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Articles, case studies, and success stories to guide and inspire healthcare HR, Organizational Development, and Clinical professionals.


'Talent Garden' at University Health System of San Antonio chardyadmin

University Health System’s (UHS) focus on its front line employees is delivering outstanding outcomes that it’s Talent Development strategy has been designed to deliver.  With an 81% student/employee job advancement rate for a group of its frontline employees, UHS has created an environment that is supportive of employee growth and organizational success.   Appropriately termed their “Talent Garden”, UHS has created an environment where everyone can thrive.

 

The Talent Garden’s recently graduated its first ECHO skill development cohort for mid-level associates who are now well on their way to achieving big career dreams and goals.  And, while turnover costs make retention an obvious organizational priority, UHS’ efforts are still at the cutting edge of frontline engagement trends.

 

Studies show that highly engaged employees report that they experience ALL of these and more:

·         an opportunity to learn and grow,

·         are encouraged to seek development,

·         have a manager that cares about them

·         they view their job as important

·         and someone talks about their progress

 

The Executive Director of the Center for Learning Excellence, Jacque Burandt, provided all of these when she chose to offer the ECHO program. “We have lots of programs, not just for directors and managers, but also for the front line,” says Jacque. “We are always working on two paths, better skill development in whatever your job is, then secondly, where do you want to go in the big vision of the health system.”

 

According to Jacque Burandt, Executive Director of UHS’s Center for Learning Excellence, “the ECHO program supports their philosophy of promoting from within.  ECHO offers a unique opportunity for the organization to fill a gap that often prevents non clinical employees from having the tools and educational foundation necessary to successfully transition to more advanced roles within the system, should they so choose.”  ECHO’s delivery format is designed for the adult learner, incorporating multiple learning modalities while at the same time providing a foundation for increased confidence, academic discipline, and formal career planning.

 

The quotes below show some of the successes thus far and just how well participants used and appreciated the opportunity:

 

"I hope that UHS can continue with programs like this one, to show their employees this company cares about continuing education." - Irma Beltran, ECHO graduate.

 

"I currently work in the Patient Business Services Department. The ECHO program has inspired me to go back to school.  I plan to go to St. Phillips for nursing. I appreciate all you do for us."

 

"The ECHO Program...was an opportunity I could not pass up.  It has helped me in getting motivated to go back to school.  I am enrolled with Concordia University and pursuing my Bachelors in Healthcare Administration."

 

"I am attending Southern Careers Institute and am working towards receiving my Medical Coding Certification.  The ECHO program gave me the opportunity to see that I am not too old to go back to school and pursue my dreams."



Looks like UHS certainly has some future leaders on their hands!  Fifteen total employees were chosen to participate in ECHO, 12 of those completed the program - an 80% completion rate.  ECHO was facilitated by a former School at Work program graduate, Laura Hernandez.  She found her passion for helping others through that experience and has since earned a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration which she puts to good use at UHS.

 

Certainly outcomes are very important and the Talent Garden continues to track them for this first class.  Be on the lookout for the continuation of this story as results come in!

 

 




Benefits of Trust and Engagement in the Workforce chardyadmin

Source: "100 Best" data provided by Great Place to Work Institute
Comparative data provided by BLS.

Drawing the RoI from employee investment can be a challenge but every VP or Director wants that data to bring to the board room.  Nothing is more powerful than concrete numbers - especially to a hospital CFO!  

These impressive stats may be just what you need to convince your senior leaders how important your engagement programs really are:

 

  • Committed and engaged employees who trust their management:
    • perform 20% better
    • are 87% less likely to leave the organization
       
  • Publicly-traded companies on the 100 Best Company List 
    • consistently outperform major stock indices by 300%
    • have half the voluntary turnover rates of their competitors

Cost savings from reduced turnover alone can be a major money-saver.  From hiring costs to overtime pay to cover empty positions, to time and resources dedicated to onboarding, high turnover rates are something every hospital administrator has their eye on.

 

So the next time your budget goes under review or you have to justify a learning and career development expense, you'll be better prepared!





What Makes An Employee Highly Engaged? chardyadmin

Can you check all these items off the list in your organization?  Do you know what portion of your entry level are experiencing each of these?  What about your mid-level and first time supervisors?  What can you do this year to improve one or more of these areas?  Take control of turnover costs and help your patients feel how much ALL of their care team wants to be there.

 




Catalyst Learning & NCharge at the 2015 ANCC Magnet Conference chardyadmin
Since the launch of NCharge at the 2014 Conference, nurse leadership pioneers have proven the value of the NCharge development series with their frontline nurses. 

This year, it could be your turn to bring home something game-changing for your nurses, their patients, and the organization. Catalyst Learning will be exhibiting at ANCC in October - just next week! CLC has a special offer to ANCC attendees so be sure to let us know if you will be attending to get details. 

Attending? Make an appointment now to meet with Lynn or Cindy and discuss your frontline nurse development needs.

 




CLC at ASHHRA 2015 - New & Flexible Programs for SAW Grads and Nurses chardyadmin

No one delivers frontline learning and development like Catalyst Learning does!  Your workforce and their development needs are diverse. Your time and resources are limited.  These are just two reasons why you'll find new, more flexible, targeted programs in our booth this coming weekend. 

 

Visit Catalyst Learning at the 2015 ASHHRA Conference Booth #731 where we will be will be demonstrating an exciting NEW leadership development series at this year's ASHHRA Conference! The organization that brought you School at Work® (SAW), the most progressive tool for entry level development and retention, has new tools and applications to share with HR leaders.

 

Those who visit the booth will also have the opportunity to enter for our prize drawing!

