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25 Jan. 2021 | Comments (0)

HCA Healthcare is a leading provider of healthcare services; comprising 184 hospitals and over 2,000 sites of carein 21 U.S. statesand the United Kingdom. Over the past months, HCA employees have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic both delivering healthcare and engaging with their communities. The strategic partnership between HCA’s Human Resources and Philanthropy & Community Engagement teams makes this possible. To discuss this partnership and how community engagement is at the core of HCA employees’ value proposition, I recently spoke with HCA leaders; Joanne Pulles, Vice President, HCA Healthcare Community Engagement and President of The HCA Healthcare Foundation; Carla Worthey Assistant Vice President, Key Talent Acquisition & Development; and Joe Flynn, Assistant Vice President, HCA Healthcare Community Engagement and President of The HCA Healthcare Hope Fund.

Our conversation revealed that the partnership between HR and Philanthropy & Community Engagement at HCA is an exemplar of a cross-departmental collaboration that benefits HCA, its employees, and the communities they support, thus yielding the following key takeaways: 

  • HCA’s brand is an extension of its culture, which is founded in part on attracting highly dedicated, service-driven employees;
  • Employees sharing common values can result in a familial sense of care for one another – especially during times of crisis;
  • HR and CSR functions can collaborate to ensure a continuous pipeline of employee volunteers;
  • Engaged, value-driven employee volunteers increase the effectiveness of companies’ non-profit partners, thus their ability to positively impact communities they serve.

Tony: What are the origins of the relationship between HCA’s Community Engagement/Philanthropy and Human Resources departments?

Joanne: For several years during my tenure at HCA, I reported to the Chief Human Resource Officer. My experience and grounding in our HR functions helped me see the clear connections between the two areas and develop them over time. HCA Healthcare recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and had a change in leadership and this was an inflection point for accelerating our work between our employees and communities across the country.

Carla: Joanne’s understanding of our HR functions makes it an easy partnership because there is mutual interest and purpose. I also think both of our functions contribute to the HCA Healthcare brand. For us, a brand is not just a logo, advertising, sponsorships, PR, or marketing. Brands inspire how people feel,influence how they behave,and compel them to act.

Tony: You have a new CEO who stated HCA is in the “people business.” What does that mean to each of you and how do you work together?

Carla: For us, it means that the employee value proposition includes community engagement. Therefore, working in partnership with Joanne and her CSR team is a given. Jointly, we are defining and working on the HCA brand from the inside out with our employees. In terms of talent acquisition, it makes us meaningfully different from our competitors.

Joanne: Our employees are the best representatives of the HCA brand. Our nonprofit partners see the value of authentic engagement from our employees every day. In 2019, our HCA Healthcare colleagues logged 107,000volunteer hours and donated a total of $14.9 million to nonprofits with HCA matching dollars.

Tony: How did you develop your employee value proposition and community engagement work?

Carla: Our marketing colleagues began the process by having conversations with employees at all levels and across the entire organization. This exercise revealed that our colleagues want to work where colleagues support each other, their communities, and are provided opportunities to engage in these types of activities. Based on what we learned, we developed our employee value proposition to express the core reasons people are proud and motivated to work for our organization. To provide the absolute best healthcare possible, we eagerly embrace the challenges of our profession and welcome new opportunities to grow and make a positive impact. And just like family, we pull together to care for, support, and celebrate with patients and each other.

HCA Healthcare delivers on its promise. The work really begins in our recruiting process. We look for candidates with community demonstrated behavior. We want community engagement to be in candidates’ DNA. Once hired, community engagement continues to be a thread throughout employees’ journey.

Joanne: For our CSR work, we build on our employee value proposition and serve as a connecting point to our communities. Our HR team recruits employees that are already rooted in caring for community. This allows us to integrate CSR into the entire employee journey and helps us leverage their passions and enable deeper connections with communities.

Tony: One of HCA’s brand promises for the employee value proposition is Care Like Family. Please tell us how your respective areas are part of this program.

Joe Flynn: One of the shining examples of Care Like Family is our employee relief fund called, the Hope Fund. We have over 40,000 colleagues contributing to this fund. HR is a key partner in creating awareness about the fund resulting in a high participation rate from all corners at our organization.

Carla: The Hope Fund is the number one way employees experience the promise of care like family.   When employees hear or see their colleagues in distress, they want to be there for them. We saw this particularly with the response to COVID-19, which impacted many of our front-line health care workers and their mental well-being.

Tony: Joanne, Carla and Joe, thanks for sharing your partnership model. You provided us with some concrete examples of how you can leverage each of your areas to create a greater purpose for the whole organization. In a time of increased health care needs, your partnership is a living example of not only caring like family but also connecting to purpose and caring about community beyond the HCA system. Thanks for your insights.  

  • About the Author:Tony Tapia

    Tony Tapia

    Tony Tapia is the Program Director for The Conference Board Philanthropy & Engagement Council. Tony has over 25 years of experience working in the nonprofi t, philanthropic and corporate sectors. …

    Full Bio | More from Tony Tapia


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