KMHS a great place to work — again

BREMERTON — Perhaps its the onsite yoga classes or the walking club. Or maybe it’s the supportive atmosphere. Whatever the cause, the effect is clear: Kitsap Mental Health Services (KMHS) in Bremerton is one of the best employers in the state of Washington. Again.

For the ninth year running, KMHS has claimed a spot in the 2008 Washington CEO Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For competition. This year, KMHS is ranked No. 14 among non-profit/government winners.

“I think we really work in a team environment here and come together to provide the very best possible services. The staff is very competent and we have a lot of different resources for clients. The staff is really excited about the work they do. They’re very respected here,” said KMHS Human Resource Director Laura Holloway. “We are an awesome organization to work for and we provide outstanding services to the clientele.”

What it boils down to at KMHS is a culture of respect, which makes employees feel valued, Holloway said. Among the programs that make employees smile are a comprehensive health package, a generous leave program, the ability to telecommute and afore mentioned onsite yoga classes and walking program.

All in all, the attitude driving the corporate culture is KMHS offers both inpatient and outpatient mental health services and it’s difficult to take care of others without first taking care of yourself, Holloway said.

Thus, the reason for the generous leave policy.

“It’s important for people to rest and we encourage them to take care of themselves,” she said.

The hoops through which the organization jumped gives the magazine — and the organization itself — an honest look of what the employees think of themselves and the work they do.

The information also offers insight on any changes that might need to be made to improve employee morale.

According to the Washington CEO Web site, about 308 companies vied for a spot on the list by having employees fill out an anonymous online survey. Those responses were used to grade the employers on “effective communication, training, responsibility and decision-making, performance standards, rewards and recognition, benefits, leadership, work environment, hiring and retention, and corporate culture.”

A group of nine judges surveyed the results and made the final decision.

Employees of KMHS were encouraged to answer the questions honestly, Holloway said.

“We really asked staff to participate and what we really stress is that the input is very valuable because it helps us understand what’s working well and what we might need to tweak. Most importantly, it’s important getting those results back to see if we can target areas of potential improvement,” she said.

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