Eye Associates of New Mexico is the No. 5 large company in Top Workplaces for 2022.
Description: Eye Associates of New Mexico was founded in 1976, and is headquartered in Albuquerque. The privately owned ophthalmology and optometry company is now one of the largest comprehensive eye care practices in the country with over 50 ophthalmologists and optometrists. It consists of 544 U.S. employees with 536 employees in New Mexico across 15 branches. This is the third year Eye Associates of New Mexico has made the Top Workplaces list.
From the organization: “We aspire to be the eye care delivery system of choice in the areas we serve. We will be known for excellent, comprehensive eye care as demonstrated by our commitment to quality, integrity and affordability. We will strive for continuous quality improvements in patient care, customer service, staff development, practice development and clinical research.”
From the employees: “I am learning, being challenged, and socializing on a daily basis. The colleagues I work with are very approachable and knowledgeable,” said one employee. “I get to create a relationship with my patients and am part of something much larger than myself. Being in healthcare can be so hard but so rewarding.”
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Eye Associates of New Mexico CEO Tony Lenhart and Chief Human Resources Officer Cris Todd, whose comments have been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
What pandemic-era changes made to the workplace do you intend to keep moving forward?
Todd: “We had a lot of innovation that happened during the pandemic. One of those is we have about 120 of our employees who are telecommuting on a regular basis that we do not intend to change. The pandemic was a tough time for employees, and we really focused on mental health. One of the things we did as a company was we launched the Calm App to all of our staff, so we pay for that as a company. It has sleep stories and medication and master classes and all sorts of different features to improve mental health.”
Lenhart: “The pandemic forced us to accelerate our plans to offer a more flexible work environment where we could or where we can. We’ve maintained that and found that to be an employee-satisfier. The other piece that we deployed as a result of the pandemic was through a technology firm that allows our patients to check in for their visits before arriving at the clinic. And we felt like that made for a safer environment because we found that we had fewer people in our waiting areas partially as a result of that to make it a safer environment during the pandemic for other patients and our employees.”
What has your company done to attract or retain talent?
Todd: “We hired an outside consulting firm to do a market analysis of 50 of our most hired positions. We then took that data and made adjustments in areas where we did not feel we were at market from a compensation perspective. We increased technician pay and took a look at these other positions to make sure that we were where we needed to be. The other thing that we’re doing is employee check-ins. So at 30 and 60 days of employment, our leaders will sit down with our new hires and ask questions such as ‘what makes you stay and what might make you leave’ and then acting on the information. So we’re moving into a proactive approach with our new hires to make sure that we are ahead of any issues.”
Lenhart: “With a company like ours that is focused on health care, (we’re asking ourselves) ‘why are we here and what makes Eye Associates a place that is fun to work and rewarding to work?’ And in health care it’s easy to do. We help improve people’s lives by focusing on their eye health and to help folks reconnect with that purpose has been fun and fulfilling. (We’re) connecting folks back to that purpose, so that they feel like our culture is one that encourages them to thrive and to and to remain with us to create that sense of belonging.”