Summit Total Rewards Program helps employees, patients | Show Low

SHOW LOW — Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center has earned a five-star rating from CMS for quality and safety of patients. CMS is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of 82 CMS hospitals in Arizona, Summit was one of six to receive that rating. Stevie Billingsley, recruiter, attributes the high rating in large part to the quality of employees and the level of patient care they administer. “We are constantly striving to improve the care experience for our patients. This last year we implemented the “Total Rewards Program.” This new program incentivizes employees based on a list of dynamics that have a lot to do with the level of care here at Summit.”

The total Rewards Program at Summit takes many of the conventional benefit packages and enhances them to attract highly-qualified individuals from out of market and to retain current employees. Some of the enhancements include a deeper menu of benefits including education assistance, wellness program, extended illness benefit and more.

Other incentives include sign-on and relocation bonuses and employee referral program to entice highly qualified recruits. Merit raises, top of scale bonus and super-users incentive pay contribute to the high performer retention incentives too.

In professional development areas the Total Rewards Program offers peer interviewing for employee review and accountability, free CPR classes and other professional development opportunities. In employee recognition, Summit High Performers are rewarded with a quarterly lunch with the CEO and Board chair. The Daisy/Gem Award for nurses and non-clerical employees, SHINE newsletter recognitions and the Good Catch Program which recognizes employees who avoid possible patient safety disasters.

We asked Connie Kakavas, Chief Human Resource Officer, about the vision and mission of her department. “Summit Healthcare is proud to be the largest employer in the White Mountain Region and is very supportive of our local communities for employing the very best of the best. We provide competitive wages, excellent benefits and a very unique “Gain Share” program that allows us to share our success with our employees. We recognize that higher education is not always available to local high school graduates, but we provide the opportunity for those individuals to return home to treat friends, family and neighbors with compassion and the highest quality of healthcare that is equal to the quality of highly rated healthcare organizations in the Valley for those services and specialties we provide.

We have an excellent history for “growing our own” through our nurse residency program and invite clinicians and support staff to join our team and enjoy the benefits of working with an organization that is quality, employee and community minded.”

Summit Human Resources recently added Mark Cockson as the Employee Relations Specialist for Summit Healthcare. In this capacity he is responsible for Employee Relations, which includes the Employee Engagement Survey, Policy Development and Maintenance, Credential Monitoring (suspensions and expirations), Investigations, Performance Management, and Unemployment.

Mark has over 36 years experience recruiting, training, developing and managing high-performing teams in a global environment. Prior to joining Summit in April 2017, he held Director and Vice President level roles in an organization with 10,000 employees located in 48 offices across 26 countries. He has experience in a variety of areas including Human Resources, Operations, Business Development and Marketing.

The planned expansion to a north campus on White Mountain Road in Show Low and an increase of approximately 100 employees will create a tall order for the human resources department. “The addition of the specialty care clinics and outpatient services the new campus will create an immediate need for new employees. We wanted to raise our standards in order to recruit high performers and promote quality employees currently on our payroll.

By retaining current employees and promoting within, Summit increases quality of care to their patients and does not have to spend extra money to recruit, train or relocate new employees.” She added, “We face new challenges as our hospital expands and Baby Boomers start to require more services. Nationwide there is a shortage of nurses, so recruiting them can be quite costly.”

Stevie Billingsley, recruiter at Summit offered advice to people looking for careers in the health care field. “If someone wants to fast track a high paying career with an immediate need they should pursue a career in nursing. That field will always be in high demand and the educational requirements are not as difficult.” Stevie said it can cost upwards of $50,000 to $60,000 to recruit, train and retain employees on an individual basis.

Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center is Navajo County’s largest employer with well over 1,150 employees. Employee satisfaction runs high as employees benefit from paid time off, paid holidays, health, dental, vision, life insurance, retirement, yearly increases, quarterly success sharing and much more. Other benefits and perks include discounted gym memberships and services at Serenity Spa and meals in the cafeteria. Incentives are offered on an ongoing basis like the “High Performers’ Lunch” where employees are rewarded for exceptional care and shining star moments.

The Summit Human Resources team is Connie Kakavas, Chief Human Resources Officer, Stevie Billingsley, Recruiter, Emily Weinacker, Total Rewards Specialist, Cassie Hawkins, Benefits Analyst, Brandi Cooley, HR Coordinator, Mark Cockson, Employee Relations Specialist and Brenda Lunt, HR Assistant.

In terms of finding the right personnel for specialized positions the search is still the difficult part.

“I have to utilize several nationwide talent agencies and publications to find skilled technicians and registered nurses. Local talent is always preferred, but our growth and the demand always exceeds the supply here at home.” Billingsley added, “However, we do know that a lot of people that grew up in this community have training and moved off the mountain. We would love the opportunity to talk to those people in hopes of getting those employees with ties here back on the mountain.”

Potential employees should start by looking at the job listings at: Once they find an attractive opportunity they should apply online, directions for the application process are found on that site. The hiring process can be lengthy.

Once an application is submitted it is screened to see if the applicant meets the qualifications for the position. If the screener feels the applicant is qualified then the application will be forwarded to the hiring manager at the specific department. Then the hiring manager will see if they think the applicant is a good fit then the manager will reach out for an interview.

The next step is a “peer” interview. That interview is conducted by several team members from the department. When all of these steps are successfully completed the recruiter will be notified to extend an offer of employment.

A pre-employment physical, background check and references are contacted. “We know the process doesn’t move as quickly as candidates would like.” Billingsely continued, “But we need stringent steps in place to ensure we properly vet our potential employees.” Stevie said her door is always open. “I don’t have an issue meeting with applicants. Good communication is important in the hiring process.”

The Human Resource Department is located on the 5th floor at Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center, 2200 E. Show Low Lake Road 928-537-6520. Job listing are updated every Friday afternoon:

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