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November 11, 2013 2013 Top Workplaces

Education, Training & Career Development: Fallon Community Health Plan

Health insurer Fallon Community Health Plan, with 1,100 employees and five Central Mass. locations, has always focused on training and education.

Efforts began in earnest when Fallon (FCHP) released its company values in June 2011 — innovation, customer focus, teamwork and accountability. Those core values went on to shape not only employee performance-review goals, but also the employee engagement group: the V-Team.

“They are the voice of FCHP,” Linda St. John, chief human resources officer, said. “They make sure values are aligned with our strategic plan.”

The hiring of Talent Management Director Scott Beaird one year ago expanded already-strong efforts and initiatives.

St. John said the original V-Team started out with about 15 to 20 members, “to serve as a voice throughout the company, to collect and provide feedback to be sure company programs align with (the) vision and values,” she said. Members were chosen across departments, position levels and across sites.

Soliciting feedback from employees, V-Team members then seek out ways the company can improve to more accurately reflect FCHP's core values. They take those ideas to senior management. The team also now weighs in on employee engagement survey questions, gives out corporate recognition awards and its members write intranet blog entries as well, St. John said.

With the V-Team firmly established, Fallon also sought other ways to further engage and educate its workforce.

Enter FCHP's Learning Points program. It rewards employees for learning, with silver, gold, platinum and platinum-plus levels. Upper-level learners get gift card awards, according to the company. Sixty-nine percent of employees reached some Learning Points level in 2012, Beaird said.

Some of the ways FCHP employees earn points? This year, Beaird introduced The University, where employees can tune in to more than 400 hours of online classes. Then a Leadership Development program was formed. And Becker College began offering credit courses at the Fallon headquarters at night, with annual tuition reimbursement of up to $3,500 available per employee for work-related courses.

Another program FCHP offers to help employees stay in tune with industry issues is called Know The Business You're In. The on-site workshop topics can include overviews of iFCHP, the employee portal, or Medicare product updates.

FCHP also offers New Hire and New Leader programs.

In the New Hire program, the focus is on getting employees accustomed to FCHP, said St. John. “Some of it might be around 'How do I do timesheets?' The answer may be simple, but not on Day 1,” she said. The program may also explore some of the vernacular around healthcare acronyms, she said.

For new managers, meanwhile, the New Leader program not only helps them start out as strong as they possibly can, but it bonds managers overall, said St. John. Each is assigned an advisor manager in another department. “We want to be sure managers start their careers here with the support they need to be successful,” Beaird said.

Employee goals are also worked into annual reviews, further evidence of innovation and accountability, two FCHP core values.

For St. John, it all comes down to one task: “We are charged with maximizing employees,” she said. “A performance-driven culture is truly the currency of competitive advantage.”

Honorable Mention

Fidelity Bank, Leominster
The bank provides unlimited funding to attend New England School of Business and Finance, as well as $2,500 annually toward undergraduate work and $5,000 toward graduate work at other accredited institutions.

Alternatives Unlimited, Whitinsville
During the nonprofit's 2013 fiscal year alone, employees spent nearly 26,000 hours in paid training, focusing on topics such as communication, rehabilitation, health and safety, management, and service facilitation.

Read more

Innovative Benefit Programs: The Training Associates, Westborough

Employee Health & Wellness: Chitika

General Excellence: Hanover Insurance Group, Worcester

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