Even knowing 200 employee names along with their furry companion names (like Daisy the dog), Danika in recruiting and benefits with West County Health Centers is extremely humble.
“It sounds like a special talent, but it’s not,” was her reply to my genuinely enthusiastic “WOW” reaction.
When a recruit graduates to new hire, their first interaction is with Danika. She does the onboarding which includes a personal questionnaire. Questions like “What’s your favorite quote?” and “What is your dog’s name?” helps break the ice for the new hires.
The questionnaire brings up old memories of Myspace surveys. The ones that consumed hours of procrastinating teen’s time in the mid-2000s. The biggest difference being, people actually read the new hire’s answers.
Nearly 200 people read them.
Danika sends the friendly set of questions to all employees with a photo of the new hire. This survey is her defense as to how she knows everyone (including Daisy the dog).
It’s like her cheat sheet.
But anyone with a mother and a sibling (maybe even a pet) knows how easy it is to forget names.
Or at the least – knows how easy it is to mix them up.
The questionnaire helps unite the employees at West County Health Center and build onto their already strong sense of community.
The theme of community came up a lot when speaking with Danika. The word is even in the nonprofit’s mission statement: “to provide comprehensive, quality, and accessible health care services to the communities of Western Sonoma County.”
“I started here because I wanted to help people,” Danika said.
She continued to explain their clinics and programs with pride. In 2015 they were awarded funding to open a homeless clinic. Services provided will help with some of the root causes of homelessness – like behavioral health and substance abuse.
A few months after the funding was awarded, a fire destroyed their Russian River location. However, the devastating fire did not inhibit the momentum of the homeless clinic opening.
In the early morning of December 26th, arguably during the time of continued holiday celebration, a fire sparked in the utility closet at Russian River Health Center.
The fire grew and inched its way to the elevator shaft. From there it spread throughout the building and into the attic. This act of suspected arson that destroyed their facility still could not put an end to health services.
A modular-type building was soon brought in, and the West County Russian River location continued to serve its patients.
“We had to keep moving – keep going for the sake of patients and staff. We made it work.” Danika said this in the same tone I ask for creamer in my coffee: very matter of fact.
Danika’s morale is contagious, even for me. Throughout our interview, it was clear she was the perfect choice for employee onboarding. New employees first impression of West County is based on their initial interaction with Danika.
Their interaction doesn’t stop at the onboarding process. With eight clinic sites and an administrative building, the bi-annual team meeting helps bring all staff members together.
This brings us back to our theme of community.
Each site has their own mascot. “It gets very loud,” Danika said with a giggle. Visions of a high school pep rally came to mind as Danika described staff members dressing up as their mascot and playfully heckling each other.
Because we administer their Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and COBRA, we at PS Administrators get the privilege of speaking to many of these staff members. The employees call us for questions about their plan, claim reimbursements, and account details.
The HRA plan works well for West County because their employees don’t have to pay a monthly premium; instead, West County pays their full deductible.
This fits the theme of community and aligns with their mission statement: employees get quality health care and West County covers the cost.
The advantage of having us as their FSA provider is the same debit card their employees use for their HRA, they can also use for their FSA.
And when a person retires or leaves the company, that person will speak to the same PS Administrator representatives (who helped them with their HRA/FSA) about their COBRA coverage.
“I feel comfortable sending people to you,” Danika said referring to employee questions. “There has never been an instance where you didn’t have time. You’re customer service driven and are always there to answer questions quickly for the administration and staff.”
West County Health Center upholds their mission to provide comprehensive, quality, and accessible health care services to their community.
It’s apparent that community isn’t just their surrounding towns and patients, but their staff as well.
It is an honor they have made us a small part of their community.
Click here to learn more about West County Health Centers and their services.