Pioneer Employer Hospital Initiative

The Pioneer Employer Hospital Initiative, funded by the Hitachi Foundation, is based on the idea that employers who do good, do well. It is an effort to discover and promote the next generation of best practices in workforce management, with a particular focus on health care and manufacturing. Pioneer Employers are companies that strategically invest in their own lower-wage workers to benefit their customers and/or shareholders. They go beyond typical ideas about “great places to work,” and demonstrate how organizations can deliberately align the interests of employees and management to create better results for companies and their employees.

Summary of Findings

This document compiles all of the major lessons discovered through this project.  It describes the types of initiatives hospitals and health systems pursued, summarizes their results, and details common strategies for successful implementation.

Case Studies

These 11 case studies describe in detail the work each hospital and health system accomplished in successfully implementing their programs.  This includes a description of their projects, success factors that were critical for their organization, on their return on investments.

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital - Park Ridge, Illinois

Bassett Medical Center - Cooperstown, New York

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center - Boston, Massachusetts

Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare - Utica, New York

Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center - West Islip, New York

Group Health Cooperative - Seattle, Washington

Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago, Illinois

Providence St. Peter Hospital - Olympia, Washington

Thompson Health - Canandaigua, New York

UNC Health Care - Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Virginia Mason Medical Center - Seattle, Washington


Implementation Toolkit

This Implementation Toolkit is based upon in-depth case studies of the 11 Pioneer Hospital Employers selected for their diversity and the quality of their programs to develop the careers of their front line workers.  It is designed to help executives who anticipate facing specific workforce challenges to:


  • Quickly identify the type of Pioneer Hospital Employer program that could help (Chapter 1 - Implementation Guide);
  • Understand how other organizations have approached similar program (Chapter 2 - Menu of Key Program Elements);
  • Learn key partnership lessons and points of commonality with post-secondary education institutions (Chapter 3 – Roadmap for Collaborating with Education Partners);
  • Answer questions peers may have about the program (Chapter 4 – Frequently Asked Questions); and
  • Delve further more deeply into models and theories surrounding this work (Chapter 5 – Recommended Reading)