Employee AccountabilityAt the 2013 HIMSS conference I saw Mark Graban, MSME, MBA speak. In his presentation Healthcare Kaizen: Daily Improvement, Not Just Events, he focused on how healthcare organizations can implement Kaizen principles to improve the quality of care they are delivering. The word “kaizen” is Japanese for “change for the better,” and Kaizen principles refer to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes. His presentation got me to thinking about Lean principles and employee accountability in healthcare because employees, from CEOs to front line employees, are the most important force behind implementing positive change within their healthcare organization. But I also wondered, can recruiters use Lean principles to improve hiring manager accountability?

Recently, HealthcareSource hosted a webinar for the National Association for Healthcare Recruitment (NAHCR) about how recruiters can hold their hiring managers accountable. One of the goals of the webinar was to teach attendees how to communicate more effectively with their hiring managers. In order to improve communication, recruiters can set expectations by putting a service level agreement in place (SLA) with their hiring managers. The mention of service level agreements sparked interest with webinar attendees and many were curious as to how to implement service level agreements.

David Szary, of LEAN Human Capital and the Recruiter Academy notes: “Any organization that values their delivery of customer service should adopt service level agreements as part of their methodology for success.” In healthcare, exceptional customer service is crucial in delivering quality patient and resident care, especially when it comes to the evaluation of patient and resident satisfaction scores such as HCAHPS and HHCAHPS. In healthcare recruitment, exceptional customer service involves keeping hiring managers engaged and accountable and creating a great candidate experience. Here are three pieces of advice when it comes to implementing a service level agreement within your talent acquisition department. 

1. Set Expectations 

Setting realistic expectations between recruiters and hiring managers is the first step to creating an effective service level agreement. Recruiters and hiring managers managers sometimes set unrealistic expectations, and as a result they feel like their goals are unattainable. If realistic expectations and goals are set, hiring managers and recruiters know what they are being measured against to be considered successful, and they’ll be more likely to adhere to the rules of the SLA.

But how can you set realistic goals? Look at your recruitment metrics. When you’re trying to set a critical goal for your SLA, like days-to-fill, use your applicant tracking software to review your past performance. How long has it taken you to fill positions in the past? Once you have those numbers, you can figure out a shorter days-to-fill goal that isn’t drastically shorter than what’s possible to achieve. In order to set realistic improvement goals, you have to know those metrics. 

2. Get Buy-in

Recruiters can set all the expectations they want, but if the hiring managers don’t agree to these expectations, the entire process is pointless. The buy-in phase of creating a service level agreement is crucial because if you don’t get buy-in, you are won’t get hiring managers to participate in your agreement. It’s not always about collaboration; it’s just about an understanding between your recruitment organization and your hiring managers. Therefore, collaboration isn’t necessary if you have an acceptance of the agreement. “You don’t always need to collaborate; you could say “is this acceptable?” and if they agree, you have buy-in,” said Szary. Of course, if you don’t get buy-in, more collaboration is needed in order to get hiring managers to participate.  

3. Stick to the Agreement

Once expectations have been set and you have hiring manager buy-in, get ready to stick to your agreement and deliver the results. Whether it’s a hiring manager interviewing a certain number of candidates, or a recruiter sending along the necessary number of applicants for them to review, your SLA won’t work unless you both hold up your end of the bargain. 

Service level agreements should also be used to improve communication between recruiters and hiring managers. If a hiring manager or a recruiter isn’t delivering on their agreement, with having a formal agreement like an SLA in place makes it easier to point out the failure and hit the reset button. “A service level agreement is just a concept based on best practices of customer service principles. Set an expectation, get buy-in and stick to it,” said Szary. It really is that simple. In the end, remembering those three things will help you hold your hiring managers more accountable.  

Watch the NAHCR webinar replay: Holding Hiring Managers Accountable to learn more about setting recruitment goals, communicating more effectively, and engaging your hiring managers in the recruitment process.    


About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.