Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady's workers inspire employer-branding campaign

May 2024

Natalie Sims, a nurse at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Louisiana, has completed her bachelor's degree and has taken advantage of the system's opportunities for professional growth through specialized courses since starting at St. Francis two years ago.



When Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System decided to brand itself as a go-to employer, it settled on "We are people inspired" and turned for help to those checking pulses, assisting in surgeries and otherwise serving patients in its hospitals and clinics.



"We are a community of diverse and compassionate people whose individual and collective talents are valued as gifts," said Nicole Hidalgo, vice president of communications. "We want to really convey that message and all that we do across the board."

Last fall, the system began rolling out its newly crafted employer brand — its vision of how it wants to be seen by potential employees — with what Hidalgo said will be a long-running series of team member spotlights. The series is made up of profiles of employees from across the system, which is based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and has 10 hospitals across its home state and Mississippi and more than 18,000 employees. The profiles have written narratives and videos.

Team members who have been featured so far include a certified nursing assistant in surgery whose career with FMOLHS began in a hospital kitchen; a longtime nurse who started with the system as a diabetes educator and is now in a neonatal intensive care unit; and a recent graduate with a master's degree in social work who is in a case management department.

Each worker talks about the talents they brought to FMOLHS and how the system has helped them flourish. "This is a way to really give someone who may not be familiar with our ministry or our mission a realistic job preview," Hidalgo explained.

Support and inspiration
One of the team members spotlighted is Natalie Sims, a nurse at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Louisiana. Sims was introduced to the hospital while pursuing her associate degree.

"We did a lot of clinical rotations at this facility and the support from team members, even when you're in nursing school, was very impressive, just as well as the care they provide to their patients," Sims said in an interview.

Since hiring on with St. Francis as a nurse in a medical-surgical unit two years ago, Sims has completed her bachelor's degree. She said her managers assisted her advancement by giving her the flexible hours and hands-on experiences she needed.

Mark McWhorter shares in his profile how he worked his way from the kitchen to a position as a certified nursing assistant at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.



She has continued to take advantage of the system's opportunities for professional growth through specialized courses. For example, she has completed a class on trauma care after resuscitation and gotten advanced cardiac life support certification.

In her online profile, Sims said she is motivated by her St. Francis teammates and patients. "People's strength in times of need has inspired me to be thankful for many things in my life and not take my health for granted," Sims said in the profile. "The resilience of my teammates as we care for really sick patients inspires me as we support each other and the patients we care for."

In-house production
The "We are people inspired" brand and team member spotlights sprung from a collaboration between Hidalgo's communications and marketing team and FMOLHS' human resources, operations and mission staff. The system did not use outside consultants.

Hidalgo said the collaborators researched how best to show job candidates that the system is a welcoming and supportive place to work and one where they would see people much like themselves.

As it crafted its brand, FMOLHS convened focus groups of prospective job candidates to ask what they looked for in an employer and of current team members to ask what they valued about their workplace.

Among the learnings for FMOLHS, Hidalgo said, was how working for a mission-based employer factored into job pursuits and employee retention. "What we determined from talking with potential job seekers and even our own team members is it wasn't our mission that drew them to our ministry," she said. "It's what keeps them at our ministry."

Hidalgo said that since FMOLHS sees its Catholic mission as a highlight of its work environment and one that differentiates it from other potential employers, the system had to figure out how to make its mission a selling point.

"We wanted to attract more people into the ministry of Catholic health care and part of our mission is about sharing our unique gifts and talents," Hidalgo said. "That's why we kind of landed on our own team members to share this story for us."

True to mission
Before posting the spotlights on social media and using them for digital ads, Hidalgo said FMOLHS shared them internally to ensure that the profiles rang true with current team members. "With an employer brand, what we learned in our research, is it really needs to be true to who we are as a ministry and resonate with our current team members," she said.

The internal response to the spotlights, she said, has been resoundingly positive.

To measure how well the employer brand is having the desired impacts, Hidalgo said FMOLHS is monitoring staff turnover, applicant numbers and other metrics. She said the strategy is too new for conclusive results, but the early findings have been good.

"We are in a position now where our overall turnover is the best it's been in quite some time," she said.


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