To promote employee well-being in the broader sense, Kootenai has a number of policies and services aimed at achieving work-life balance. Perhaps the centerpiece of this is the on-site child-care center, which cares for newborn through kindergarten-age children and offers employees a chance to have lunch with their offspring. “That's been a huge benefit,” Klocko says.
To further work-life balance and employee health, the organization hired a chef about 1½ years ago in the cafeteria who's upped the quality of food and given employees the ability to order freshly prepared takeout meals at the end of the day to take home to their families.
“We provide, like grocery stores do now, hot meals so that—when a working mother gets off, the last thing they want to do is go home and cook dinner,” Klocko says. “They get a good, wholesome hot meal served right in the cafeteria, boxed up and ready to serve to their family.”
For those who feel the need to get away from work for an extended period and experience a different side of life and the healthcare field, Kootenai began offering paid monthlong sabbaticals last year to those who have been with the company for at least a decade.
“They have to do something else related to healthcare,” Klocko says. “They can go to Haiti and help out (and) be a missionary to a Third World country. They can do something in the local hospice. It's a nice break for them to get away. Because we have such long tenure, it's important for them to see what's on the other side; sometimes they think the grass is a little greener. They enjoy the experience, but then they're happy to be back at Kootenai.”
Kootenai puts a great deal of emphasis on professional development more generally, creating “action plans” during annual employee reviews and spending $750,000 a year on programming such as the Kootenai Leadership Academy, which Klocko believes has helped greatly in keeping turnover as low as 6%. “People who come here to work know they're not only going to grow into their job but grow into their knowledge bases,” he says. “Those (programs) have been tremendous for us.”
The offerings help employees keep up-to-date on their certifications and gain additional training to improve their competencies, Klocko says. “We probably have 15 to 20 employees a month going to conferences around the country,” he says. “When they come back, at their next department meeting, they're required to give a presentation on what they learned, what they brought back and what they're going to do to institute” that new knowledge.