How to be a Best Place to Work For Any Size Company

Blaine Kelley

As one of the largest employers in Chattanooga and consecutive two-time winner of “Best Place to Work” in the Chattanooga Times Free Press People’s Choice awards, Erlanger Health System seems to have found a formula for satisfying its associates.

So how did the seventh largest public hospital in the nation achieve this status? Erlanger makes it a priority to actively engage everyone who works at the health system.

No matter the size of the business, associates may feel disengaged and undervalued from time to time. Investing in associates does not have to require a large budget, but it can lead to a positive return on investment for the business.  Below are a few examples any size company can use to engage associates.


Associates want to be informed about their employer and involved in employer events. This will give them a feeling of being valuable and educated about the business.  Open lines of communication are an important part of any relationship.   Newsletters or a board with important information, project updates and event information can have a greater impact on associates.

Keeping your workforce informed does not need to be a labor intensive process. A simple newsletter or e-mail for medium to larger companies can do the trick. Erlanger constantly utilizes an intranet home page, email blasts and posters to update associates and other partners on pertinent business information.

In smaller companies, reaching your associates may not be an issue, but it is still important to keep them in the conversation and encourage them to be involved. A morning chat with your associates about business happenings, goals and problem solving is a great way to engage your team.

Employee Events

Organizing events can have a lasting impact on your staff. Smaller events such as a potluck lunch or even a breakfast meeting can allow the company, department and staff to interact in ways that foster employee engagement.

“When associates are engaged in their workplace, they take pride in where they work, encouraging them to work harder to obtain goals and be successful in the business,” said Taylor Hurley, Employee Events Coordinator for Erlanger. “If the associates are happy, they perform better and build positive relationships with customers, the community, etc. thus building a more positively perceived brand of service.”

Investing the time and money into creating opportunities for associates to interact beyond daily tasks can promote a deeper rooted investment in the company. That feeling of being valued changes their attitude toward their work and encourages them to go the extra mile.


Employee recognition can be delivered in many different ways. From the annual Employee Service Awards banquet to a quick shout out in a newsletter, Erlanger makes a conscious effort to recognize associates for their contributions and accomplishments. Every year, Erlanger celebrates hundreds of associates for their years of service with a dinner and awards.  Just this year, ten of those celebrated 40 plus year as an associate with the Erlanger Health System.

Incorporating associate recognition as part of a newsletter is an easy addition if you already have a newsletter.  For smaller companies, simply saying “thank you” or adding a quick mention during a meeting about an associate’s achievement or life event is an easy way to make them feel valued.

There is no one way for a company to be a wonderful place to work. There are many different aspects associates value in their workplace. Finding what works best for your business to attract and retain the type of talent you desire takes time and a little creativity, but in the end, it truly builds another “best place to work” in Chattanooga.

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