Last spring, more than 6,500 employees completed the first BWH Employee Pulse survey, themed “You Matter to Us.  What Matters to You?” The survey captured what employees value in their work lives, what they see as important and how BWH as an organization can build on its strengths. Through follow-up focus groups and interviews, Human Resources (HR) has identified three key themes that are meaningful to employees: career development, recognition and feedback.

Career Development

We asked: How strongly do you agree or disagree with this statement: I am given an opportunity to learn and develop my skills.

You said: 

  • A good relationship with your manager is a priority. Managers who encourage, support and facilitate ongoing conversations create a positive work environment.
  • Conversations with our managers should not be limited to annual reviews.
  • Having conversations about careers, growth and skill development is key.
  • It is important for managers to help employees take advantage of training and learning opportunities that are available through BWH and Partners.

Together, we’re changing:

  • HR has extended mentor programs to reach more employees. Mentor/mentee training is offered every September (and for teams, by request). Mentoring circles are sprouting up in several areas.
  • Courses for managers are currently being designed to address some fundamental themes such as building trusting relationships–topics that employees have identified as important. Another training for managers, recently piloted, addresses how to have career and employee development conversations.
  • HR is enhancing communications about existing resources, such as tuition reimbursement and career coaching.
  • Plans are underway to offer courses throughout the distributed campus.


We asked: How strongly do you agree or disagree with this statement: I am satisfied with the recognition I receive for the work I do.

You said

  • It is important to be informed about all of the existing avenues for recognition.
  • It is possible to be creative about how departments and teams recognize employees or a job well done.
  • It helps to acknowledge that people like to receive recognition differently based on personality type. Being thoughtful about recognition makes it special.
  • Recognition is about feeling valued.
  • Recognition is something we all can do. We have to be active in the process by recognizing each other and finding ways to make sure our accomplishments are known.
  • Sometimes teams are recognized for a collective effort. Individuals are recognized for an individual accomplishment.

Together we‘re changing

  • HR will be launching a new recognition webpage with tools and resources. Stay tuned!
  • Through training sessions and coaching for managers, creative ideas can be sparked.
  • HR will brainstorm with you and share ideas that other teams have used in successful recognition programs so you can build one of your own.
  • We will share success stories of how various teams practice recognition.


We asked: How strongly do you agree or disagree with this statement: My immediate manager provides me with meaningful, constructive feedback that helps me to be effective in my job.

You said:

  • It is important to realize that trusting relationships with managers and colleagues is a prerequisite for receiving valuable feedback.
  • The term “feedback” may be perceived as negative due to past experiences. Using other terms might help to create a sense of openness.
  • It helps when you can create a culture of giving, receiving and asking for feedback.
  • The annual review should not be the only time a person receives feedback.
  • Feedback can be a part of a good conversation.
  • Having regular, timely performance reviews is very important.

Together we’re changing

  • HR will provide managers with tools, tips and resources for giving feedback and encouraging ongoing feedback on their teams.
  • Through manager meet-ups, we will encourage the sharing of best practices.
  • A longer-term goal for HR is to update the performance evaluation form so it is more focused on a two-way conversation between a manager and employee.