American College of Rheumatology the Only Medical Society to Earn Top Atlanta Workplace Honor
June 9, 2021 | ACR News
ATLANTA – The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) was honored as a 2021 Top Workplace in Atlanta by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), marking the fifth consecutive year the non-profit has received one of the city’s top honors. As one of 175 companies selected to receive this recognition, and the only medical society among the group, it speaks volumes about the College’s ability to persevere in one of the most trying times in recent history. More than 3,300 companies were nominated or asked to participate in the 2021 recognition program.
It goes without saying that 2020 was a year that challenged every aspect of society. The healthcare industry endured the strain as it fought an unknown virus affecting millions worldwide. The entire ACR team quickly pivoted to remote work in March 2020 and still managed to meet member needs and provide valuable information for healthcare providers and their patients.
“As a medical society representing rheumatology health professionals, it was important that we adhere to COVID guidance from the CDC and our federal, state and local governments to set an example on behalf of our members,” said Steve Echard, ACR Executive Vice President. “Despite our rapid move to remote work and hosting an all-virtual annual meeting for the first time ever, our staff handled the transition well, and it resulted in a record number of meeting attendees from all over the world. We also generated several guidances, with input from our volunteer leadership, that provided support and direction for healthcare providers and their patients. I’m extremely proud of the ACR staff for standing tall amid a global pandemic.”
Executive and senior leaders also worked to establish a sense of community and collaboration while working remotely that helped preserve some of the company’s culture and help staff members feel connected and engaged. Virtual social groups were established to create interest-based hubs for “water cooler chat” such as connecting with other parents to discuss virtual learning and new addition, finding other pet owners to share photos and experiences, or even connecting with fellow TV lovers to discuss binge-worthy series. Weekly all-staff meetings hosted by Echard shared pertinent organizational updates, allowed staff members to give “shout outs” to colleagues, and boosted morale through staff competitions.
The impact of these efforts was evident in the employee responses received that serve as the basis for the Top Workplace designation. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through an anonymous, third-party survey that measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection. Support emerged as a primary theme among ACR staff when describing what they enjoy most about working for the College.
“I have the freedom to be the expert in my area and, I feel fully supported and given everything I need to succeed,” said one employee. Another noted that they get to “make a difference in a supportive environment, and I feel both challenged and valued.”
ACR employees also reported feeling their work has value and positively impacts the rheumatology community and they make important contributions at work. In addition to these factors, the ACR provides a competitive benefits package that includes employer-paid health, dental coverage, long and short-term disability insurance, a defined employer contribution retirement plan, vision coverage plans, paid leave, and a flexible work schedule.
About the American College of Rheumatology
Founded in 1934, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is a not-for-profit, professional association committed to advancing the specialty of rheumatology that serves nearly 8,500 physicians, health professionals, and scientists worldwide. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatology professionals are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.