Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Lakeridge Health was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016):
- Lakeridge Health provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new moms or dads (including adoptive parents) and offers an option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence (depending on their position)
- In addition to providing contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, Lakeridge Health helps employees prepare for the future with retirement planning assistance
- Lakeridge Health supports ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions and subsidies for professional accreditation
Lakeridge Health follows a path to excellence
Lakeridge Health unfurled an ambitious five year strategic plan back in 2010-11 that set some ambitious goals for this community hospital perched on the eastern edge of the GTA.
The plan was the result of extensive discussions with the local community, industry partners and healthcare professionals at the hospital. When it was done, its vision was both simple and challenging: "Excellence - every moment, every day."
The strategic plan targets a number of key areas. These are to enhance the patient experience, be the safest and healthiest hospital in the province and to invest in facilities, equipment, technology and training, notes Kevin Empey, President & CEO.
"This current phase of the Lakeridge Health strategic plan focuses on supporting a psychologically healthy workforce, learning and training, and technology and innovation," he says. "It's the natural next step following some of our earlier successful initiatives."
Lakeridge Health serves the growing regional municipality of Durham. It runs four hospitals, in Oshawa, Bowmanville, Port Perry and Whitby, as well as 16 smaller health centres. Lakeridge Health manages a budget of $480 million and treats approximately 1,600 patients daily.
In the last year, Lakeridge Health has built on its goal for employees of becoming the healthiest hospital workforce in Ontario with the launch of its new Step Up and Stand Together campaign.
"This campaign is all about creating an even more collegial and respectful workforce. That way we can attract and inspire the best healthcare workforce possible," explains Empey. "Staff are participating enthusiastically, which is really fantastic."
Lakeridge Health has three pillars of wellness programs. These are physical, occupational and psychosocial. Lakeridge Health has also created strong supports and programming that focuses on each of these pillars.
Healthcare is often stressful, so Lakeridge Health is working hard to support staff, volunteers and physicians, notes Empey. "They are the ones we entrust with giving compassionate care to every person who comes through our doors," he says. "But part of being compassionate is also making sure we are taking care of each other."
Joshua Theodore, an Occupational Therapist, strongly believes in this collective approach. He has been a member of an inter-professional practice council for a few years so he knows what team-oriented success is like. Theodore says everyone is interdependent, and working together benefits staff and patients.
"Communication and collaboration are important in a large matrix organization like Lakeridge Health. In our professional group, doctors, nurses, dieticians, therapists, and social workers get together every morning to coordinate plans for looking after patients. It makes a big difference," he explains.
A significant part of the strategic plan's focus on technology and innovation is in upgrading the physical space to provide a better patient experience and an enhanced work environment for staff. "We are continually looking to invest in new ways to protect our staff from injury," says Empey.
Lakeridge Health is also partnering with other regional healthcare providers to compare notes on learning tools and how to help frontline staff become leaders. As part of this initiative, occupational teams have visited other hospitals to see firsthand what they are doing.
The hospital is very supportive of staff going outside for learning as they bring back skills and ideas that everyone can benefit from, explains Theodore.
"Lakeridge Health is a wonderful place to work," he says. "You get professionally involved with many talented people and teamwork is very strong."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Greater Toronto's Top Employers winners, published December 8, 2015 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.