June 16, 2003


Joyce Gioia
Employer of Choice International, Inc.

St. Bernards Medical Center

Jonesboro, Arkansas–On June 17, 2003 St. Bernards Medical Center will be named an Employer of Choice® following a rigorous evaluation process. The recognition is presented by Employer of Choice, Inc. to organizations that are dedicated to a higher level of employee relations and goes above and beyond the normal practices of Human Resources.

St. Bernards is only the second hospital in the nation to receive this award according to Roger Herman, chief executive officer of Employer of Choice, Inc. The Employer of Choice® designation was created as a commitment to the philosophies and testimonials laid out in the book How to Become an Employer of Choice, written by Roger E. Herman and Joyce L. Gioia. Published in April of 2000 by Oakhill Press, the book examines how enlightened employers can differentiate themselves from others by attracting, optimizing, and holding on to their best assets–their employees.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition,” said Chris B. Barber, Administrator for St. Bernards. “The culture of St. Bernards is to focus on our patients and employees. Both are key elements in our success. We have high-quality employees who go above and beyond to serve this community. Our employees have a long history of working together toward common goals. That’s why this award is so special.”

“Employers of Choice®, such as St. Bernards, who are able to attract, optimize, and retain top talent, will enjoy a substantial advantage over their competitors,” says Herman, chief executive officer of Employer of Choice, Inc. “They will have the knowledge, experience, resiliency and power to respond quickly to their patients’ needs, delivering what patients want more efficiently and effectively than competitors plagued by employee turnover. This strength will allow them to maintain high levels of customer service and loyalty.”

St. Bernards Medical Center is a 375-bed facility serving 620,000 people in 23 counties in the northeast Arkansas area. It was founded in 1900 and has continued to grow and excel since its inception. A VHA affiliate, St. Bernards is part of a nationwide network of community owned healthcare systems and their physicians. VHA has more than 2,200 members in the community owned system, which means the hospital assets belong to the community, ensuring a high quality of care for the members of that community.

St. Bernards has earned numerous awards for various programs and accomplishments. The Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care recently honored St. Bernards with the Innovator in Quality Award for effective processes to reduce surgical infections. Infection Control and Quality team leaders have been asked to share these processes with other hospitals around the state. In addition, the Catholic Hospital Association (CHA) presented St. Bernards with their prestigious Achievement Citation award for healthy kids programs.

“St. Bernards senior leadership is enlightened, highly visible, and their behaviors reinforce the organization’s culture. St. Bernards service culture is excellent, whether you are a patient, or a guest wandering the halls. Their service is hospitable, and has a “family” feel, and employees truly believe they have ‘jobs for life,’” says Mark Smith of Success Profiles, who is on the evaluation board for the Employer of Choice® Award.

To celebrate their recognition, St. Bernards is planning a breakfast with the Chamber of Commerce and community leaders, an official ceremony at the facility later in the morning, and a luncheon in St. Bernards’ auditorium with the Rotary Club.

One of the authors of How to Become an Employer of Choice, Roger E. Herman, will be on hand to sign copies of the book at the awards presentation at St. Bernards on June 17th. The book is packed with scores of practical examples on how to retain the brightest and best of employees, ensuring a company’s success and as an employer by simply retaining their employees. The book retails for $30 each.