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Achieving Zero Percent Turnover

Connections Wellness Group approaches hiring from the perspective of how to attract and retain forever employees.

Awstin Gregg, MBA, LCSW, LCDC
Chief Executive Officer, Connections Wellness Group

How does your company achieve a zero percent rolling turnover, especially when considering the high “burnout” rate in the healthcare profession?

Many employers in all industries don’t understand the hidden costs of turnover. Connections Wellness Group approaches hiring from the perspective of how to attract and retain forever employees. How do we earn that? We are proud of the investment we are making in our employees, which has paid off in many ways.

Describe your creative investments in employee retention.

Some of our biggest wins have been simple, such as hiring a chief happiness officer. She goes to employees to learn about what motivates them, how they like to be recognized and appreciated, and asks what we can do better to make sure they are seen. Some employees want more over the top recognition, while others don’t want public praise but would appreciate a simple gesture, such as a restaurant gift card. Giving them that authority was a big win. Another was showing them we are serious about our internal push for selfcare and work/life balance. We provide our employees with a separate line of income that rewards them for taking care of themselves. For instance, if they send us a selfie of them at the gym, at a wellness retreat, enjoying cooking or eating a healthy meal, or even proving they had eight hours of sleep, we reward them financially. We try to communicate in different, simple ways that we care about our employees and we want them to be here forever.

How has this employees-first approach paid off for your company?

We have been earmarked as the fast-growing healthcare organization in Denton County, with 2,300 percent growth year over year. The counterintuitive part to this is that you can’t see these metrics if you go to the HR department. It’s more of a qualitative thinking process, and we believe it’s worth the endeavor. You could start with as little as a $25 or $50 gift card and build up from there. Remember, your employees know other potential employees who are just as talented. This small investment may get you some of the most qualified people in your industry who will become invested in your product.

How did you come up with the concept of the forever employee?

My first job out of high school was as a mental health technician, and in seven years I worked my way up to becoming CEO of that facility. I had a lot of jobs in the middle of that ladder, and many required 14-hour workdays. We would have the best employees for six or seven months, and then their energy would disappear. The turnover would begin. When I started Connections Wellness Group, eliminating turnover was a priority. I wasn’t going to praise my employees for working 60-hour weeks or skipping vacations with their families. I was going to approach it another way. When we opened Connections Wellness Group, the owners and leaders came together and determined how the jobs we came from can be done better. We decided that one of our main tasks would be learning how to keep a forever employee. Our mission is to rethink everything.

About the Expert: Awstin Gregg is a licensed clinical social worker and holds two additional master’s degrees in business. A former hospital CEO and a current professor at TCU and Texas A&M Commerce, he was voted Social Worker of the Year in 2018, Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, and leads Denton County’s fastest-growing healthcare organization, Connections Wellness Group, receiving seven distinguished awards in its first year of operation. Connections Wellness Group is a nationally accredited healthcare practice able to care for any need, from acute depression to the common cold and everything in between.

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