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CareWorks named #1 Best Place to Work by Business First - Managing to combine large size with a caring environment (Article as it appeared in Columbus Business First)

November 11, 2005

By Kathy Showalter Business First of Columbus

Hundreds of Central Ohioans go to work at a place where the boss hosts ice cream sundae socials four times a year.

Employees compete with one another to submit the best pet photo in a virtual pet show that raises money for local dog and cat shelters.

And if they’re “caught” doing something exemplary on the job, they’re rewarded with movie tickets or a dinner for two on the town.

There are those who might believe this workplace is on a remote ocean island shrouded in mist somewhere in the vicinity of Never Neverland, but the 700-plus employees of The CareWorks Family of Companies say its location is none other than Dublin.

CareWorks’ employees, 500 of whom work at the Dublin headquarters, nominated CareWorks as one of Central Ohio’s Best Places to Work. The company also maintains offices in Cleveland and employs associates in four other states. Privately held, the company does not disclose revenue.

CareWorks consists of five different companies:

CareWorks provides workers’ compensation medical management and case management services for more than 120,000 Ohio employers.

CareWorks USA provides medical case management services for self-insured workers in Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and Michigan.

VocWorks provides case management and rehabilitation strategies to employers facing more serious claims.

CareWorks Technologies offers resources and skilled information technology consultants to employers.

Prescription Relief provides access to low-cost prescriptive drugs for individuals with no health insurance. What’s special about CareWorks?

Ask that question of William Pfeiffer, founder, president and chief executive at CareWorks, and he won’t pause long enough to take a breath: He respects his employees, and he shows it.

“We have a tremendous group of individuals working here,” he said. “We’ve built this company over nine years from myself to more than 700 associates. They’re our most valuable resource, and as far as I’m concerned, we have to treat them like gold.”

The company also incorporates benefits like Weight Watchers meetings, smoking cessation classes and health fairs for everyone.

Work is arranged in teams with clear goals and objectives. Every employee is motivated to make CareWorks a world-class organization, Pfeiffer said.

“We also have a community outreach program,” he said. “A group of our associates decide what we’ll do for our community this year, maybe it’s blood drives, food drives and animal adoptions. We build community within a community. We’re a family.”

Statistics bear out that loyalty. Turnover among CareWorks' health-care staff is barely 20 percent annually, 30 points lower than the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That loyalty begins with every new hire, said Fran Watkins, CareWorks’ Chief Human Resources Officer.

“Bill meets with all our associates, starting with when they’re a new hire,” she said. “We spend much time talking about how the company began, how it works, our customer service and our expectations. Our employees continue that learning. They’re constantly working on soft skills and hard skills throughout their career lifetime.”

Brian Foss, a training specialist at CareWorks, nominated CareWorks for the Best Places to Work honor. He talked of wellness events, Halloween parties, summer barbecues and ice cream socials.

“The appreciation for the people who work at CareWorks is never a question,” he said. “That there is always something creative and exciting going on at CareWorks that generates enthusiasm in the workplace and makes the associates feel valued and proud to work here.”

Doing it right

Psychologist Steve Anderson, president of Integrated Leadership Systems LLC, of Columbus, said company environments like that nurtured by CareWorks are uncommon. Anderson, a business consultant who coaches executives and trains staff, said CareWorks is doing it right.

“Most managers, when you ask them what motivates people, they’ll say good wages, job security and promotional opportunities,” Anderson said.

But those are factors necessary for employment but not sufficient to motivate employees to excellence. Workers’ responses are clearly different. They identify interesting work, appreciation for the work they do and a feeling that they’re in on things at the office, as being the most motivating factors in the workplace, Anderson said.

Anderson said CareWorks is doing exceptionally well at catching their employees doing things right.

“Most managers criticize and leave, instead of noticing what’s going right and cheering that,” he said. “You let everyone cheer (good deeds) in a crowd; you criticize (employees) alone. That’s how you motivate people.”

Company Description

Address: 5555 Glendon Court, Dublin 43016 Phone: 614-760-3500 Web Site: www.careworks.com

Business description: Workers’ Compensation medical management, vocational rehabilitation and case management and information technology resources.

Full-time employees (local/total): 550/700

2004 revenue: Would not disclose

Benefits provided: 401(k) or 403(b) plans; paid vacation or personal time off; medical vision and dental insurance coverage; life insurance; employee assistance program; tuition reimbursement; comprehensive new hire orientation and training; continuous activity-based training programs; participation in community outreach; extra casual attire days; days off for achieving company goals; annual ceremony recognizing associates completing five years of service; Halloween team-building day; summer barbecue; associate wellness program, including onsite Weight Watchers meetings, membership at a nearby gym, free mammograms, free skin screenings, wellness newsletters and free flu shots; medical flexible spending and dependent flexible spending accounts; referral bonus; and credit union membership.

Top officer: William Pfeiffer

Nominator’s comments: The appreciation for the people who work at CareWorks is never in question. Coming to work is fun when associates feel appreciated and are rewarded with various community outreach activities, holiday parties, summer barbecues, ice cream socials and appreciation days. The annual Halloween party is renowned for its extravagance, and has to be seen to be believed.

The community outreach activities at CareWorks are nothing short of amazing. Just as an example, CareWorks held a virtual pet show to benefit local dog and cat shelters. Associates are having so much fun submitting photos of their pets in the hopes of winning ribbons in several humorous categories. - Brian Foss, CareWorks

For more information please contact:
John Brinkman
Vice President of Corporate Communications
Office: (614) 760-3506
Fax: (614) 760-3595

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