Chris Mazurkewich, president and CEO of Interior Health. Capital News files

IH works to improve management staff morale

Ongoing process to resolve issues proceeding

Interior Health president and CEO Chris Mazurkewich was the focal point of frustration expressed by department managers last month.

But the venting that erupted from a survey of 500 managers across the IH region was the result of issues among management staff that had been allowed to fester for too long, acknowledged Mal Griffin, Interior Health vice-president of human resources.

Griffin said the initial survey results, of which the top 20 accumulated comments were all negative, has initiated a process that was likely long overdue.

He said the response resulted in a second survey being done in January asking for input on suggestions or ideas to address department manager’s concerns.

Those results have been collected and will be discussed at a followup meeting in June with the senior leadership group.

Related: IH managers voice discontent

“Interior Health covers a big region across the southern Interior so it will take some time for us to analyze the feedback and determine what of that feedback applies region-wide and what might be more localized,” Griffin said.

He said Interior Health had never conducted a survey of this kind before so the initial responses were largely unexpected in their negativity.

“This is probably a process that we should go through every two or three years going forward,” Griffin said. “We are learning how to go forward from this point.”

Mazurkewich said he was taken aback by the survey response, disappointing for him to hear but not hard to understand.

Along with going through three IH board chairs in the past 18 months, he cited that in the past year the health region also had to deal with the opioid crisis, forest fires, flooding and increased demands from WorkSafe BC regarding staff training.

“And that was on top of the normal stuff that we deal with in a given year,” said Mazurkewich, speaking after the IH board meeting on Tuesday in Kelowna.

He said those additional demands placed greater stress on staff, and the impact of that pressure found an outlet through the survey.

Griffin said he appreciated the honesty of that feedback because it sent a clear message there were issues that needed to be addressed.

“That’s why we went back and asked for input to find solutions, to see what we can do moving forward,” he said.

In an internal memo leaked to the media last month, Mazurkewich indicated the initial survey response left him humbled but also reiterated the importance the chief executive officer and health board play in creating a positive work culture within the health authority, which employs a workforce of 20,000.

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