The votes are in and "the people" have spoken - Northeast Georgia Medical Center has been selected as one of the 10 best places to work in Georgia.
"The people" in question are the medical center's employees.
Every year, based on employee nominations, Georgia Trend Magazine compiles a list of the best places to work statewide.
"We are honored to be named among this elite group and are thankful for the employees who submitted comments in support of our organization," said Jim Gardner, Northeast Georgia Health System CEO and president.
"Our employees are one of our most valuable assets and a key to our success."
Although monetary rewards play a role in creating happy employees, Gardner said the medical center's success is based on larger principles.
"This sort of recognition is a culmination of many factors. If you think about it simplistically, most folks may gravitate towards benefits and salaries," Gardner said.
"It's really about the larger culture that we've been able to forge together - keyword ‘together.' It involves the boards, the medical staff - everyone. What separates good from great on this measurement is having transparent communication at all levels."
Establishing open lines of communication is something that medical center officials take seriously.
"We hold town hall meetings two to three times each year. We just finished a set of those two weeks ago," Gardner said.
"Those meetings are an opportunity for us to communicate to employees about what is happening in the health system. We are firm believers in no surprises."
Communication isn't a one-way street, Gardner said.
Employees also get the opportunity to give their feedback to administrators. Every three years, the center brings in a third-party group to administer confidential, employee opinion surveys.
"The surveys are made available to 100 percent of our staff. We just completed one about a month ago and had a 76 percent participation rate,"
"On the latest survey, 83 percent of the nurses believed said they have the opportunity to come to work and do what they do best. For 83 percent of nurses to say that they are able to come to work and do what they were trained to do, to do what they are interested in doing, I think that's a real measure of how we are doing as an organization."
The employee surveys aren't just a dead document sitting on the shelf, administrators say.
"When we do these opinion surveys, we have found weaknesses. We use the survey results to develop an action plan that we measure ourselves against during those years in between the surveys," Gardner said.
"The benchmarks from that plan are part of how our
leadership team is evaluated. There are 4,000 employees here. Leadership plays an important role in our success. But it takes everyone coming together to create this sort of culture."
"It's all about determining how we can make our organization even better."
Other employers on Georgia Trend Magazine's list include Shaw Industries in Dalton, Carroll EMC in Carrollton and Delta Community Credit Union in Atlanta.