understand the employee experience across multiple demographics, which proved very powerful for action planning.

Of the data, Samantha Ros, WellStar’s Director of Trust and Engagement, says, “I love that we can break down the concepts of trust, pride and camaraderie and understand the methodology behind them to understand why they’re so important to high-performance businesses.

"Great Place to Work allows us to take something fluid, like culture, and make it data-based and measurable. It is easier for me to have conversations about culture with employees when I can point to the data.”

When Great Place to Work launched the culture management platform Emprising™, Samantha became an active user, even providing feedback that led to the development of new features.

Which feature? Manager Access – a feature that empowers Samantha to roll out the Results tool to 1,200 managers across the organization.

Samantha notes, “Health care is a very data-driven industry and our people expect to have data to inform their planning. Our leaders appreciate having a cloud-based dashboard so they can easily access and manipulate the data to understand differences in experience across their team. It helps them be better leaders.”

Today, WellStar is committed to sharing their culture accomplishments, both internally and with the larger community. They have added the digital badges they receive as part of Certification to their email signatures and have printed out signs and stickers to ensure that visitors to the facilities know about the accomplishment.

And, Samantha, who leads new employee onboarding every other week, talks about it with all new employees and explains the science behind it.

She says, “I can tell that employees are proud to have joined an organization that cares so much about the experiences of all employees. It reaffirms their decision to join WellStar and it’s a great way to get them started on their journey with us.”