Employee Engagement Progress in Wellbeing Support

Denver Health’s 2022 Employee Engagement Survey will open September 28 – October 12. The survey is your opportunity to let leaders know what’s working well and what needs improvement. Denver Health leaders want you to know that your voice matters and the feedback you share leads to real changes. In advance of the survey, a series of stories in the 411 is highlighting Denver Health’s progress and achievements since the previous survey in 2020. This week’s story looks at Denver Health’s support for your well-being.

Key Takeaways

  • We heard many of you are feeling overwhelmed and sometimes disengaged

  • To address these issues, we have:

  1. Improved support services through RISE
  2. Provided places to decompress and unwind
  3. Increased reward and recognition programs
  4. Provided financial support to employees in need

In the 2020 Engagement survey, two key themes emerged: some of you indicated that you didn’t feel as engaged in your work, and the emotional and physical challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic are often overwhelming.

Denver Health leaders listened to those concerns and focusing on our employees’ engagement and well-being has been a top priority the past couple of years.


Since first launching in January 2020, RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events) has been providing emotional support from peer responders for staff 24/7. The impact of the pandemic on our team members has been significant, even now as our society moves through COVID recovery. As of August 2022, RISE has served staff 223,000 times, including visits to the RISE Up Staff Support Center. Of those, nearly 9,000 team members received emotional support and psychological first aid in individual and group sessions.


Our staff’s needs have been so great that RISE has significantly increased its services. You’ll now find more group support including affinity groups for those who identify as Black or African American, BIPOC and LGBTQ+. RISE also provides live sessions on mindfulness at the support center; mobile service delivery that brings support to units, clinics and teams; as well as the Peer Assault Care Team (PACT), which provides unique support for personnel who have experienced workplace violence.


You’ve also told leaders that you need spaces to rest and recharge. We know coffee is a big priority for everyone throughout the day, including those who work the nightshift. In the beginning of August, RISE began operating a coffee nook on the first floor of Pavilion B near the Human Resources offices for nightshift employees. Peer responders set out a dispenser full of fresh brew every night at 6 p.m. when the support center closes.

Additionally, providers wanted a space to unwind and connect with their colleagues. In January 2022, Denver Health opened the Dr. Justina Ford Medical Staff Commons in Pavilion D as a place where providers can engage with their peers. 


You have also shared with leaders that it’s important for you to feel valued and respected by leadership. Denver Health leaders recognize our employees make our organization the special place that it is. Through our culture of recognition, Denver Health celebrates our workforce with Days of Celebration, Values Awards, Nurses Week, Medical Assistants Week, Doctors’ Day, Environmental Services (EVS) Week, the Holiday Buffet and other activities. We also reward employees for their exceptional efforts with our Compassionate Care, Heroes of Heart, DAISY and Sunshine awards. In addition, we encourage leaders in every department and clinic to recognize team members often through rounding, twinkle tokens and hand-written thank you notes. 


Denver Health staff have faced great challenges throughout the pandemic, and now some are facing their own personal losses and financial struggles. Since 2020, our Employee Disaster Relief Fund has given nearly $700,000 to employees in need.


Recognizing that some staff need additional financial assistance, Denver Health leaders worked with WorkLife Partnership to begin offering a confidential Small Dollar Loan Program to staff in 2021. Since then through the end of July of this year, there have been 527 loans. The Denver Health Foundation pays a flat fee per loan to cover the interest, which has totaled $65,875.


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