It was my pleasure to recently host and moderate the latest edition of the TP Talks webinar series. In this latest edition I talked to Sherri Mikell, the Vice President of Member and Provider Services at GuideWell. We cover several topics, but focused largely on the creative candidate sourcing strategy used by GuideWell and how they work hard to retain their best talent, especially when faced with variable needs throughout the year.
GuideWell is a leader in Florida’s health industry and helps Floridians in their pursuit of health by ensuring affordable plans, providing personal support and building strong communities that enable health and wellness for all. Since the launch of the Affordable Care Act, GuideWell has experienced significantly varied swings in demand due to the seasonality nature of open enrolment season. Their traditional hiring and sourcing approaches were not delivering timely and qualified candidates necessary to meet customer demands.
Sherri started by explaining their talent strategy: “We needed a way to attract and retain talent, but also to align our workforce to our workload because the summer months are very quiet in our business. We created a plan that we called the teacher schedule model. You may have friends or family who teach so you will know that in teaching it is common to be paid as a full-time employee, but to only work around 40 weeks of the year.”
Sherri described how their idea to structure their team on contracts similar to teachers worked for the company and the employees: “We wanted to retain more people and solve our seasonality swings. The teacher schedule model allows us to reduce idle time and create more satisfied employees because they can get full-time job benefits, but have more time off for extended vacations or summer childcare. We also partnered with a professional skill development provider so employees can also improve their skills while they are not working.”
It’s clearly a great idea that allows the team to be paid the same amount each month because their salary is for 40 weeks of work, but spread over 52 weeks of payments. They get an extended summer break, but retain a full-time job.
Sherri explained how GuideWell works hard to stay in touch while their employees are enjoying the summer: “While the team is gone over the summer we stay in touch with regular emails and social media. This year, over 100 people have signed up for the professional skills development program – it is voluntary and free training for the employees. We also pay them a cash bonus when they return in the fall and they can participate in our employee survey to give feedback during their time off.”
Sherri explained how this new approach to retaining employees and handling their summer slowdown has been a big hit at job recruitment fairs. Thousands of people have been applying for all the new jobs available in 2018. The teacher schedule model is a simple idea, but Sherri and her team have clearly applied a great deal of thought into keeping employees engaged with the company during their time off and retaining a strong connection. It’s a great way to provide full-time benefits to employees that are only working for a part of the year.
Sherri took several questions from listeners who tuned in for the live webinar. To listen to a complete playback of this webinar and to learn about future TP Talks webinars, please click here.
Photo by City of St Pete licensed under Creative Commons.