In God We Trust…but how about my manager?

Peg Breen: September 20, 201212 Comments


About six weeks ago we hosted an Employer of Choice Decision Accelerator to find out what our employees think we can do better in regard to pay, benefits, learning, and culture.  We were in the middle of the first session, when my phone vibrated with a text message.   It said, “Call me!  I got it”.   The message was from my son Patrick

I stepped outside the Veterans Hall into the sunshine and heard the news that he had just been offered and accepted a job at the Arizona Republic, the 9th largest newspaper in the United States.   It is his first job out of college and he calls it his dream job.  I chatted with him for a few minutes, gave him a virtual high five, and when I re-entered the auditorium, felt a flood of emotions.  Relief that he got a job in this economy.  Joy that he was so happy, and pride, that all his hard work had paid off.   Then as the auditorium hummed with all the activity at the white boards, it hit me.  Our employees want what Patrick was lucky enough to find.

Pat has worked for this newspaper a couple of summers as an intern and has gotten to know his manager pretty well.  Why?  Because this guy cares about him.   I mean really shows an interest in his well-being.  He encourages Patrick to learn from the other experienced photographers.  He periodically does a portfolio review to discuss how he can improve.   When the week is over, this manager takes all the interns, who are in their 20s, out for some social time to get to know them.   When Patrick arrived there in June he received an exuberant welcome from his manager Mike, who shook his hand and with a big smile said,  “So you came back! Boy do we have some work for you to do!”  

I was curious to see how this place could be so inspiring to Patrick, so I decided to Google their mission statement. In large blue colored font the first three words tell it all.  To enrich lives, it begins .  And then four powerful C-words are included:  connect, communities, catalyst and conversations.  Now I had the picture of why Patrick was displaying the same signs you notice in love struck teenagers:  passion, loyalty, commitment, and immense consumption of cell phone minutes.  He wants to be one of them.  He wants to enrich other people’s lives. 

Mission Statement of Arizona Republic/Gannet Media:  To enrich livesby informing and inspiring consumers, by providing the ease and accessibility to connect them with their communities of interest, and by being a catalyst for the conversations that are making a difference every day."

When Mike gave Patrick his offer letter, the pay was pretty much what all interns make, which is not huge, but you would think that Pat had just landed a hedge fund job on Wall Street.  He’s made some mistakes in his first days, but his manager is pretty cool about it.   From what I can tell Mike doesn’t punish him or make him feel foolish or treat him badly. He lets him learn from the mistakes and I’m betting Pat won’t repeat them.  He’ll make new mistakes and if Mike is true to form, he’ll help Pat learn from these too.   What is so striking is that this manager has forged a relationship of trust, not just with Patrick, but all the interns. Why does this matter?   Steven Covey captures why in his book "The Speed of Trust.   Trust truly is the one thing that changes everything.

So as I reflected on what we heard at the Decision Accelerator it brought to mind the scene from the movie, “When Harry Met Sally,“ when the woman at the table next to Meg Ryan tells the waitress “I’ll have what she’s having!”  And what is that?  Here’s what our focus group participants said:

  • Pay me fairly.
  • Recognize my effort and accomplishments.
  • Help me learn and invest in my development not just my managers development.
  • Pick better supervisors; some of them shouldn’t work here.
  • Treat me with respect.
  • Teach me how to save for my retirement because I want to understand and make good decisions.
  • Don’t punish me for mistakes but help me learn from them.
  • Talk to me and involve me in decisions, because I’m smart and have something to give.
  • Let me use sick time when I’m ill and vacation time when I need vacation.
  • Give me flexibility so I can spend time with my family because I’ll come back more productive and happier.

And it was clear that our participants had huge pride that the patient care they deliver everyday is outstanding.  As one participant put it, “If you have a traumatic injury, you want to come to here. We save people’s lives.”

I want to thank each of the 230 participants in the Decision Accelerator and encourage them to post a note if they’d like to clarify or add to my list above.  Hopefully I got it mostly right.  I also want to thank two very creative and engaged employees from Clovis, Sarah Anderson and Kim Rodriguez.  They came to the session with a spreadsheet if you can believe that, to show us the impact of one particular policy and why we should change it. Kudos ladies - You rock!

