Successful organizations have teams that display certain behaviors. Organizations that are able to find, hire, develop and retain people who can perform will succeed. Those that don’t will struggle. It’s that simple. Talent wins.
We looked at hospitals that have made the most gains in 2012 toward building a team ready to face the challenges in 2013. Here are the top six strategies we’ve seen:
1. Define the Behaviors that Will Drive Your Culture
Hospitals spend energy developing a vision, mission statements and a list of values. The challenge is in “operationalizing” these values. How do you link every job to these values? Successful organizations define the specific behaviors at each level of the organization that will lead to, for instance, patient-centered care.
2. Select Better Leaders – At All Levels
Identify and develop individuals with leadership potential. Traditionally, a physician who is vocal, productive, influential, and perhaps academically prolific, rises to a leadership position. For example, we make our best nurse a manager. Success as a clinician does not ensure success as a leader, but traditional healthcare training and development often discourage the sort of collaboration, adaptability and servant-lead leadership that is needed today.
Commit resources to identifying and developing leaders. Use your performance management program to identify those with leadership potential and use structured leadership development to build the next class of leaders.
3. Use the Science of Selection
Technical skills are rarely the reason for performance failures. Instead, performance issues turn on behaviors. Leading organizations know that they need a workforce that is patient-focused, adaptable, innovative and compassionate. By adding objective measures to the selection process, you significantly increase the odds of making the right decision.
4. Coordinate all Talent Functions
Successful hospitals work from a single behavioral competency model, designed for use across all HR functions. In this manner, the behavioral competencies form the foundation for all related functions and for the organizational culture.
5. Look at the Entire Organization
To attract and retain high performers, you need better managers. You also need better front line workers - these positions have an overall impact on turnover costs and the patient and family experience. Finally, don’t exclude physicians from this thought process. With the growing trend of physician employment by hospitals, we are creating a very unique physician “workforce” that needs to be built, managed and developed with the future in mind. Culture change requires work at every level.
6. Enhance the Effectiveness of Patient Satisfaction Training – Incorporate Healthcare EQ
Each physician and staff member brings a different psychological and behavioral make-up to the patient interaction. Each has different strengths and weaknesses. Rather than blanket training on a checklist of actions, progressive organizations provide staff with insight into their own behavioral DNA via a measure of healthcare-specific EQ (Healthcare Emotional Intelligence “HEQ”). Just as talent-selection strategies are focusing on the behavioral competencies of the individual, patient-satisfaction training can target specific behaviors of each individual staff member.
Bryan Warren was the former Director of Healthcare Solutions at PSI. He was responsible for developing and promoting tools and services designed specifically for the unique challenges faced by healthcare organizations.