The successful effort is driven by Van Gorder's philosophy that healthcare is delivered by people, not technology, which he has been working to instill in the organization’s operations. “My job is to take care of people so they can take care of patients.”
In the early years, Scripps treated the Great Places to Work survey feedback as an independent employee survey. Incorporating the results into the overall planning process was "hit or miss," he says.
Now the takeaways are built into Scripps' organizational planning process. The responses "are about more than money," says Van Gorder, who says he reads every comment. The outcomes from employee comments include:
"We'll never get everything everybody wants," Van Gorder notes. "You get an extreme response of asking for something ridiculous, and then at the other extreme of someone just being thankful for a job, and everything in between. You take it all in context."
Van Gorder made waves when he announced that Scripps would cut spending by $300 million by 2016—without laying off any of the 12,800 employees. The no-layoff policy "is pretty profound in healthcare or any industry." But he's even more proud of Scripps' seven-year tenure on the list. "The hard job these days is sustaining performance," he says.