The incredible compassion and commitment seen at Texas Health Resources helped put them at the No. 7 spot on the 2021 Fortune100 Best Companies to Work For® list.
Hearts went out to couples who struggled with COVID at Texas Health Resources this past year.
It happened more than once at the healthcare system that serves Dallas and much of North Texas. And on two occasions involving severe COVID cases, the married pair was not together—the two people had arrived at different locations in the Texas Health Resources system.
So staffers moved heaven and earth to make sure the partners were together. In one instance, 25 nurses and frontline caregivers collaborated to safely move one member of a couple to be next to the other “so that they could have a last goodbye,” said Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health. The husband passed away with his wife by his side. The wife was later discharged from the hospital.
Hearing how the people he leads went above and beyond during a once-in-a-lifetime crisis continues to move Barclay.
“It’s not really just a job. For many, if not most, it’s a calling,” Barclay said. “I get choked up almost every day.”
Barclay wasn’t just inspired by the dedication of his 23,000 employees on the front lines of the deadly pandemic. He and his leadership team took dramatic actions to care for employees. And that care—including ongoing, fact-based communications about COVID—has rippled out into the North Texas community.
If you want the numbers on how community giving – a major theme at the 100 Best – impacts employee performance, check out our corporate giving analysis.
One of the first things Barclay did was guarantee the jobs of Texas Health employees. Paradoxically, the pandemic led to many layoffs in health care, as hospitals across the country suspended elective surgeries. But Barclay and his team worked their financial models and increased available cash to nearly $1 billion – an amount that would enable the organization to operate fully staffed for several months.
Some of the employees whose work areas were shuttered, like outpatient therapy, took to delivering gowns, masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout facilities and across the health care system. Thanks partly to their efforts, Texas Health never ran short of PPE – enabling the health system to ease staffers’ worries that they might contract COVID on the job.
Still, the pandemic was stressful for everyone. Misinformation about the disease was one of the problems causing anxiety among employees. To combat myths about COVID, mask-wearing and related matters, Barclay began publishing videos, as well as daily emails, to update employees on topics including caseloads and the latest science on how to treat COVID.
Given how polarized the public conversation about the pandemic became, Barclay was asked to share his messages beyond the hospital system walls. In October, he began publishing a wider community newsletter—covering topics such as the effectiveness of COVID vaccines.
Barclay didn’t expect to play this role. But he felt called to serve as a truth-teller in a confusing time. “There was a leadership gap,” Barclay said. “People needed to step in and fill it.”
A year into the pandemic and the company continues to create awareness via its YouTube channel.
Barclay’s communication hasn’t been one-way. Texas Health has surveyed its employees on what they needed to manage, and leaders listened carefully to staffers on the front lines.
During one meeting with a nurse supervisor, Barclay noticed she was distraught. He asked what was happening. She told him five people had died of COVID in an intensive-care unit within the previous week. She and her team “were really heartbroken,” Barclay said.
But just as Texas Health wouldn’t let couples die apart, Texas Health didn’t let their staffers suffer alone. “We have to have compassion for patients,” Barclay said. “We need to have compassion for each other too.”
How the 100 Best broke employee experience records
In the words of their employees, 70% of companies on this year’s list improved their company culture. What did they do right? Read the full run-down.
If you think your company culture rose to the challenges of 2020 by providing exceptional care for employees and your community, apply to get recognized on one of our Best Workplaces™ lists.