WRHA recognizes health care staff who reach 25+ year milestone
177 employees honoured for their dedication to a career of service
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Published Friday, February 9, 2024
Anyone who has been with a company or organization for decades deserves to be celebrated. That's why the Winnipeg health region hosts a reception every year for corporate, community health services, Pan Am Clinic, Churchill Health Centre and medical renumeration employees with at least 25 years of service in the current calendar year.
In November 2023, 177 employees were recognized for their contributions including Tom Guenther, a public health nurse who started in 1998. "I work with new families going home with their babies," said Guenther, "So when I can talk to the family, the parents of this new baby, teach the mom how to breastfeed, teach the parents how to take care of their newborn, calming them, relaxing them, and helping them with their new situation, that's very gratifying to me. It's really kept me going over these past 25 years."
Jane MacKay, the Chief Human Resources Officer for the WRHA said, "When you think about the WRHA and our demographics, the average years of service are 11. So to hit a milestone year of 25, 30, 35, and even 40 years of services is huge. This is really an incredibly important group of staff for us and it's just such a significant milestone that they are hitting."
MacKay believes people who have worked for the organization for a long time have "a backpack of experience with them." She says, "Our real goal and what we're really concentrating on is making sure that backpack of experience is transported and doled out to other people who are joining our organization."
Rose Neepin is one of those employees with a backpack of experience. She has been with the organization for 35 years and worked her way through the system, learning different aspects of health care. "35 years ago, I started with the Churchill Health Centre at the receiving home. Six years prior to that, I was a resident of the home as a permanent ward of CFS. So when I turned 18, that's my first job working with the children at the home where I lived," said Neepin. Over the years, Neepin has worked in Health Information Systems, Pharmacy and now as a clerk for the Northern Patient Transportation Program.
MacKay notes that efforts to retain staff with years of experience are so important, especially in health care. "The skills and knowledge you develop throughout your career are vital to ensuring that we can provide the best care to everyone we serve and continue to move forward towards achieving our mission and vision," said MacKay.
The region is working to rollout a standardized succession planning process. The goal is to help retain staff and share their knowledge and insights, ensuring they have opportunities to develop their skills and advance their careers within the organization. MacKay says "A big part of this process is creating leadership development opportunities to build key skills, abilities, and knowledge required to lead as an individual."
Changes have been made to the Performance Conversation Forms to help prompt the discussion related to staff interest in pursuing leadership development or training opportunities and skill development. "It's a chance to have a good discussion with your manager as to how we can best support your continued development whether that be for the position you are currently in or to help you get ready for your next job in our organization," says MacKay.
Recognition for staff who have reached significant milestones is a win-win situation for both leadership and staff. "We certainly recognize that each and every one puts their heart and soul into their positions, and the job that they do, and we are just delighted to be able to give the opportunity to recognize them," says MacKay. Tom Guenther agrees, saying at the event, "This is great to be able to be at an event like this. And lots of my colleagues are going to be here this evening, and it's nice to celebrate with them and I thank the WRHA for letting us be here together and celebrating in this way.
WRHA operated sites including Deer Lodge Centre, Grace Hospital, River Park Gardens, Victoria Hospital and Middlechurch Home of Winnipeg host their owns receptions to recognize employees with 25-plus years of service. Those employees can have their milestone recognized at either the site reception or the WRHA dinner reception.