Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 6, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Fraser Health Authority was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2016):
- Varying by employee group and position, Fraser Health Authority offers its new mothers maternity leave top-up payments (from 10 to 17 weeks) and helps employees balance their work and personal lives with alternative work options and starting vacation entitlements that range between three and four weeks (previous work experience is also considered when setting vacation entitlements for experienced candidates)
- Fraser Health Authority encourages ongoing professional development with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions, online training programs and subsidies for professional accreditation -- the organization also encourages employee fitness with free membership to an onsite fitness facility that features instructor-led classes for activities such as yoga and Zumba
Fraser Health works hard to support its people
Lorna Jensen loves her job at Fraser Health so much she travels 96 km daily to get there. She commutes more than an hour each way from Chilliwack, B.C., where she lives, to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster and has done so for over 20 years.
"Initially I came to Royal Columbian for the work experience but stayed because of the team spirit. We have an amazing group with lots of support from physicians and the leadership team," says Jensen, a Clinical Nurse Educator.
Jensen has been a Fraser Health employee for 25 years. She started as a nurse, based in Burnaby Hospital for three years and then in Royal Columbian from 1994 onwards.
She became a clinical nurse educator in 2005, specializing in PeriAnesthesia, and enjoys mentoring new staff in this area.
Fraser Health provides care to over one million British Columbians living in the Burnaby to Hope region of the province. Headquartered in Surrey City Central, it serves 14 rural and urban communities with 12 hospitals and 25,000 hospital staff, 2,500 physicians and 6,500 volunteers.
"At the heart of healthcare is its people and that is certainly true for Fraser Health. Our new-hire and Pulse surveys show employees come and stay with us because of the people they work with and that makes me very proud," says Wendy Strugnell, Vice President, People and Organization Development.
Because Fraser Health is a large, complex organization, a wide range of roles and skills are required for it to run effectively. As a result there are many rewarding job opportunities plus the flexibility for staff to move around and develop their careers.
According to Strugnell, a priority is to have team-based, collaborative working environments. These are being successfully created in rural locations and there is a push to get urban centres to the same level. Fraser Health also has a number of initiatives on the go focused on the employee experience.
"Each day, I take some time to focus on our people and hear about how to create respectful workplaces for them," Strugnell says. "My inspiration comes from the incredible work they do."
Fraser Health's Engagement Radical program is a key component in strengthening frontline employee engagement. This program encourages staff to suggest improvements to their working environments and helps them become more resilient to change.
About 5,000 employees are part of the Engagement Radical network. One member, a senior nurse, was invited to speak to the executive team about her role, the program and where it has made a difference to her frontline world. The next goal, notes Strugnell, is to get program members more strategically involved.
High Five Your Healthcare Provider is another initiative. Its aim is to celebrate the important work staff do that exemplifies Fraser Health's patient-centred model.
What I Do Matters is a campaign that builds on High Five Your Healthcare Provider. It recognizes the role of support teams in delivering healthcare and highlights their connection to local communities.
Violence Prevention is a significant initiative that calls upon staff, patients and the public to be accountable for ensuring workplaces are free from violence. The aim is to create a culture where everyone feels safe, enabling staff and physicians to perform their best.
Fraser Health also offers flexible hours, schedules and a choice of locations to suit the evolving family lives of employees. In addition, it provides a comprehensive benefits package plus opportunities for staff to attend conferences and take courses to enhance their skills.
According to Jensen, Fraser Health is particularly supportive of its nurses, encouraging them to explore different areas of nursing such as cardiac, emergency or pediatric and change specialization if desired.
"The leadership team is working hard to create the right culture and best practices," she says, "That improves the lives of nurses, other frontline staff and our patients."