Our People

Career Satisfaction and Career Longevity Start With Caring

December 18, 2023

Programs and resources are established to help train, retain and engage colleagues.

Betty Burke arrived at HCA Healthcare for her first day of work in the colleague benefits department feeling anxious about starting a new job.

“I was so nervous stepping onto the elevator, especially when I saw I was standing by a doctor,” Betty says. “But then Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Sr., gave me a big smile, introduced himself to me and made me feel at ease. Right there on my first day, he demonstrated the caring, compassionate culture of HCA Healthcare. It made a big impact on me, and I knew at that moment I had made the right decision in taking the job.”

Forty years later, Betty is the benefits operations analyst for the Human Resources Group (HRG), and she still believes that HCA Healthcare is the right place for her.

“What sets us apart is the caring culture — having managers and peers who care like family, collaborate willingly and jump in to support each other when needed,” she says.

Best practices in engagement

Taking conscious steps to learn and improve helps keep HCA Healthcare’s caring, compassionate culture alive and well. Over the past couple of years, the HRG has conducted intensive research into engagement and retention best practices across the company. The research included organizing an internal study of colleagues through on-site and virtual interviews; conducting surveys to dive deeper into trends and themes; and collecting stories from colleagues throughout the organization to further visualize what great engagement feels like in the halls of our hospitals, offices and sites of care.

“When we read the letters and stories from colleagues, we saw over and over again [that] it was caring connections that help people find success in their careers,” says Michelle Rozen, group vice president of Human Resources for HCA Healthcare. “Through this process, we learned the importance of having leaders who reach out, want to help in [our colleagues’] day-to-day world and provide experiences for growth.”

Information collected from that research is currently being used across HCA Healthcare to enhance engagement and retention strategies, including:

• Conducting targeted retention training workshops, with almost 2,600 managers throughout the organization completing training and with participating facilities seeing a 46% reduction in turnover from May 2022 to May 2023.

• Implementing best-practice training in new-leader orientation, emphasizing that rounding is about making connections with colleagues, identifying issues before they become a major problem and fostering an environment for career growth.

• Holding monthly retention calls with divisions to share resources, new ideas and best practices among hospitals

Our Colleague Networks provide a place for people to share stories, connect with others and take an active role in their communities. It’s been a great way for colleagues to feel like they belong to something bigger.

— Michelle Rozen, group vice president, Human Resources

After more than 50 years of delivering quality healthcare, HCA Healthcare continues to believe in the importance of making space for colleagues to be seen and heard.

Connecting with colleagues

Meaningful connections at work also come from peer recognition and a strong sense of community. HCA Healthcare’s commitment to colleagues encompasses each of these areas in a variety of ways. “As Sam Hazen says, we are in the people business,” Laura DeMotte, group vice president of Human Resources for HCA Healthcare, says. “We’re people taking care of people, and in order to provide quality care for our communities, we need to find the best ways to support and take care of our caregivers.”

The Colleague Recognition Program provides a platform for managers and directors to distribute points to colleagues for various accomplishments. Points can be redeemed for a variety of items from electronics to vacation gift cards, and colleagues receive rewards and recognition for a job well done. Peer-to-peer recognition is also important, and whether it’s a shoutout in team huddles or simply saying thank you, every hospital is finding great ways to encourage this practice.

HCA Healthcare’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) chapters are working to foster this sense of community and connection among colleagues as well. Colleagues can join one of nine Colleague Networks, all of which have corporate- and division-level chapters. Meetings are held on WebEx and in person, and chapters engage colleagues through a variety of events and activities, including:

• Celebrating with the LGBTQ+ Colleague Network at local events like the Richmond Kickers Pride Night (Capital Division) and a recent tailgate at the Pride Parade in Augusta (South Atlantic).

• Creating and sharing a database of Black-owned restaurants and retail stores across the Kansas City area (MidAmerica Division) during Black History Month in February.

• Inviting Sylvia Young, former Continental Division president, to discuss her career trajectory with the Young Professionals Colleague Network.

“Our Colleague Networks provide a place for people to share stories, connect with others and take an active role in their communities,” Michelle says. “It’s been a great way for colleagues to feel they belong to something, above just clocking in for a shift at work.”

I am thankful that I work for a company that supported me and invested in my development, and I want others to be aware of the opportunities available to them. Nursing is a lifelong endeavor, and things are constantly changing. It’s important to constantly keep ourselves educated.

— Sean Fitzgerald, director, 4 North/Dialysis, HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital

Creating meaningful career paths

Investing in colleague well-being also includes providing pathways to career development and supporting those endeavors.

“We are so proud to provide colleagues with incredible ways to grow and develop,” Laura says. “HCA Healthcare offers colleagues a career that can span a lifetime, complemented by multifaceted, best-in-class clinical, leadership and operational training and benefits like tuition reimbursement and discounts for continuing education.”

For Sean Fitzgerald, director of 4 North/Dialysis at HCA Florida Gulf Coast Hospital in Panama City, Florida, a conversation with his associate chief nursing officer encouraged him to look at earning his bachelor’s degree at Galen College of Nursing.

“I knew that I wanted to move into a leadership position, and she helped me understand that to progress and develop in my career, it was important to further my education,” Sean says. “I was really impressed with the structure of Galen’s program. The expectations as far as assignments are similar from course to course, which makes it manageable while also working full-time.”

Today, Sean is pursuing a master’s degree; and, as a director, he talks with individuals on his staff about their own development goals.

From sharing best practices among hospitals to encouraging and supporting career development along with many other facets of colleague engagement, HCA Healthcare is committed to building a strong, dedicated workforce.

“Caring for our colleagues first helps us take great care of our communities,” Laura says. “Our engagement story is so important because it’s how we create connections with our colleagues and help them make a difference from day one.”

Find Your Network

HCA Healthcare’s DEI initiative offers nine different groups:

Asian and Pacific Islander Colleague Network

Black Colleague Network

Diversability Colleague Network

Hispanic/Latinx Colleague Network

LGBTQ+ Colleague Network

Mental Health and Wellness Colleague Network

Veterans Colleague Network

Women’s Colleague Network

Young Professionals Colleague Network