We’ve started a list of projects so if you are interested just tap this LINK to the Forum or go to the HR department page on Forum to see what we're working on.   The management team is dedicated to taking action, so we can grow  and keep your trust.  Help us stay on task.  With your help we really can accomplish the one thing that changes everything.



12 responses to In God We Trust…but how about my manager?

I know that feeling!

That feeling that your son had is exactly the feeling I had when I first started with CRMC 6 years ago. Excitement, proud, eager and ready to work for a company that valued me as much as I valued them. The decision accelerator is what was needed to give future employees and current employees that same great feeling. If this organization can bring all the ideas that were outlined into action this place will never have a shortage of eager, excited and proud employees!

thanks for the story!

i totally agree with the "use my sick time when i'm sick, and my vacation time for when im on vacation" i have never worked anywhere else that does it this way. for those of us who work monday through friday, we have to use vacation time for every holiday. over christmas and new years can equal a whole vacation wasted that could have been with family.

Wow - didn't know that

Thanks for your comment. We'll look at that practice when we're examining this policy. Peg

sick time

being a long tenure employee it is worth asking if anything is being done to address the amount of sick time hours we have accured.many wonderful suggestion were given at my decision accelerator in particular was to be able to convert sick time hours toward insurance benefits when employees really does not seem fair to have accumulated so many sick leave hours and not get some kinda of financial compensation.our policy now gives no compensation for sick time which just seem wrong

Peg, the list is right on!

Peg, the list is right on! Thank you for bringing the "humaness" back into "human" resources. Thanks for exploring what we want, and what we need in this changing society. Thanks for understanding what you want for your own child and yourself, is what every employee is hoping to find in a career/job for themselves. The Undercover Boss show is an example of how upper management can learn first hand what the employees need, what they do, what they take pride in, and how they represent the company. I think the Decision meeting was the next best thing to upper management going undercover. It allowed us to be honest, and share our feelings. I personally feel honored to have been a part of it, and I look forward to what is to come. I "TRUST" that we will be heard.


Great article, and congratulations to your son and you Peg. Hopefully all or most of the employees, especially the new employees for Community, will feel this way. Being showed appreciation for hard work, getting help in learning from mistakes, and being provided education on how to be a better nurse or employee is better than getting a pay raise (of course it won't hurt either). I been working for Community for about 20 years now, and Community Hospitals has been great with me. I have a great boss, here in Clovis Community (Jeff Zwiefel). Hopefully I'll be here for 20 more years.

Thanks for this!

Thanks so much for recognizing your manager Jeff Z. I hope to see you at the service awards, receiving your 40 Year pin! Peg

Thank you!!

It is exciting to see the changes and development of our Hospital related to this meeting. The combined efforts of all those involved shows the quality of care and high standards of the employees and our Corporate Team.

Great post Peg. Your list is

Great post Peg. Your list is accurate regarding the themes and items that were commonly discussed in the Decision Accelerator. To me it is evident that CMC is sincerely and proactively seeking out ways to be an employer of choice. This is apparent with the organization and effort put forth to put on the Decision Accelerator meeting and in seeing immediate action plans and committees forming from the information gathered in that meeting. In Covey’s book he speaks about organizational trust and how it is the key principle to alignment within a corporation. He highlights the fact that organizations must take steps to retain and attract the most talented employees in their fields and that this is key to being competitive in the marketplace. I think the Decision Accelerator meeting was a great step by CMC to gain a substantial amount of ideas from its own employees on what is important to us so that CMC can gain and retain the most talented workforce and be the best employer in the Valley.

Efficient lines of

Efficient lines of communication are the best asset to any place of business. This letter effectively itemizes the desire between all levels of Community to improve themselves and thereby produce an even better product. This atmosphere of mutual respect and a desire for high standards reflects the Mission statement we are all familiar with. Thus, this meeting proves at Community, we live by example.



this article proves what is

this article proves what is possible and can be reality at crmc

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.