The Summer Sizzler: SHS Teamwork Creates a Picnic to Remember!

Teamwork is at the heart of Swope Health Services. Associates proved that recently in a week full of challenges.

First, associates came in to work on Monday morning to learn they would be tested by surveyors from The Joint Commission, an independent organization that assesses safety and adherence to quality standards. (See more about this here.)

summer sizzlerThen, after the assessors completed their four-day exam, a well-timed picnic — the Summer Sizzler — beckoned. Except when the Summer Sizzler organizing team arrived that Friday morning to set up, the location looked nothing like the serene park they knew. As a result of storms the night before, it looked more like a war zone. Tree limbs and debris were everywhere and there was no electricity at the Swope Park shelter.

No matter. Associates took charge and cleaned up. They improvised and played music through an associate’s car and speakers and orchestrated a great event. There were all the staples of a great picnic — hamburgers, hot dogs, summer salads and side dishes, cookies, lemonade and iced tea. Associates competed for prizes in carnival and field games, including a water balloon relay race, sponge race and toilet paper race. There was even dancing and pick-up basketball games.

Why is the event important?

“The Summer Sizzler is a time for us to get away and get to know each other better,” said Robin Wheeler, Vice President-Human Resources. “We get a chance to build camaraderie by teaming up in friendly competition with people that we don’t usually get to work with.”

SummerSizzlerCamaraderie is a key factor in building employee engagement. According to the Harvard Business Review: “It is also about creating a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together. …In short, camaraderie promotes a group loyalty that results in a shared commitment to and discipline toward the work. Camaraderie at work can create ‘esprit de corps,’ which includes mutual respect, sense of identity, and admiration to push for hard work and outcomes.”

Dozens of studies show that when employees care about each other and the organization, they are happier, provide better customer care and are more productive. Gallup, for example, has been measuring employee engagement since the 1990s and found that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers. This year’s Gallup survey noted that close friendships at work boost employee satisfaction by more than 50 percent.

So, events that build teamwork and camaraderie, like the Summer Sizzler, are investments in developing even stronger teamwork among our associates. And they are also investments in our commitment to you — to provide SHS patients with the best possible care.

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