A Sense of Belonging
Making sure each employee knows the company cares
Four months after starting work at Fusion Medical Staffing, Thea Circo went on maternity leave. Then something happened that caught her attention.
Fusion Medical Staffing owner Sam Wageman called to congratulate her on her new baby and to see if she needed anything while on leave. While Circo didn’t need anything, Wageman told her to enjoy maternity leave and do an awesome job when she made a return to work.
The call impressed Circo. “Four months into my employment, the owner of the company calls to see if I need anything personally — that is huge,” she says, adding the call also inspired her to go above and beyond once she returned from leave.
But such outreach isn’t unusual for Fusion Medical Staffing. In fact, it’s the company’s treatment of workers as more than just numbers that employees cited as a large factor in what makes the company a great place to work. Workers say the company cares about them personally.
“We’re a family, and I know it sounds cheesy, but we’re definitely, hands down, a huge loving family,” says Jessica Thieschafer, laboratory account manager, who has been with the company for slightly more than two years.
Keeping its internal employees engaged is working for Fusion Medical Staffing; the Omaha, Neb.-based company also ranked on last year’s list of Best Staffing Firms to Work For. It’s not just internal workers, the company also tops this year’s list of the Best Staffing Firms to Temp For.
Following up with employees on leave, however, is just one example of what the company is doing to keep its internal workers engaged.
Fusion Medical Staffing has a gym and yoga studio at its office, and each week a refrigerator is stocked with healthy food that employees can enjoy for free. A massage therapist also visits the office once a week. In addition, employees get $100 each year for wellness-related expenses, such as jogging shoes.
Enabling employees to have a sense of belonging and commitment toward wellness are some of what make Fusion Medical Staffing a great place to work, says Dan Beller, VP and chief sales officer. It’s also engagement from the executive level.
Fusion makes sure it has a good ratio of managers to salespeople at one to 12. Managers can help coach employees on a daily basis and develop personal relationships. Many of the managers schedule lunches or morning coffees to connect personally with staff, and Beller says he had 60 morning coffee meetings last year. There is also a monthly CEO roundtable with Wageman.
On a Mission
Beller says the company has about 20 people on its leadership team, and the average tenure of a person on the team is 10 years. Beller has 14 years of experience in the staffing industry; he joined Fusion in April 2013 and began its nursing division along with a partner, Dan Scardina. The company itself began in 2009 with a therapy division and in 2012 added a lab division.
Fusion’s cath lab division began in 2014, and the company began an LPN and CNA division in the last few months. In Spring 2016, the company also moved to a new, larger location.
The company’s mission is to create a “sense of worth to make sure people are coming each day and making an impact on Fusion and its success,” Beller says.
“We want to make sure all employees know what direction we’re going,” he says. “We want people to know exactly what Fusion’s goal is on a quarterly basis.”
Employees at Fusion also know where they stand and how they are doing in terms of job performance, Beller says. And managers may have weekly meetings when there is underperformance; the person might also be moved to a role that he or she is better suited for.
Fusion takes hiring people seriously, and the company seeks workers who embody its three core values: drive, being humble and having a positive attitude. And Beller says many of the firm’s internal hires are the result of referrals from existing employees.
And once on board, employees are encouraged to keep striving for improvement.
One example of the push for continuous improvement is the concept of “open conflict” — addressing issues out in the open and with an open mind. If there is conflict, people are encouraged to discuss it directly with the person with whom they disagree, Circo says. It’s a way to solve the problem and not talk behind people’s backs.
Once you learn to address such conflicts openly and with an open mind, “you become pretty dynamic,” she says, and it helps solve conflicts not only at work but in other parts of peoples’ lives.
It’s also not all about the bottom line. Fusion has a nonprofit division centered around a program called “Be the Change,” and hired Micaela Diarrassouba on a full-time basis to dedicate all her time to this. The division organizes activities to help the community, and those activities can include volunteering at Habitat for Humanity; helping at QLI, a post-hospital residential rehabilitation center; and assisting at the Stephen Center, which provides emergency shelter, addiction recovery, and permanent, supportive housing apartments. Recently, the company also raised funds for Hurricane Harvey victims. In addition, Fusion Medical Staffing provides workers with 16 paid hours each year with which to volunteer at a charity.
Be the Change reports back to the full company on volunteer activities taking place so employees know what is going on.
Last Christmas, the company helped a woman who was overcoming cancer while taking care of three children, Thieschafer says. Then the employees at Fusion heard during a company meeting about the impact their efforts had on helping the family.
“There was not a dry eye in the room,” Thieschafer says. Fusion is also focused on doing the right thing in business even if it costs a bit more, and it aims to help internal workers. If someone needs to take a mental health day off, it’s not a problem.
“The people that surround me are very inspiring to me. … we know that we’re all on the same team,” Circo says. “It’s a place that I don’t ever want to not want to come to.”