Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center serves more than 220 hospitals and healthcare facilities across 25 Texas counties. Their mission is to partner with the community to help save and sustain lives by providing a safe supply of blood, blood components and related services. Annually, the center collects more than 300,000 units of blood and blood component donations to be utilized by transfusion patients.
When you think of a blood center, needle pricks and other biological hazards come to mind as significant workplace safety issues. While these potential threats are an obvious concern at Gulf Coast, back injuries and driving accidents, stemming from the company's mobile blood drives, are far more prevalent and costly. The company wanted to improve their employee recognition program, not only to reduce injuries and costs, but to impact behavior across multiple business objectives, such as productivity.
Not only did management want a program that was available to every employee, they wanted one that captured the interest of employees to ensure that the company was uniformly rewarding the type of behaviors and business objectives that they wanted to reinforce. Secondly, the ability to track the taxability of recognition awards was critical.
Gulf Coast enlisted the employee recognition expertise of Michael C. Fina, a leading global provider of corporate employee recognition programs, to design and implement a technology-based total recognition program that would foster increased productivity, simplify compliance, improve workplace safety awareness and recognize employees for actively embracing the defined behaviors of the company's mission.
The program Gulf Coast management chose, the One Source Total Recognition program, was tailored to meet the company's needs and included service and anniversary awards, quarterly and annual bonus achievement awards and points-based performance and safety awareness awards, known as “WOW,” “Above and Beyond” and “SafeTee.” Because the recognition programs effectively integrated with Gulf Coast's human resources and payroll databases, tracking award distribution and tax code compliance improved.
Gretchen Sassone, director of human resources at Gulf Coast, said that in the past, the company presented stand-alone awards and recognition, which yielded some benefit but did not change behavior. Today, the company reports measurable improvements from the ongoing employee recognition programs that were implemented.
Embracing the WOW Factor
In fact, the Gulf Coast Donor Collections department has embraced the WOW and Above and Beyond programs to great success. They're setting productivity goals and rewarding employees, which has definitely had an impact on increasing apheresis donors, as well as total collections.
Gulf Coast's Donor Collections Department is comprised of about 250 employees. As its name suggests, the group is responsible for all donor blood collections.
Through the WOW and Above and Beyond programs, management has boosted donor return rates and coverted more full-blood donors to apheresis donors to yield more blood product per individual donation. When recognition is matched to corporate business objectives, employees not only know where they need to focus to achieve results, they are motivated to do so.
According to Gulf Coast, employees have been surpassing management's goals, and the number of return donors and new donor participants has increased significantly. Since implementation of this program, they have seen 20 or 30 employee achievement awards issued by supervisors in the Donor Collections Department on a daily basis.
A points-based SafeTee recognition program also was established for the Donor Collections Department to reduce the number of driving and back-related injuries of employees involved in mobile blood drives. Prior to the program developed by Michael C. Fina, a number of employees incurred back injuries from loading and unloading vehicles with equipment and supplies. Today, the points-based program has raised employee awareness of safe work practices, which is expected to have a positive impact on reducing injuries.
For Gulf Coast, the recognition program continues to generate excitement among employees and enables the blood center to generate solid business results while retaining and attracting the best talent.
Jeffrey Fina is vice president of Michael C. Fina and has spent most of his life working in all aspects of the family business, from warehouse operations and customer service, to merchandising and quality control. Since becoming vice president in 1999, he is noted for optimizing and streamlining the company's operations.