Bring the Flame Thrower…Every Day!


Culture can make or break a company. As the “keeper of the culture” where I work, I find it imperative to sustain, maintain and enhance our culture – our culture is one of the things that makes us the apple of our patient’s eye and the regional employer of choice. Like many HR pros, I am always looking for new and inventive ways to enhance corporate culture. I am open to ideas.

In January, I had the pleasure of seeing Jim Knight (, @KnightSpeaker) speak at the January GMSHRM meeting. Jim has many years in training and development including a long stint at Hard Rock (which explains the “rock and roll” style and language he uses). He is dynamic and has good ideas. He uses energetic style to convey how he sees culture – and he sees culture the way companies should. I had a few takeaways that I want to share. These are some thought provoking quotes from his presentation. The title is another one Jim shared.

  • Hire rock stars, not lipsynchers
  • Great sustainable brands create memorable experiences
  • Brands must differentiate themselves from the rest in order to survive and thrive
  • Don’t terminate employees, promote them to customer
  • Brand ambassadors are cultural amplifiers
  • Every life has a story, if we stop to read it
  • Position your brand to be tattoo-worthy

And one of my favorites…

  • Plant seeds today to create an army of giants tomorrow

I left with so many ideas, I thought I would bust! Jim kept the conversation going and was gracious enough to hang out afterwards to answer questions and interact with the audience. If you get the chance, see Jim Knight. He was great!

What culture enhancing ideas do you have to share? I am interested in hearing from you.

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#19 in the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work For in 2014!

For those in the know, Baptist Health South Florida (BHSF) is a great employer. I have worked for BHSF since October 2011 and have seen first hand the great things we do for our employees and their families. As the article states, BHSF has “Culture of Caring” Caring for patients, guests and employees. With so many great benefits and other perks, our employees can have long, fruitful careers at the “Best Place to Be Your Best”. Find out more at

Here is some of the press

CNN Money


Great Rated

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HR Caring for HR

Part of our role, is to care for the employees and leaders in our businesses. We do this via benefit plans, compensation programs, talent acquisition, performance management plans, employee relations and, sometimes, we just lend our ears (and hearts and souls) to someone who needs to talk. Our work lives are filled with building the employee experience and company brand. All this can lead to some serious self-neglect. Something that I forget from time to time is that I am an employee, too. Yes, I get the same benefits and perquisites of the other employees, but I forget that I have an HR department to go to for help.

I work in a hospital system and have learned that doctors and nurses don’t utilize healthcare the same way the rest of the population does. They self-diagnose, identify treatment on their own and, in general, avoid going to the doctor at all costs. Unless it is an absolute necessity. Similarly in HR, I find myself being my own employee relations consultant when I have work my way through my personal trials or tribulations in the workplace. I have seen situations when HR needed HR to get though something. And more importantly, some HR team members have needed access to programs that HR encouraged to other areas but neglected to have for their own staff. How often are we helping other departments build talent management programs, succession plans and development opportunities? Are using those ideas to address the needs of our own department and staff?

Building a vibrant and highly effective HR team can be of huge benefit to any company. An important thing for HR departments to remember is to have programs in place to develop staff at all levels and have a plan for the future of the department. Sometimes, HR needs to sit back and practice what we preach and invest in our own team members. How else will be ready to meet the strategies of the company?

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What Does EVP Mean to You?

What gets you out of bed in the morning and gets you to work? Your coworkers? The work you perform? Your paycheck? Maybe it is to try to find another job outside your current employer?

EVP, Employee Value Proposition. EVPs delineate a company’s employee expectations and what, in turn, that employee gets for fulfilling that expectation. It is what drives employees to go to work and what keeps them coming back day after day and year after year. The EVP includes total rewards, work environment, leadership stamina and compassion and the employee’s personal connection to the company. A balanced EVP helps retain organizational knowledge, customers, values and, of course, employees. Some of the best companies in the world build total reward strategies that are both sustainable and are uniquely employee-centered, thus tapping in to and maximizing each employee’s discretionary effort to the benefit of the company. A solid and robust EVP is a win-win for the company and employee.

