November 2002

Catholic Health Initiatives Builds Work
Community of Choice

11-02peopleStrategy-chart Photo

During the 2002 fiscal year, Catholic Health Initiatives had a goal to reduce system-wide employee turnover by 10 percent. The market-based organizations far exceeded that goal, achieving a collective reduction of almost 20 percent. This improvement in retention represents estimated savings on recruitment and training costs of nearly $2 million. At St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Md., a turnover rate of 22 percent dropped to 13.4 percent by the end of fiscal year 2002. "The improvement was the result of a lot of things," said Debbie Patrick, vice president of human resources for St. Joseph. "We made a major effort to ensure that St. Joseph provides competitive pay, especially among nurses because the Baltimore area has one of the most severe nurse shortages in the country. We also do things to show our employees that they are important, such as providing customer care training and organizing celebrations like our annual holiday dinner." Patrick also credits the Catholic Health Initiatives Medical Plan with boosting employee morale. "Our employees appreciate the very positive enhancements to the plan," she aid. "We also provided all employees with an analysis of their benefits to help them understand the total compensation they receive from St. Joseph, which I believe has increased employee satisfaction." Improved employee retention is just one aspect of Catholic Health Initiatives’ human resources initiatives, which are united by a single integrating strategy: to make the organization the work community of choice in every market it serves. "We believe this strategy will help us establish clear priorities and success measures for all of our human resources initiatives; identify desired behaviors for our managers and associates; and distinguish Catholic Health Initiatives and our market-based organizations in a competitive recruiting environment," said Michael L. Fordyce, chief administrative officer for Catholic Health Initiatives. "Our success as an organization in pursuing our People strategy is clearly supported by two critical foundations: organizational leadership and effectively aligned human resource policies, programs and practices." Catholic Health Initiatives’ Human Resources Group is taking multiple paths to building a work community of choice in the national offices and to support such efforts within market-based organizations: Leadership Development In partnership with the Mission Group, the Human Resources Group has made significant progress in the development and implementation of core leadership development programs. This area’s future focus will be on expanding leadership development resources to middle management; creating on-line leadership development tools and executive coaching resources; and pursuing the creation of a more formal leadership continuity planning process. Human Resources Policies, Programs and Processes The national human resources staff is currently evaluating all of the organization’s human resources policies, programs and processes to ensure that they are consistent with Catholic Health Initiatives’ promise to its employees. This includes the use of employee focus groups to investigate how current human resources programs meet their needs. These activities will support Catholic Health Initiatives’ pursuit of its People strategy and will serve as a framework for market-based efforts. "These pieces are part of our broader strategy of focusing on people, which is part of our new strategic plan," said Fordyce. "Becoming a work community of choice takes time, and is really a never-ending journey to which our core values call us to be faithful. It is helpful that many of our market-based organizations have already made tremendous progress in this area, thus providing other market-based organizations with access to best practices they can readily adapt." For more information on building a work community of choice, contact Michael Fordyce at