When Jennifer Bucienski graduated from high school, she thought she definitely was going to go into health care.
“I wanted to go into respiratory therapy,” she said. After graduating from Spring Arbor University with a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Development and Management, she went into the field to do just that, only to realize that while being a hands-on care provider wasn’t for her, her passion for the health care industry remained. Now, with more than 20 years of experience as a human resources professional within the health care industry ensuring that others are properly cared for, Bucienski is entering into a new beginning in her career with a new role as the chief experience officer at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital (HGB).
Bucienski has been with HGB for nine years, formerly the vice president of Human Resources, where she focused primarily on the employee experience. What’s exciting about her new role as the chief experience officer, according to Bucienski, is that she gets to work with both the employee and the patient, ensuring that those two experiences are the best they can be.
“It has been proven that if you have unhappy employees, you will have unhappy customers,” said Bucienski. “We’ve all seen it where the server at a restaurant was just berated by their supervisor and they come out to the table and they don’t want to treat the customer well. We want to provide excellent employee experiences so that they will offer the best care to our patients, and so that they enjoy working here.”
In addition to overseeing the employee experience, another facet of Bucienski’s new role is acting as the compliance officer for HGB, making sure that all federal and state requirements are met, contracts are fair, bills are correct and much more.
“Compliance is an experience as well,” she explained. “I have to implement and adhere to the rules, but it needs to be a positive experience to make that happen as well.”
What Bucienski is most looking forward to in her new role is the amount of freedom she will have to work with the patients and the employees. Considering it a clean slate, she noted that they’ve been measuring patient satisfaction with surveys for years so that she can set new goals based on the data that those surveys provide.
“My role will be doing a deeper dive into the analysis of those surveys to really figure out what would make this an excellent experience for our patients that they will come back. It certainly starts with employee experience.”
And part of creating a great employee experience, of course, is figuring out a good system to maintain a work-life balance for every employee, and while Bucienski admits to working hard – sometimes during nights and weekends — she says that for her family of five, it’s all about give and take.
“I set my schedule and work the best I can around that,” she said. Her three children, Celia, 16, Gavin, 14 and Erin, 13, are active in school and extracurricular activities. While the oldest can drive, which Bucienski admits to being a big help, she noted that her husband Charles’ career as a middle school science teacher at Olivet Community Schools is what really allows their family dynamics to work.
When asked if she felt that there was a role reversal happening in current culture regarding jobs in the household — the husband takes the more demanding job and the wife takes on a more flexible career path to allow more time with the children — Bucienski agreed that she has seen it more in her generation than in the past.
“I’ve seen many women take sort of this role within the family,” said Bucienski. “I think that with the women in my generation, a lot of us are just really determined. We were the first latchkey kids – we saw our moms at work … we were striving to do more. We wanted to be as successful as both of our parents and that really drives us and pushes us to do more.”
With her observation, Bucienski acknowledged the cultural shift as a good thing, and that is something that she and Charles have encouraged and passed along to their children as well.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is hard, but what’s harder still is creating this environment as a boss. Bucienski noted that without HGB’s CEO, Matt Rush, she couldn’t encourage it as much as she does.
“He really encourages that motto for us. Without his behavior and his vision for creating that atmosphere, none of us could do that.”
She recalled in previous employment situations where her supervisors expected her to work long hours and didn’t encourage family time with a successful career.
“That’s part of my job as the experience officer, to make sure that we get the work done and that we get the family time too.”