Main Line Health in metro Philadelphia has been recognized by the ANCC and U.S. News & World Report as one of the top health care systems in the country. The organization aims to provide the highest quality and most compassionate healthcare possible to patients and their families. To accomplish this, Main Line Health has included strategies for advancing a group that touches patients frequently, but is often overlooked - frontline workers.
Frontline employees are the largest group at Main Line Health and are an incredibly diverse population. Main Line Health CEO Jack Lynch has been outspoken and intentional about achieving more diversity at the leadership apex of the health system. According to Lynch, the workforce has been diverse overall, but not in terms of job categories and pay.
“There’s a problem in healthcare with the approach we’ve taken in the past to have diverse leadership teams with everyone competing for a small pool of external candidates,” Lynch said. “If we're going to develop more diverse team leaders, we have to grow our own. Top to bottom, employees must see opportunity. We want all employees to know Main Line Health is interested in their growth.”
Lynch believes in investing in programs that promote diversity, foster collaboration, participation and respect in the organization, while reducing turnover costs. Under his direction, Main Line Health’s Human Resources and Diversity, Respect & Inclusion Strategy teams took a deliberate step in 2013 to develop leaders within the organization who mirror its patient population, as well as the demographics of Philadelphia. With many Baby Boomers retiring soon, leadership development was also crucial to building a base of engaged workers for the future.
Main Line Health partnered with Catalyst Learning to implement “School At Work” (SAW) and “Expanding Your Career and Healthcare Opportunities (ECHO)”, programs that aid in the career development goals of entry and mid-level healthcare employees. Main Line Health’s goal is to begin building a pipeline for a more inclusive leadership team.
Both SAW and ECHO sharpen key behavioral skills to optimize employee performance and put them on a path for career advancement in healthcare. Modules such as “Principles of Patient Satisfaction and Safety” help employees understand their link to and accountability for the success of the health care system.
Along with SAW and ECHO, Main Line Health instituted a Career Advisor program, giving frontline associates access to an advisor who assists them in pursuing new roles and exploring opportunities for up to one year. Main Line Health’s HR team has found this added layer of support helps employees overcome obstacles they may face when applying for other positions. Career Advisors, for example, help SAW and ECHO participants navigate internal HR systems and bring greater awareness to employee benefits such as tuition reimbursement.
Employee Advancement Programs have Positive Impact
Main Line Health’s Talent Management Team tracks employment patterns and measures the impact of employee advancement strategies like SAW, ECHO and Career Advisor. Associate Administrator Jameyshia Franklin says her goal for leadership training programs is for frontline employees to have better visibility of opportunities available in the health care system. She also values seeing employees gain confidence as they develop a better understanding of their strengths. With more self-assurance, Franklin says, employees are more willing to speak up about ways to improve processes and be part of solutions that benefit Main Line Health patients.
“These programs encourage participants to discover new interests, pursue growth and development opportunities, and be more open to new things,” said Franklin.
Employee satisfaction has also improved among SAW and ECHO participants. Chris Robinson, a recent SAW graduate who reports to Franklin, worked in Environmental Services but had a goal to move up within Main Line Health. Robinson wanted to be more involved with patients and their families. Robinson’s initiative led him into a position at the reception desk, where positive interactions with patients and families are vital. Robertson credits SAW for giving him confidence in a new role.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. It was a struggle, but it was worth it. SAW helped me think about what I really wanted to do,” said Robinson.
Robinson’s success was acknowledged with the Genuine Excellence Moment (GEM) award, which recognizes employees who exhibit the excellence, innovation, integrity and communication values of the organization.
Dominic Kayatta, Manager of Education and Development, has also seen the benefits of Main Line Health’s career development efforts for frontline workers. More employees, for example, are interviewing for jobs, job shadowing and making time for informational interviews. Frontline employees are being recognized more for going above and beyond with patients as well as their co-workers, and hospital volunteers are noticing a difference in morale and customer service.
“These programs keep participants from feeling stuck in one role,” said Kayatta. “I’m seeing engagement at a different level, and people have renewed hope in their careers—both in their present jobs and as they think about the future.”
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!
Providing educational opportunities to frontline co-workers is deeply rooted in the mission of Mercy, headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri, whether they work in rural areas or the ministry’s largest hospitals. Leaders of Mercy recognize that education allows co-workers to realize their abilities, advance financially, and improve their own sense of dignity. Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, RSM, health ministry liaison and a respected leader in the healthcare community, understands that education is inherent to improving the lives and capabilities of ministry co-workers.
“Education ties in to what we are about,” Sister Roch said. “It comes from a Latin word – educare – that means... Read More