Employee Culture & Social Responsibility: 5 Healthcare Companies That Lead By Example

Employee Culture & Social Responsibility: 5 Healthcare Companies That Lead By Example

As we move into 2019, corporate social responsibility is definitely a hot topic. It’s not just vital for the wellbeing of our environment and society, but also for a company’s reputation. A recent study conducted by Cone Communications shows that 70% of Americans believe that companies have an obligation to take action to improve social and environmental issues, whether relevant to their day-to-day business operations or not. In short, your employees want to know that the causes that matter to them matter to you as well.

One way to ensure that social responsibility takes the front seat at your organization is to fold it into employee engagement; listen to your employees on what social issues matter to them, and then enlist their involvement in solving the problems that need solving. Social responsibility is also an excellent talent attraction driver: your company’s give-back efforts can be showcased as a benefit and a way for candidates to engage with the company in a more personal way.

One industry that has really taken social responsibility and employee engagement to heart is the health care industry. As the natural healers and caretakers of our communities, health care companies have stepped up to the plate in new and innovative ways when it comes to their societal impact. Not only that, they have taken steps to ensure that these efforts are woven into the fabric of their employer brand and EVP. Here are just a few health care companies who are rocking the social responsibility game.


As one of the leading health systems in the greater New York area, Northwell Health has launched their very ambitious “Outpacing the Impossible” philanthropic effort – a seven-year, $1B fundraising campaign to support the people it serves through capital projects, hospital and clinical program improvements, advances in research, and funding endowment for education. In parallel to the public campaign, Northwell has launched its first enterprise-wide employee giving program to enable and encourage employees among all levels of the organization to give back through the “Outpacing the Impossible” program. To date, more than 5,000 employees (including 99% of the organization’s leadership) have given over $7 million to support projects and programs across the health system. The philanthropic endeavor was built on the four pillars of the Northwell Health employee value proposition (EVP), ensuring that their efforts to improve their community aligns with their efforts to improve their culture.


A Fortune 5 health care company, UnitedHealth Group has made a dedicated effort towards social responsibility for years. Their year-round altruistic program, United for Giving, supports employees’ efforts for giving back to their communities across the world through charitable donations and volunteering. United for Giving matches employee contributions dollar for dollar to nearly all non-profit organizations, allowing employees to give whenever, wherever, and however they choose. In 2018 alone, United for Giving program totaled $55 million in charitable contributions, supporting 23,000 separate charities and 2.5 million hours in employee volunteer time. UnitedHealth Group has even put their program front and center on their career site, positioning it as a part of the overall employee benefits program. By messaging their give-back efforts as an actual employment benefit at UnitedHealth Group, they are not only able to establish their values to candidates from the very start, but they are able to utilize that benefit for attracting like-minded individuals to working with the organization through charitable work.


Sutter Health has taken on a more direct and personal effort in response to social responsibility through their Joy Through Inclusion program. In recognizing the diversity and individuality among their patients as well as their staff, Sutter has taken a concerted effort towards supporting not just an inclusive and diverse workforce for their employees, but a “culturally competent” one as well in order to personalize care. To that end, Sutter’s program has created Inclusion Resource Groups, focusing on education, support and assistance, and other resources for various diverse groups: employees with disabilities, military and veterans, multicultural, and pride. These resource groups run the gamut from partnering with Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, to crisis intervention and suicide prevention support, to veterans affairs. This program is specifically designed for Sutter employees to improve inclusion at the organization, as well as engage with the community around them.


Dignity Health is leading not just their employee engagement and brand but their corporate brand as well with social responsibility at its core. Their principal effort is Project Humankindness: a social “great challenge” geared around kindness through the power of connection and community. It is centered around the concept of personal and community wellness being inextricably linked to the health of our planet at-large, and their role in contributing to the collective quality of life as a measure of the company’s overall success. Through community education on energy waste and toxins, to instituting a Mobile Wellness Clinic in communities with health care access challenges, to Project C.U.R.E. volunteers sending donated medical supplies worldwide to combat crises and health care epidemics, Dignity Health infuses a sense a community responsibility throughout their employee culture and overall business mission.


DaVita, a kidney care and dialysis organization that helps over 220,000 patients annually, has made a dedicated effort for over a decade towards supporting what they call the Trilogy of Care: caring for patients, caring for each other, and caring for the world. Their belief that they are “a community first and a company second” has resulted in the development of a number of programs that marry both community responsibility and employee engagement. Bridge of Life, a non-profit founded by DaVita, expands efforts beyond kidney care to include screening and treatment of chronic illnesses and increasing access to primary care services for challenged communities. They organize an annual Tour DaVita — a three-day, 250-mile bicycle ride to raise awareness about kidney disease and funding to benefit Bridge of Life. In 2017, DaVita partnered with Village Service Days to involve teammates in volunteering in their communities in celebration of Earth Day. Through this partnership, approximately 2,600 teammates and their family and friends contributed nearly 15,000 hours towards 194 environmental projects in 12 countries for their local communities.

But possibly their strongest display of social responsibility and community care was their response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017. After the hurricane devastated the Houston area, many dialysis patients found themselves without access to the care they desperately needed. DaVita took it upon themselves to open their doors to all dialysis patients in the area, not just its own. A team from Baton Rouge showed up with boats in order to ferry both patients and nurses from their flooded homes to the dialysis centers, and the company rallied at the enterprise-level to get staff across the nation to Houston to help with the efforts.

Is corporate social responsibility a priority at your organization? How does your company’s charitable work play a part in recruitment? Know of any other companies who are doing an awesome job living out their values? Share in the comments or with us on Twitter!

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