Synergy takes Phoenix Children's to top

There's camaraderie. Team dynamic. Department fundraisers and competitions.
By Erin McCann
02:18 PM
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Phoenix Childrens

Being part of the IT department at Phoenix Children's Hospital involves far more than just your everyday, run-of-the-mill IT work. They kick it up a notch.

There's camaraderie. Team dynamic. Department fundraisers and competitions. In other words, work doesn't always feel like work, says Brian Meyer, vice president of information technology at the hospital.

“IT’s about having fun too,” says Meyer. “We're not here just to do all work and heads down. We have a lot of fun.”

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What kind of fun exactly? Think chili cook-offs and salsa tastings, a team Fun Committee and a ‘We Got Talent’ fundraiser, where employees showcase their creative faculties. For one of the fundraisers, Meyer even shaved his head to rake in another $1,000 for charity.

“The last day someone said, ‘Hey, if we get an extra thousand dollars, Brian, would you shave your head?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ Sure enough, within about 20 minutes, we had that thousand dollars raised,” Meyer recalls.

“It keeps things interesting for folks so people aren't getting burned out,” he says.

The secret to creating this culture of employee engagement? The hiring process, Meyer points out, is king.

Sure, a potential employee could look great on paper, but will he or she integrate well with the team proves to be the more telling inquiry.

“Don’t get enamored by a résumé,” he says. “Make sure to get to know the individual, understand a little bit about them, what makes them tick.”

Another cardinal work philosophy Meyer subscribes to when it comes to managing involves embracing a can-do-attitude department-wide.

He tells his team, “Never say no initially.”

“Whatever the request is that comes in, oftentimes people want to say, ‘No, that’s impossible; we can't do that,’” which is often not the case.  

After evaluating each request after it’s received, Meyer says, there really hasn’t been many the team wasn’t able to fulfill.

With stage 2 of meaningful use underway and an EMR rollout and integration project in full swing – not to mention the standard day-to-day IT tasks – Meyer’s team is busy, to say the least. So ensuring that each team member understands the far-reaching implications of his or her hard work for the hospital and its patients proves essential.

“One of the things that I really wanted everyone in this department to understand is how much they are going above and beyond and doing different things for the hospital,” says Meyer. “Knowing that the work they're doing is going to a great cause - that in itself is rewarding enough for the staff.” 

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