To slow its turnover rate and boost the work ethic of its labor force, the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati two years ago began hiring people with disabilities through a screening program set up by the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission.
Thirty-two hires later, the six-hospital, 13,000-employee system reports a reduction in its vacancy rate to 5.5% from 7.1% and a reduction in turnover to 12.6% from 18.1%, results that have earned the system a Spirit of Excellence honorable mention in the team category.
"The turnover rate is one of the things that always kills you," says Alan Jones, vice president of human resources. While some employers who hire people with disabilities piece together jobs to match their skills, the Health Alliance has matched the skill sets to existing openings. Managers have learned word-of-mouth from their peers how well it has worked, Jones says.
Chris Kennedy, hired as job developer two years ago, says she's received very supportive feedback from employees. "I'm always approached by a co-worker who says, `My brother has a disability,' or `My neighbor has a disability,' " she says.
Denny Long, manager of the operating room, is pleased with both people he's hired through the program, one with a learning disability and one who is hearing impaired. "It seems like in today's work environment, the low performer tries to figure out how to get out of work," he says. "These people try to figure out how to do more work."