 

Make an appointment to visit Lynn or Cindy in the Catalyst Learning booth #731 for a special offer on our newest release - NCharge®.




Six Ways to Keep Frontline Employees Engaged chardyadmin

 

“Service support is increasingly important. There is a tremendous need for high customer service skills: think hospitality-minded members. We are trying to work with workforce boards and schools to prepare for a better fit for health care for our future.” Amy Barry, SVP and CHRO, Lakeland Regional Health

 

With service support positions taking an increasingly important role in healthcare, employee engagement and retention is top of mind for HR leaders. Most organizations understand the importance of employee engagement as it relates to morale and turnover, but what let’s take a moment to define an engaged employee.

 

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. (Forbes, 2012)

 

The definition of an engaged employee has been confused in recent years.  It’s up to administrators and managers to identify the characteristics of an engaged employee according to the organization’s mission and goals.  Quite as important, leadership must effectively communicate these characteristics to all departments and units to ensure alignment. 

 

Once you’ve defined the traits and behaviors of an engaged employee, you can develop a strategy to encourage those qualities. While rewards and incentives are important, strive to go beyond the norm and create a positive environment that is unique to your organization. There are a number of ways to build loyalty with frontline employees.

 

  1. Share the organization’s mission and vision – It may sound obvious, or even cliché, but employees who feel they are a part of a larger purpose are more likely to exceed expectations.

  2. Keep employees informed - If you want employees to be actively interested in the organization and its success, update frontline employees on the latest company news, events and performance.
  3. Offer learning opportunities - By making this available, the organization is sending a clear message that leaders care about employee achievement and development. In a healthcare setting, development programs are also great for team building.

  4. Recognize positive behaviors and outcomes - When an employee goes above and beyond for a patient, team member or manager, be sure to acknowledge their effort. As part of your feedback, emphasize key skills such as solving problems and communicating effectively.

  5. Build trust within the team - Frontline employees who trust their managers and peers have a greater appreciation for their jobs. They also pass that respect on to the patients they serve.

  6. Have fun! - Realistically, it may be that your organization or a single department is not in a position to promote this. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it a goal for improvement and communicate that to your employees. Remembering suggestion #2 above, recognize that limitation if you have it and work toward a better day. This goes a long way to supporting #5, as well. People spend a lot of time at work. If they’re having fun, they’ll enjoy being there, have an upbeat attitude and build long-lasting bonds with others.

 

Frontline employees with high morale perform their best and have a desire to advance within the organization. When it comes to turnover, investing in talent yields much greater returns than dedicating valuable resources to a reactive approach.




Healthcare Workforce Demands, Gulf Coast chardyadmin

Smart employers look closely at workforce demands when writing their strategic workforce plans.  Healthcare human resources professionals need to stay in-the-know on market trends such as an increase or decrease in patient volumes, which healthcare jobs are currently in demand, and which roles are on the rise.  Hospitals and other healthcare organizations rely on industry research to help them see recent trends and anticipate needs in the years to come.  Healthcare is a competitive market undergoing dramatic changes so if organizations are to survive and perform well, they must be prepared to attract and retain high quality workers.


Below is an excerpt from a white paper recently released by 'Workforce Solutions' on the demands of healthcare workforce in the Gulf Coast Region, today.  Download the Full Paper Here.


EXCERPT: A Change in the Delivery of Services

Times are changing and no longer are the days where the majority of surgeries and many medical and diagnostic procedures require a visit to the hospital. Chart 2 shows the percentage of health care jobs by subsector in 1990 and 2014. The share of health care employment in Hospitals has fallen from 51.0% in 1990 to 38.4% in 2014 while the share of Ambulatory Health Care Services increased from 36.7% to 49.8%.

 


 

While all three subsectors of the health care industry continue to grow, Ambulatory Health Care Services has replaced Hospitals as the number one job producer in the region, see Chart 3.

 


 

This data comes from Workforce Solutions, an affiliate of the Gulf Coast Workforce Board, which manages a regional workforce system that helps employers solve their workforce problems and residents build careers so both can compete in the global economy. The workforce system serves the City of Houston and the surrounding 13 Texas Gulf Coast counties including: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.  Visit their website here.




Strong Thinkers & Problem Solvers Improve Patient Satisfaction chardyadmin

The ability to think clearly and solve problems is a vital skill for healthcare employees, regardless of position or title. The decisions that frontline employees make can have an immediate impact on the efficiency of the unit, the quality of care received by patients and their families, and the reputation of the healthcare organization... and that's nothing to sneeze at. 

 

Employees with strong critical thinking skills are well-informed and more flexible in their approach to daily work. They understand how to gather relevant information and when to change direction, which is essential in an on-your-toes healthcare setting. Strong thinkers and problem solvers also know how to identify issues and proactively implement solutions to avoid costly mistakes.

 

When HCAHPS surveys show opportunities for improvement, leaders turn to several places for insight before taking action.  By looking at specific questions and targeting the roles responsible for them, improvement teams can target role-specific employee engagement survey results.  When conferring with floor and team managers, individual performance reviews may produce some candidates for learning and skill development.   

 

In any case, healthcare employers never fail to draft improvement plans - these usually include learning seminars which address topics such as:

 

▪       Understanding the steps in the problem solving process

▪       Determining the root causes of problems

▪       Using critical thinking skills to improve decision making

▪       Practicing the key skills of analyzing, evaluating and reasoning

 

With a healthcare-specific curriculum, frontline employees can learn to think more independently and be open to new perspectives. Most importantly, they develop a deeper understanding of their potential impact on patient satisfaction. And a well-informed, independent frontline workforce means more time for managers and directors to spend on taking other areas of performance to the next level!