Commitment to satisfaction
St. Martin employees sign pledge to be supportive, respectful
The 125 employees at St. Martin Hospital, a 25bed critical-access hospital in Breaux Bridge, La., each year sign a pledge renewing their commitment to be respectful and supportive of one another. Their promises create a culture that makes for a happy workplace. “We believe that employee satisfaction drives patient satisfaction,” says Dane Carriere, director of laboratory and cardiopulmonary services. “A happy employee works harder and cares better for that patient, and you end up with an overall better outcome.”
St. Martin ranks No. 2 on the Best Places to Work roster for small provider/insurer organizations, those with between 25 and 249 employees. It also holds the No. 6 spot in the provider-insurer category and ranks No. 14 on the overall list. This is the first year St. Martin appears on the list.
RNnetwork, based in Boca Raton, Fla., is No. 1 this year in the small-provider/insurer category. The organization, which has been one of the Best Places to Work for two consecutive years, was profiled in last year’s awards. Visit modernhealthcare.com/bestplaces to read about the company and other previous winners.
St. Martin CEO Katie Hebert sees “extreme correlation” between employee satisfaction and patient satisfaction scores.
The hospital’s fiscal year-to-date patient satisfaction scores in both the emergency department and inpatient units are at the 93rd percentile, and had many months when they ranked in the 99th percentile ranking.
“For our patient satisfaction to consistently be in the over-90th percentile ranking speaks to the commitment and dedication of our staff to provide an excellent patient experience,” Hebert says. “This cannot be accomplished without an engaged workforce.”
Associate Administrator Bryan Laperouse attributes the workplace culture to St. Martin’s employee behavior standards. First implemented in 2010, the standards were updated in 2013 and rebranded as Employee S.E.R.V.I.C.E. Standards of Behavior to reflect seven categories: supportiveness, etiquette, respect, vibrancy, integrity, communication and excellence in service delivery.
In the supportiveness category, one standard states “I will recognize, praise and thank my fellow workers, as well as my customers and patients,” and another affirms “I will be a team player and work collaboratively to help others, including those outside of my department. I will avoid using
the phrase ‘That’s not my job.’ ”
Meanwhile, communication standards include “I will give and receive constructive criticism in a timely manner and turn it into an opportunity to improve,” and “I will remember that body language is a powerful communicator. I will smile and demonstrate an open, friendly posture.”
The standards are not just words on paper, Laperouse said. Every employee signs a pledge to uphold the standards when he or she is hired, and a “recommit” is signed annually thereafter.
“We follow these standards religiously,” he says. “We give the ownership of accountability to employees, and they do a great job of holding one another accountable.”
St. Martin’s leadership team endorsed the standards but they were determined by employees. A team of high-performing employees joined forces to solicit recommendations from the entire staff.
“Their charge was to ask and answer the questions, ‘What do we think is important at St. Martin Hospital? What are the standards that we hold dear, and that we think everyone in our hospital should uphold?’ ” Hebert says.
The behavior standards also come into play in the interviewing process. After a candidate has been interviewed by the hiring supervisor, he or she is interviewed by a team of employees who evaluate whether the candidate is likely to meet the standards.
In turn, new employees have interviews 30 days and 90 days after their hire date to see if St. Martin is the place they want to work.
“We want to ensure that we’re truthful upfront so we ask them, ‘How do we stack up to what we said? Are we living up to your expectations?’ ” Carriere says. “That reassures that employee that they are in the right place.”
For the Journey to Excellence Winter Olympics, St. Martin employees competed in several events related to the hospital’s S.E.R.V.I.C.E. Standards. Winners get a day off with pay, gift cards, a medal, other prizes and trophies, based on their team score.
St. Martin sponsors and hosts an annual gumbo cook-off for the United Way. Departments form teams and the hospital supplies all cooking materials and marketing campaigns.