OhioHealth joins Richland County ERN

OhioHealth joins Richland County ERN

Pictured: NECIC Business Development Coordinator Amanda Cooper serves as the OhioHealth Success Coach.

*Update: The Richland County Employer Resource Network has been rebranded as the Associate Support Network.

MANSFIELD, Ohio – North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC) recently announced the launch of the Richland County Employer Resource Network (Richland County ERN). The initiative is off to a successful start, with OhioHealth as the first Richland County ERN participant.

Sara Craig, regional director of human resources at OhioHealth, currently works with an employer resource network, “I am fortunate to also work at Marion General Hospital with Marion Matters’ ERN. It is a very positive experience, and we are delighted with the impact the success coach has had with our associates,” she said.

“We are fortunate to have OhioHealth, the largest employer in Richland County, eager to join the Richland County ERN,” said NECIC Executive Director Deanna West-Torrence. “Their leadership in the county, the experience they have with a similar program in Marion, and the care that they have for their employees will make this a responsive, employer-led initiative.”


An employer resource network is made up of a group of businesses that share the cost of an on-site success coach to provide job retention services, work supports, and training opportunities to employees.

Craig said the advantages of belonging to an ERN are twofold, benefiting both employee and employer.

“In the workplace, the success coach is available to help associates with issues that may be distracting to them and impacting their productivity at work. So many times, we need the assistance of someone who knows how to navigate community-based services,” she said. “It might be a need for elder care, for babysitting, for budgeting help, for assistance with purchasing a new home, with transportation, etc.”

The second benefit, she noted, is the ability for employers to come together and share common issues, allowing them to tackle problems in a collaborative manner. “For example,” she explained, “with my previous experience, three employers were frustrated that the bus line didn’t run all the way to their businesses. Working together, they were able to influence the routing of the bus lines, allowing associates bus line access to their respective places of employment.”

The Success Coach

NECIC Business Development Coordinator Amanda Cooper serves as the success coach at OhioHealth. During the initial period, Cooper has been working closely with HR and management.

“We’ve spent time ‘on-boarding’ the success coach, so she is familiar with our managers, their teams, the OhioHealth culture, and the services and benefits offered by OhioHealth. The more the success coach knows about our organization, the better she can link up associates’ needs with available resources,” said Craig.

 Cooper noted that having the insight into the organization is invaluable, allowing her to connect employees to internal resources before finding community resources, or to use the two in conjunction to better meet employee needs.

The process, she added, is particularly helpful in building a strong employer/employee relationship. “This allows me to connect employees to OhioHealth in a more personal manner, and assist in developing that relationship. I think when you realize your employer has something in place just to benefit you, it changes your perspective.”

Return on Investment

The cost of turnover is often underestimated, noted Craig. “Losing an associate impacts a department’s productivity, can impact patient satisfaction, and can stress the remaining associates while they cover the open shifts. There are direct costs for advertising, recruiting, interviewing, background checks, pre-employment physicals and processing all the paperwork of a new hire. Then, once they are hired, there are training costs, orientation costs, and lost productivity while the new associate gets up to speed.

“From a business standpoint, the program pays for itself in full if we can prevent just a few associates per year from leaving,” she added.

Cooper agreed that employee retention is key, and added, “One of the best features of the ERN is that the cost of the success coach is shared among participating businesses. The return on investment for each business is outstanding, based on the numbers that have been published so far.”

The return on investment is more than monetary.

“Of equal importance is the social element,” said Craig. “We work really hard at OhioHealth to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and this program aligns beautifully with our values. Helping a parent with childcare or transportation concerns; helping a manager with elder care issues; providing financial guidance to an associate who recently moved out on her own - these are just a few ways that the success coach helps connect our associates with available resources. 

“An environmental services associate, whose father is at the end of the long battle with cancer, may not even be aware of all the services and resources available to him and his family. Having someone to help him navigate his specific issues is just one more way for him to know that his OhioHealth family is here for him.”

“It’s an honor to be able to strengthen our local workforce by providing support,” added West-Torrence, “not only in the form of making connections to resources, but also in being proactive in addressing the many factors that threaten to destabilize their employment.”

For more information about the Richland County ERN, contact Amanda Cooper at 419-522-1611, extension 100 or click here. 

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