At Ochsner, we recognize that our ability to effectively serve patients through superior quality and a great patient experience is directly tied to our success in attracting, retaining and developing a world-class workforce.
Minute by minute, day in and day out, the dedication of over 25,000 Ochsner employees in our 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and over 100 health centers and urgent care centers makes all the difference for our patients. Whether the task is performing a complex surgical procedure, ensuring that a recovering patient receives the medication they need, supporting a first-time mom as she begins labor and delivery, or helping a patient schedule tests and manage their chronic disease, it is the people of Ochsner who fulfill our vision to change and save lives.
The decisions we make and the priorities we set create the foundation for our reputation as an employer of choice. Sustaining that reputation requires a commitment to competitive pay and benefits, abundant opportunities for career advancement and training, a diverse and inclusive work environment, and an engaging workplace that values the contributions of every team member.
Ochsner’s pledge to continuous improvement throughout all of these workplace and workforce priorities has translated into significant gains in workforce engagement, which measures best-in-class among healthcare organizations. In 2018, our annual engagement survey found 57% of employees were actively engaged. That is the highest level in our history and nearly double our engagement score in 2012.
In 2018, we were proud that our Board of Directors took a major step on behalf of employees when it approved an increase in Ochsner’s minimum wage from $8.10 to $12.00 an hour, a 48% increase. This change benefited approximately 1,200 team members and their families and, for some, represents a life-changing improvement in their family finances. We consider it a worthwhile investment that also strengthens our ability to recruit the very best.
Our concern for the financial well-being of our employees extends to other initiatives as well. We promote financial wellness through programs like SoFi, to reduce student loan expense. Since inception it has refinanced more than $500,000 in student loan debt for Ochsner employees. Additionally, some 3,000 employees have accessed financial solutions from CreditWorks, designed to lessen the need for high-interest payday loans and to help in emergency situations.