Sanford celebrates employees with unforgettable experience

Health system builds a program in spirit of gratitude, celebration of workers

Sanford celebrates employees with unforgettable experience

It was a surprise getaway celebration for Sanford Health caregivers.

With full COVID-19 safety precautions in place, a group of 20 took flight to Nashville in late February, for a two-day experience just for them.

Through partnerships with world-renowned artists and influencers, Sanford Health connected with Grammy Award-winning country music group Lady A to write a song that would encapsulate that sense of gratitude.

Watch: Lady A produces a song inspired by Sanford health care workers

“Part of what Lady A wanted to do is meet some of our front-line employees to help get inspiration for that song,” Sanford Health chief marketing officer Kimber Severson told Sanford Health News.

It’s about the people

The group interacted with Lady A during an intimate meeting inside Nashville’s historic Grand Ole Opry theatre.

“It was just such an unbelievable moment,” Carol Cressman said.

Cressman, one of 20 employee ambassadors, has worked at Sanford nearly 41 years. She’s the director of pediatrics, PICU, pediatric outpatients and child life services.

Read: Sanford inaugural ambassadors reflect on surprise getaway

“If the purpose of us being here is to feel loved, you’ve accomplished that because we really felt the love.”

Just as Lady A is the latest country music artist to join the Grand Ole Opry, these Sanford Health employees become the inaugural inductees to a new brand ambassador program.

“This first year, we set the bar really, really high,” Severson said.

The COVID-19 pandemic made this an even more meaningful moment in time to show gratitude and appreciation for health care workers.

“It went over really well,” Severson said. “It is the first year, of many additional years, that the experience-of-a-lifetime will be delivered to many of our Sanford employees.”

A new day

Through changes in corporate leadership in November, president and CEO Bill Gassen called for a “new day” and renewed focus on what’s important: patients and residents, people and community.

At that time, Severson gathered a team to begin putting this program into action.

“So, we set out to try and figure out a really unique way that we could say ‘thank you’ to 48,000 employees of Sanford Health not just for all they’ve done in the past year, but all they’ve done for us forever.”

The inaugural group includes a diverse cross-section of employees representing nursing, radiology technology, food services, environmental services, security, and patient and guest services, among others.

“Their different backgrounds and the areas in which they serve will help us be a better Sanford Health,” she said.

Reflecting on the last few months, Severson calls the timing of everything “serendipitous” and couldn’t be more pleased seeing this program come to life.

“The diversity of the group just made for the perfect first year. It really did,” she said. “I will say, not every year will we have a song that’s just for us. But every year, it’s going to be special.”

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Posted In Awards & Recognition, Company News, People & Culture