‘Like Winning the Super Bowl’

Last week was a whirlwind for the housekeeping department at Children’s Hospital. In addition to on-boarding a new group of frontline associates – including four Cincinnati Works Members – the department celebrated one of their teammates who made a particular impact on two young cancer patients.

The mother of one of the patients stopped by to deliver a tearful, heartfelt thanks to the housekeeping staff, and gifts have poured in from across the country.

Karen Brunsman of Crothall Healthcare interviews a Cincinnati Works Member at our most recent Monthly Mentoring Interviews

“This is like winning the Super Bowl for us,” said Karen Brunsman, hiring manager for Crothall Healthcare, which manages the housekeeping staff at Children’s.

“We on-board people every week, and I am going to share that story with them. It shows what it means to be here. It puts our work in perspective.”

It also explains why Brunsman had such a valuable experience during the most recent Monthly Mentoring Interviews at Cincinnati Works.

She was one of four local employers who were invited to our downtown office on the final Friday of October to interview Cincinnati Works Members. The stated goal of the program is to allow Members to interview in a comfortable setting and get instant feedback from human resources professionals. If a Member makes a strong-enough impression, he or she may get invited to a formal job interview later, but the primary purpose is for the Members and hiring managers to learn more about each other.

Brunsman expected to find one or two good candidates over the two-hour event. Instead, she stayed for 3 ½ hours, interviewed 10 people and offered jobs to six of them. Four joined the staff last week as housekeepers: Joe Brantley, Malinda Dawson, Shaina Scott and Janice Shaw. A fifth will be hired pending a security review. The sixth, who was offered a management position, is weighing multiple job offers.

“They were the most-prepared group I’ve seen,” Brunsman said. “They all came in dressed professionally. They gave professional answers. They could speak to everything on their resume. When I asked them a question, their answers were thorough, articulated and well-thought-out.”

Brunsman appreciated the setting for the Monthly Mentoring Interviews. It was more intimate than a job fair, so she was able to sell Members on the career paths available at Crothall while also getting a feel for their personalities – which is particularly important at Children’s Hospital, where housekeepers regularly interact with vulnerable children and stressed-out parents.

Janice Shaw and her coach, Darlene Gray, ring the bell in celebration of her new job at Children’s Hospital

“Of the 10 people I interviewed, maybe a couple of them had some housekeeping experience, but I am not necessarily looking for that. I am looking at their personality,” Brunsman said. “We can teach you to clean. I can’t teach you to engage with people, to make their lives better with how you treat them.”

When the buzz from last week wears off, as it eventually does for all Super Bowl champions, the housekeeping department will return to the regular roller coaster of working in a hospital. There will be broken hearts and inspiring breakthroughs and hundreds of rooms that must be meticulously cleaned. Brunsman will on-board more new staff and continue to nurture partnerships with Cincinnati Works and a select group of other local non-profits.

“They set the bar high here,” she said, “and our team always meets the challenge.”