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Where are the 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare?

What do the Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Pharmacy OneSource in Bellevue, Washington, and architectural firm Caruana & Associates in Long Beach, California, have in common? These diverse organizations have all been named to Modern Healthcare's list of the 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare.

After months of workplace surveys and in-depth reviews, the full list of the best places to work in healthcare was announced on September 8, 2008. After months of workplace surveys and in-depth reviews, the full list of winners was announced on September 8, 2008.

According to David Burda, editor of Modern Healthcare, "The top 100 list showcases organizations that have created work environments conducive to good daily patient care through high satisfaction of employees."

In an industry plagued by worker shortages and increasingly cumbersome quality standards, Burda and his staff felt it was time to recognize those organizations that are doing things well--in everything from employee policies to corporate culture and management effectiveness.

"We have been thinking about this program for a couple of years," said Burda. "We finally settled on a methodology and found the right partner to work with on it."

That partner was Best Companies Group, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which conducts "best places to work" programs across the country. Working together, the two companies created the first national recognition program of its kind in the healthcare industry and officially launched the program in January.

In order to be in the running for the Best Workplaces in Healthcare list, healthcare employers had to sign up by June 20, 2008, and undergo an extensive survey process throughout July and August. All participation was voluntary and free of charge, as long as the surveys were completed online.

"The competition is open to any company working in the healthcare field with at least 25 employees," Burda reported. "We had three categories of participants: providers, payers [including insurers and managed care organizations], and suppliers, which included consulting firms, manufacturers, etc." A total of 238 organizations participated in the process.

The survey process consisted of two parts, according to Susan Springer, director of workplace assessments for Best Companies Group.

"First, employers provided information on what are they doing to create the employee experience: benefits, recognition programs, salary, career planning, training--all of that stuff. Their portion accounts for about 25 percent of the score. The second piece is information from the employees, to see if these things the employer is doing are appreciated and help employees feel satisfied and engaged."

"The employee survey asks questions like: ‘Do you feel like you are getting a fair wage? Do you get along with your supervisor? Is your role the correct fit for you? Would you recommend employment at this company to a friend?' We try to get a feel for whether they are happy and if they are productive," Springer explained.

In order to generate valid results, the program required a minimum employee participation rate of 30 percent, but most organizations were far above that.

So, when the responses were tabulated, what characteristics were found to be the most important in creating a great workplace?

"More and more, we can see a continued focus on the balance between work and family life, and creating a ‘family-friendly environment,'" reported Springer, who has analyzed results from a number of organizations and industries. "That means both creating an environment like a family at work, where people feel appreciated and get along with their coworkers and supervisors, but also showing an understanding that employees have important issues outside of the workplace that they are involved with and responsible for. Workplaces that can help employees balance these two worlds are definitely appreciated, but it is different for every industry."

"The winners in this competition have found the right formula and no two are really the same," Springer continued.

Modern Healthcare will reveal the ranking of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare, from 1 to 100, in a special supplement to be published on October 27, 2008. The supplement also will recognize the top places to work by industry segment and by number of employees and will profile some of the recipients. Winners are invited to a special awards dinner on October 29.

Until that time, those organizations who earned their spot on the top 100 list can look forward to a number of benefits.

"Being recognized as one of the best places to work can help with recruiting and retaining good employees, and may separate those companies who succeed from those who don't in the future," reflected Burda. The program can also help participants find areas for improvement. "Each company gets their own individual results back, which they can use to make any changes they need to make."

Visit the Modern Healthcare Web site to view an alphabetical list of the 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. For more information on the awards program, visit

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