Creating a positive environment
Physicians Surgical Hospitals works hard to keep turnover low
Physicians Surgical Hospitals in Amarillo, Texas, typically has a staff turnover of under 5% a year, an enviable number for most hospitals, where turnover usually is closer to 15% a year. Helping to retain employees are many common perks such as employee appreciation parties, bonuses and staff awards. There are also some less typical benefits. For example, employees are treated to free breakfast and lunch every day, prepared by a chef. The two-hospital system also has a fitness center open around the clock for employees and their family members.
The two hospitals, which primarily offer elective surgeries and pain management, are open 24/7, but they schedule most surgeries during the normal 9-to-5 workday. “That, frankly, is something employees like,” CEO Brad McCall said. “The majority of our staff works a regular work week, which is unusual in healthcare.”
Physicians Surgical Hospitals is No. 1 in the ranking of small providers in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare for 2015. It’s No. 4 among all providers and No. 8 overall.
People like working there, despite what seems like a hectic pace for the 100 or so employees at each facility. They are involved in more than 650 surgeries a month between the two facilities.
McCall believes less tangible factors also make Physicians Surgical stand out, including owners who focus on hiring employees who fit the culture and aren’t in a faraway corporate office.
“What’s our secret sauce? We have physicians who are owners and are highly engaged,” McCall said. That means “decisions are all made by doctors, not in a board room.”
And those doctors have insisted on higher-than-normal staffing ratios. “We try to keep our ratios on the pro-patient side, maybe not so much on the pro-pocketbook side,” McCall said.
That translates into a positive working environment that reduces stress on the staff.
“Our nurse-to-patient ratio is 1-to-4 on average,” said Shannon Smith, a registered nurse and case manager. “You can take care of your patients like you want to take care of your patients.”
Those attributes, along with workplace perks, draw a lot of applicants from the Texas Panhandle and the surrounding area who would like to be employed by Physicians Surgical—which in turn allows the company to strengthen its position as a good place to work, because it can hire those who best fit the organization’s culture.
“We’re a coveted place to work,” McCall said. “That allows you to be selective.”
Managers at Physicians Surgical Hospitals work hard to retain their staff, shown here in a group picture at an annual meeting.