Healthcare staffing firm Dedicated Nursing Associates was recently named the 2nd fastest growing staffing firm by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA). To drive growth, President and CEO Craig Fusting prioritizes right-fit internal and external employees, drives accountability with clear goals, and fuels engagement with innovative tactics.

Why was Dedicated Nursing Associates started?

I have worked as a part-time employee and as a temporary employee. I was inspired by those experiences to create the same opportunities for part-time and temporary employees that full-time employees have, but with greater flexibility.

A nurse wrote me a letter once. She said, “I’ve been working in the nursing field for 30 years. I got so sick of missing out on life, of missing holidays and birthdays. I was about ready to quit. Then, I found your company — I work as often as I want, whenever I want. I haven’t missed any birthdays or holidays since. That flexibility has energized me — I love my job again. I may stay in the field for another 4 or 5 years.”

We all know there’s a major nursing shortage. Here’s one more nurse who isn’t going to leave the profession. We have the opportunity to benefit part-time and contingent employees and help out a field with such a significant shortage.

What were the main factors that drove your success over the last year?

First and foremost, our employees drive our success. When DNA was first formed we had a good team, but we didn’t have a great team. As we’ve found our identity, we’ve realized the individuals who fit into our culture. We’ve hired the employees who not only buy into our business but enjoy what they’re doing. As soon as you can identify those true players, you’re really going to succeed.

Second, we’ve focused this year on accountability. We break things down so every employee knows exactly what’s expected of them. Accountability is not just about whether or not tasks get done. It’s about keeping productivity aligned with strategy. We set clear expectations and goals, and we give each employee the tools to reach those goals. We don’t try to micromanage our employees — we give them room to show us what they can do.

And third, we really work to engage our employees. We have different team and individual bonuses, contests, and promotions. We give Caribbean vacations and cars to employees who win contests based on performance. And sure, it’s fun to get vacations and cars, but these are part of our larger vision: we really strive for a work-life balance. We want people to work as hard as possible when they are here and to really enjoy their lives when they’re outside of the office.

What inspires your team?

We try to get our employees out of their comfort zone. You don’t truly understand your employees until you see them perform in unexpected situations. They may surprise you, go above and beyond what you ever expected from them.

We have two manager retreats each year. Most recently, it was a combination of the Amazing Race and a scavenger hunt. Teams had tasks they had to complete across two states and race to get to a lake in the middle of West Virginia. They got to dress up as Rock Stars and Superheroes and helped seniors with their grocery shopping, help folks wash their windows at the gas station, donate to local charities — small acts of community service like that. There were several team building exercise built into the trip. The greatest thing was watching them work together. These were managers from different offices, from different states who had never met  before. They had to problem solve, push the limit, and move out of their comfort zones. That experience alone has improved manager communication 110% and did wonders for our teamwork.

We really emphasize the importance of communication. The more you get your employees engaged, not just with the company, but with each other, the more your organization will grow.

What are your biggest day-to-day challenges?

Finding enough qualified employees, both internal and external, to keep up with demand. We’re very selective in our hiring on both ends. We’re hiring for hospitals, long-term care homes and home care. We have to make sure that the employees we hire would be the people we would want taking care of our own family members. So, we’re definitely picky and the same is true with our interior staff. I believe there are two types of employees: those that are comfortable and those that are hungry. We want hungry employees. We only want the best.

About Dedicated Nursing Associates

Dedicated Nursing Associates (DNA) is a leader in the healthcare staffing industry. They are a medical staffing and home care firm headquartered in Murrysville, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh. DNA also has eleven offices that service all fifty states.

Their team of experienced consultants has over 75 years of combined experience in the staffing industry, and over 65 years of combined experience in the medical staffing industry. They strive to locate only the most qualified and experienced personnel in the industry. At DNA, they understand the needs of both their clients and their employees.

Looking for more? Check out the entire fastest-growing staffing firm series.