APA Center for Organizational Excellence: National Winner

The Awards

Large Not-for-Profit Category

St. Luke’s

Patients and Understanding

Minnesota – As a hospital, St. Luke’s scores off the charts in employee retention, job satisfaction, health and morale because all who work there have an active say in the policies that affect them and their patients.

Employee Involvement

Employees at St. Luke’s are active participants in organizational policy thanks to many staff-run committees, self-managed work groups, and problem-solving and continuous-improvement teams. In addition, there is a dedicated focus on Lean principles, designed to meet patient needs as efficiently as possible. In 2010, St. Luke’s hired a full- time Lean coordinator to conduct ongoing staff training and coordinate process improvement projects. Since then, nearly 200 St. Luke’s staff have completed a comprehensive 11-session Lean curriculum.

Health and Safety

St. Luke’s commitment to safety is upheld by a number of committees including its Safe Patient Handling Committee, Safety Committee and Employee Health Committee. Largely due to these efforts, there has been a decline in the number of workplace injuries and worker’s compensation claims over time, despite an increase in the total number of employees. With its Safe Patient Handling Committee, established to improve the number, frequency and severity of injuries in the nursing units and to improve overall patient care and safety, St. Luke’s was truly at the forefront of developing protocols that have now become the legal standard.

Employee Growth and Development

St. Luke’s encourages employees to participate in educational programs to increase their knowledge and skills in their current job or in a possible future position within the organization. The hospital’s Education Department offers more than 200 skills and certification courses that so far have served nearly 2,000 employees and other health care professionals. To support new managers and directors, the hospital’s human resources department worked with a management consultant to develop a seven-session seminar focusing on personal leadership principles.

Work-Life Balance

St. Luke’s provides flexible spending account benefits to assist with dependent childcare or eldercare costs along with adequate paid time off for holidays, sick days and vacations. In addition to paid time off, St. Luke’s offers several personal leaves of absence and flexible leave options beyond those required by law.

Employee Recognition

Main Artery, St. Luke’s weekly newsletter, contains a “Department of the Month” column that highlights a different department, unit or clinic, introducing employees and explaining what they do. Every year, St. Luke’s recognizes hundreds of individuals at the annual Employee Service Awards Dinner, with special shout-outs to those who reach designated service milestones. The Team of the Month program is a peer-to-peer morale builder in which employees nominate outstanding teams in the organization. The holidays include an annual Christmas Tea for staff and cash vouchers to local businesses.

The Bottom Line

Low turnover rates, high productivity, an average employee tenure of 11 years, workforce stability and an outstanding safety record all make St. Luke’s an attractive place to work for dedicated healthcare professionals. One of the most impressive statistics, and one that plays a significant role in controlling costs, is the 55 percent reduction in the number of lost-time claims reported. The cost of worker’s compensation claims, for example, declined from more than $1 million in 2006 to less than $200,000 in 2010.

"We are pleased that our efforts have been recognized and feel these honors will further inspire our commitment to promote a workplace that supports family, health and education."

Carl R. Kjeldsberg, M.D.
CEO and Chairman of the Board
ARUP Labratories, Past Winner, Utah