Bronson Loads On The Honors

    KALAMAZOO — It’s good to be considered one of the best employers in town. It’s more impressive when an employer is voted one of the best in the area. Making the grade as one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” in the country is a remarkable honor. Bronson Methodist Hospital has done just that — three times in a row.

    In an upcoming issue of Fortune, the hospital was ranked number 68 in the nation based on the judgment of Fortune’s editorial board, and, more importantly, upon the opinions of Bronson’s employees. Over 1,500 companies were nominated for the honor. Of those, less than 500 made the initial cut. After that, the finalists were chosen because of their strength in four areas: credibility (communication to employees), respect (opportunities and benefits), fairness (compensation, diversity), and pride/camaraderie (philanthropy, celebrations).

    “We are delighted to learn that Bronson’s commitment to work force excellence continues to compare so well nationally,” said Frank J. Sardone, Bronson president and CEO. “Evaluations by organizations such as Fortune allow us to benchmark our performance against many of the nation’s best companies. The results indicate that we have a very satisfied work force and that Bronson employees are engaged in delivering care and service at the highest level.  That’s good news for Kalamazoo and for the patients and families we serve.”

    The health system’s re-election to the Fortune list complements its distinction as a three-time winner in Working Mother Magazine’s “100 Best Companies For Working Mothers.” Bronson’s most recent honor from that magazine came in September 2005.

    Perhaps the most remarkable of Bronson’s recent awards is the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. According to the sponsoring agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Baldridge award is “the nation’s highest Presidential honor for quality and organizational performance excellence.” Bronson was one of only six organizations nationwide that President George W. Bush honored with the award in November 2005.

    “America is a land of great opportunity because of the hard work, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens,” the President wrote in a letter to the winners. “This year’s recipients have demonstrated the principled leadership, strong character, and commitment to economic growth that are associated with this award’s namesake, and each serves as a model for other organizations in its field.”

    Borgess is only the second Michigan organization to win the Baldridge award since its inception in 1987. General Motors Corp.’s Cadillac division won the award in 1990.

    Taken together, Bronson’s awards not only make the hospital a desirable workplace, but Bronson’s success makes the Kalamazoo area a more attractive place.

    “This benefits the local community, because Bronson is retaining a highly trained work force and, at the same time, successfully attracting new employees to live and work in southwest Michigan,” said Susan Ulschafer, Bronson’s senior vice president of human resources and organizational development.

    The “100 Best Companies To Work For” list is published in the Jan. 23 issue of Fortune, available on newsstands Jan. 16. In addition to Bronson (ranked 68th overall), there were four other Michigan winners: accountancy firm Plante & Moran, headquartered in Southfield (No. 12); financial services firm Quicken Loans/Rock Financial of Livonia (No. 13); Republic Bancorp, headquartered in Owosso (No. 17); and Valassis Communications, also of Livonia (No. 69). Several other winners have a presence in Michigan, despite being headquartered elsewhere.   

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