Employee resource groups spark new conversations with a focus on mission

Norton Healthcare listens to employees’ voices to create strong message of inclusion and community

Norton Healthcare’s employee resource groups are helping the organization be more understanding, empathetic and supportive of those we are connected to, including our patients, employees and community. From free meals to honor veterans’ service to a health fair that brought attention to an underserved community, these groups are shaping what great human interactions look like inside and outside hospital walls.

Norton Healthcare is proud of our military veteran employees. Each Veterans Day, the VETS (Veterans Engaging Through Service) employee resource group provides meal vouchers to these employees to show appreciation for their service.

NPower — our women’s employee resource group — saw a need to create strong women leaders within Norton Healthcare’s workforce. In 2017 it partnered with Norton University to establish a Women’s Leadership Academy. The first graduating class included 19 women, and two new classes launched this year.

“Women make up over 80 percent of our workforce,” said Al Cornish, system vice president, learning and organizational development, Norton Healthcare, and executive sponsor of NPower. “It’s important that our organization invests in their professional development if we are to maintain our high levels of innovation and performance as a health care provider.”

With the support of NPride — the employee resource group for LGBTQ employees and allies — Norton Healthcare continues to show it is a strong health care partner for the LGBTQ community. We were a presenting sponsor of the 2017 Louisville Pride Festival held in September.

“Walking down the street with friends, I was incredibly proud to say, ‘That’s where I work!’” said Michael Detmer, music therapist, Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. “I feel safe, supported and valued, not only for my contribution as a professional, but for who I am as a whole person.”

Employee resource groups also are making strides in expanding Norton Healthcare’s community reach. Synergy, the group for African-American employees, hosted a community health fair called Unity Jam in August 2017. The event was held in the West End and touched more than 1,000 people while providing necessary health care services, school supplies and meals to attendees. The second annual Unity Jam will be held Aug. 11, 2018.

“The employee resource groups power employees to believe we can do something like Unity Jam,” said Corenza Townsend, practice manager, Norton Leatherman Spine. “The idea didn’t come from senior leadership. We thought of this; we drove this. And, collectively, no matter the department you’re in or what shift you work, we can come together and the employees can be engaged to make a difference.”

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