As we all know, the cost of turnover is high and growing every day. In healthcare, the cost of RN turnover can range from $35,000 to almost $50,000 for each bedside nurse who leaves. And with economic recovery and a lowering of unemployment rates, companies are seeing rising turnover costs. A phenomena of sorts that I am seeing where I live is a sharp increase in the value of real estate. While this can be a good thing for sellers in the market, it is creating a bit of a “perfect storm” for my company. Employees who have been trying to sell their homes are finally doing so and they are relocating to less expensive parts of the state – outside of our area. This in turn drives the living expenses higher and higher and thus shutting out certain employee levels from living locally. Coupling this with an unemployment rate hovering around 4%, recruiting can be a challenge with affordable housing supplies very limited and access to public transportation almost non-existent. This makes the case for our hospital to have an even more vigorous EVP in order to attract and retain stellar talent. Fortunately, our employment brand is well known and respected locally and regionally however some other companies I know are not as lucky. Either they will have to raise their stake in employment valuation or find alternatives to staffing predicaments. Either way, the EVP standard will continue to rise and companies with high levels of employee engagement will have to find new ways to attract and retain talent.

What is your company’s EVP?

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Ch Ch Ch Changes (not the Bowie kind)

Show of hands – how many of you are good with change? I don’t mean pennies, nickels and dimes but workplace and personal changes. I have known people who are great with change and others who are scared of it. Change can prompt some emotional responses from people. Is change good? Yes, no, maybe. Whatever your answer is the fact remains that change will happen – at work, at home or anywhere else. Here are some simple steps and ideas to help your company – or you – prepare for and implement change.

Hopefully, your company has some processes or practices in place to navigate change. If not, these are great to have in place before changes come about and need to be put in place. Be sure to know the core objectives and the business strategy of the company so the change initiatives will be in alignment. These procedures are not a one size fits all and might require input from various areas to foster cohesion for the company. In addition to identifying the change procedures, determine how the change will be measured, what will be needed and
who will perform the change movement tasks. Designated change teams are a great idea, even if the members rotate on and off the team as needed. Also, come up with an escape plan for when change falters or fails.

Okay, it’s time to figure out what is going on. See what the process or situation was and what it needs to be. Taking an objective look at what needs to change can help release some of the emotion from the equation. Change can come from many places, internally and externally, and in different forms and degrees. Take time to analyze and look at all facets of the change. Sometimes minutia can create big challenges during the implementation phase.

Next, ask “How do we get there?” and put together a specific time line, plan or any other mechanism to move through the change and implement it. Sometimes these changes are simple to implement and might cause little or no disruption to the operation. Other times, the momentum of the change can lead to great waves. Important to this step is taking the time to calculate the impact and come up with potential solutions before the situations arise. Remember the adage – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be ready for the unexpected.

Now, implement the change and take it in stride. There should be deadlines and target dates for the implementation progression. However allow for acceptance and integration of the change by the team(s) affected. Not everyone will be on your time line unless your time line allows for this important step. Some training might need to given on how to accept the more significant changes and be sure to allocate the appropriate time for this. Pushing a change works best when all parties adopt it and are on board.

Last but not least – evaluate and tweak the change as necessary. Hopefully measurements were identified at the beginning so the outcome can be weighed against them. If the change went through without a hitch, great! If not, this is where you look at what might need adjustment so the change can meet expectations. Documenting the change and its process is important as this step including noting what worked and what might need to be altered for future situations.

Interestingly enough, I used to be one who had challenges with change. I noticed the development need and worked on it, now I am fine with change and see the value in implementing processes to help guide change in the workplace and my personal life. I now regularly look at change as an adventure full of new knowledge conquests and building my skill sets. Today, change is good for me. Change is here to stay and isn’t going anywhere so get used to it!

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