In January 2023, Parkview Health introduced a new program for co-workers—volunteer time off (VTO). This new policy allows Parkview coworkers to have 16 hours paid time off to use for volunteer activities or to care for their mental health. After almost a year in action, the response to this program has been overwhelmingly positive and many co-workers have reported engaging in meaningful work through the benefit.
Developing the program
According to Ann Stevens, director, total rewards, Parkview Health, the new VTO policy was created in direct response to coworker feedback around wanting to volunteer more in the communities Parkview serves.
“VTO is a meaningful way to carry forward Parkview’s spirit of giving and compassion to others in the community as well as providing an avenue for co-workers to take care of themselves,” Ann said.
Co-workers can use their VTO time in a variety of ways and for a variety of activities such as chaperoning school field trips or volunteering for other non-profits. The program enables non-benefit eligible co-workers to give back without losing pay when volunteering on a day they would have worked. VTO time can also be used to get paid while volunteering on non-scheduled workdays, which means their shifts won’t need to be backfilled.
VTO for good
One co-worker who used her volunteer time off for an immersive volunteer experience is Kathie Hoerdt, RT(R), quality improvement analyst, clinical integration network. Kathie utilized her VTO time as a part of a week-long camping trip within Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio making trail improvements.
“[We went] backpacking into trails that were overgrown and not signed well, according to the lost hikers that were eventually found!” Kathie explained. “We cleared many miles of trails of brush and trees with saws, chain saws and weed eaters. We placed signs throughout the trail system to allow for safer hiking.”
Kathie has a history of spending time in the woods camping with her three sons when they were growing up and being able to give back to our National Parks and Forests lets her serve others while also serving herself.
“The woods are my happy place. A quiet hike with only my thoughts and the beauty around me is what recharges my soul,” she said.
Kathie feels grateful for this new benefit, so she could have this volunteer experience and still have PTO to take with her family. “Providing this benefit proves to me that Parkview leadership does support a work-life balance for our Parkview team members and values the well-being of the team. When our Parkview team feels supported, we can offer even better support to our patients.”
Ann says that stories like Kathie’s are exactly what the program is all about. “It is heartwarming to hear how co-workers have been able to give back to the community, support local schools and take care of themselves when the stresses of healthcare are taking their toll. These stories reinforce what many of us feel each day as we interact and work together, that our co-workers are truly wonderful people!”
Join the team
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