Lead and Learn
Joel Palau, Manager of Employee Health and Wellness at ChenMed
Feb. 10, 2022
Headquartered in Miami, Florida, ChenMed is on a mission to become America’s leading primary care provider by transforming the healthcare experience for seniors. Our physician-led care teams provide accountable, compassionate, and high-touch VIP care to vulnerable seniors in underserved communities across the nation. In my role as the Manager of Employee Health and Wellness, I collaborate with our Culture committee, department leaders, clinicians, and team members to develop targeted wellness initiatives that promote better health outcomes and drive stronger teambuilding experiences.
We have been focusing on developing our employee wellness program for over three years. Our goal is to show the same level of love and attention to our team members that we do to our senior patients. Our executive team is very committed to making ChenMed a great place to work, and they passionately support initiatives that promote a culture of well-being across our organization. Our wellness program supports engagement, inclusion, health, and happiness in the workplace.
Employee well-being is something we highly value. We believe in keeping our team members healthy, happy, and well-supported while working with ChenMed, whether it’s from our medical centers, our corporate office, or working from home. This allows them to provide the best VIP care to our patients. When our employees are happy and healthy, it allows them to provide excellent care to our patients. Our focus on promoting well-being, diversity, equity, and inclusion is all part of what makes us one of the Most Loved Workplaces in America. We get so happy when we hear our employees say that ChenMed is a Great Place to Work.
“What Can We Take Off Your Plate so that You Can Perform Your Best?”
At ChenMed, listening and responding to what our team members have to say is a big part of how we drive engagement, increase satisfaction, and promote high performance in the workplace. This year, we added paid parental leave as a direct result of survey feedback. Our team spoke up and we delivered. When team members welcome a child into their life, whether it’s through birth, adoption, or fostering, we provide mom or dad up to four weeks of paid leave.
Our commitment to promoting a culture of well-being goes beyond the addition of new perks or benefits. In response to survey feedback, we also focused on reducing the amount of outgoing organization-wide communications (i.e. emails) and limiting company-wide meetings to only the most essential. This extra room in employees’ schedules and decreased messages in their inboxes allowed our teams more time to focus on saving seniors and delivering that VIP experience that ChenMed is known for. This enabled us to keep more patients out of the hospital during the COVID pandemic.
We also committed to preventing clinician burnout by reducing administrative burdens and monitoring the amount of clinical work done after hours. In addition, to help support our new doctors, we offer robust training and leadership development to ensure they are successful in our unique healthcare delivery model. All these steps help our doctors maximize their time at work, make room for their personal wellness, and better serve the seniors who count on them.
Easing the financial burden our team members face during a personal crisis can help them get through difficult times in their lives. Our ChenMed Cares Foundation was established to aid employees who are experiencing a crisis in their lives and find themselves in need of support. Assistance provided through ChenMed Cares comes in many forms, from resources to financial aid. In 2021, ChenMed donated over $200,000 to over 150 team members in need. After Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans, the ChenMed Cares team immediately contacted hundreds of NOLA team members to ensure their safety and provide financial aid to assist with evacuation, travel, lodging, and food. ChenMed gave nearly $750,000 in monetary and in-kind donations to team members and community members who were impacted by Hurricane Ida.
Great Results are About Managing Energy
Our teams look forward to “Work Together Well Wednesdays,” where we focus on promoting wellness at work, training our staff to learn new skills, and exploring how we can build stronger working relationships within our teams through team-building activities.
Our annual Giving and Serving Day is another great initiative that provides an opportunity for all our team members across the nation to recharge their batteries and lift their spirits by taking a day to do some good in their local community. Altogether, ChenMed team members volunteered over 14,000 hours of community service. We partnered with national non-profits such as Feeding America and Salvation Army, as well as several grassroots organizations including churches, youth centers, animal shelters, preservation foundations, and many more.
We support our clinicians by offering them “Wellness Wednesdays” (in addition to PTO) which they can use to enjoy time away from the office doing something wellness related. Some of our doctors go fishing, ride a bike or visit the spa. Some of our centers have even incorporated dedicated relaxation rooms to help our clinicians recharge.
Recognizing Effort and Celebrating Results
Recognizing our amazing team members is very important to us. ChenMed employees are encouraged to offer praise, thank a team member, and earn rewards for doing great work through our employee peer-to-peer recognition program called ChenMed Cheers.
We also make time for celebrations and special moments throughout the year. We live out our values of love, accountability, and passion during our annual Spirit Month. During this time, we celebrate what it means to be a “ChenMedder” complete with fun dress-up days, company-wide virtual games, and more. In addition to Spirit Month, we make it a point to celebrate ChenMed anniversaries (we like to call them Chenniversaries), heritage months, birthdays, and accomplishments with our teams all year round.
Recently, we held an outdoor field day event for over 300 home office team members to celebrate our IT department receiving a cyber security award. What better way to celebrate success as a team than to spend a day outside enjoying sunshine, healthy food, and fun activities?
The Modern Workplace
During the COVID pandemic, we saw the importance of appreciating our health, valuing the time we have together, and realizing the importance of using creativity and teamwork effectively to overcome obstacles. I believe, as we continue to return to back the office, there will be more emphasis on optimizing collaborative spaces, ingraining wellness into company operations, and offering flexible work options to meet the lifestyle preferences of our diverse employees.
I believe that in the future, organizations will look at employee well-being not as a set of benefits or perks, but rather as a core value that is promoted and practiced at every layer of the organization. Employee wellness continues to shape the way we experience work, and I am looking forward to helping ChenMed to stay ahead of the trends as we continue to support the well-being of our team members.