St. Jude Children’s: Investing in People


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital made Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work List in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work for the past 9 consecutive years. These lists, which are generated based on employee feedback, reveal St. Jude’s consistent commitment to employee satisfaction. However, these awards also beg the question: How do they do it? For busy business owners, what does investing in your people look like on a daily basis?

Supporting Employees

In the words of St. Jude President and CEO, James R. Downing, “We strive to give employees the resources and support that will help them do their best work and make the most of their careers.”

St. Jude has an ever-evolving Leadership Academy. This program was established to continuously develop the management skills of team and department leaders, mid-level managers, and supervisors. Through the Leadership Squared program, St. Jude employees gain exposure to hands-on strategic planning and personal development coaching. Executive mentoring as well as a variety of professional development courses are also readily available. In addition to expanding their leadership strategies, participants are able to build valuable relationships with other leaders across the institution as they learn from one another’s experiences.

Performance Management

Performance Management is another area where St. Jude continues to impress their employees. Key components of this process include managers engaging in frequent check-ins with team members, goal alignment that clarifies each employee’s role and how it connects to St. Jude’s priorities, and finally, objective reviews of employee performance.

In an interview with Glassdoor, St. Jude VP of Human Resources, Dana Bottenfield, shared what St. Jude has learned over time in regards to investing in employees: “Involve your employees in the success of your organization. Help them connect their role to the goals of your organization. Listen to their feedback so you can understand what they need to perform their job at the top of their abilities. Invest in training for your leaders. Provide challenging work. Celebrate success. And, if a challenge doesn’t succeed, support them as they learn from the experience.”

That’s our spark, what’s yours?