Written by guest bloggers Joanne Davignon, BS, CEBS, SPHR, System Manager, Human Resources & Staff Development and Edith Okoth, BS, MS, Human Resources Informatics Specialist, Union Hospital, Inc. (Terre Haute, IN)

About our Hospital

At Union Hospital, Inc., our mission in HR is to create an exceptional experience for our customers by creating processes that are efficient, effective and paperless! The performance evaluation process at Union was one area that needed to be streamlined. Our main focus for optimization and improvement was job descriptions, goal tracking, electronic performance evaluations, automatic routing, reporting of data and ease of use. The old process was labor intensive not only for managers but for the HR staff, too. 

Union Hospital has 2400 employees that require an annual evaluation and competency on the anniversary of hire. In addition, annually we hire or transfer over 600 employees who complete a 120 degree evaluation. The old process involved multiple systems, databases and duplication of efforts. Even worse, HR was frequently blamed for paper evaluations being lost or not keyed into the system and reporting compiled incorrectly. With a new all inclusive, electronic system, there would be limited doubt or question on the authenticity of the data!  After a thorough search and review of different systems, we selected Performance Manager from HealthcareSource as our system of choice.

This year, we are presenting at the HealthcareSource user conference, Talent OutcomesTM, and talking about the journey we took to implement a new performance management system. As a preview to our presentation, here is the story of how we overcame our fears and successfully went live with Performance Manager.  

Talent Outcomes

Dont get Overwhelmed!

Implementation of any new software can be overwhelming! The prospect of trying to develop all the features of a performance management system at once was daunting.  The thought of just reviewing and redesigning more than 1500 job descriptions is enough to make any HR person cry! Each step of the process was scary because of this, but we had the enthusiastic support of HealthcareSource Client Services, our Senior Leadership and a core group of managers who acted as early adopters and cheerleaders.

When we went live with the job description piece of the system, it was smooth and resulted in minimal questions from employees. As we took the next step to design our new performance appraisal template, we utilized a focus group of managers from various areas of the hospital to help design one that would work for all units.  The development of the right template was lengthy, but the process was exciting as we tweaked it into perfection. We rolled it out first to a group of pilot managers who continued to give their feedback and the feedback of their employees as they used the system. Word started spreading throughout our hospital, and excitement was building and before we knew it, managers were asking to get started on the system! The process moved quickly at that point and soon we had a group of 25 managers working together to develop non-clinical and ancillary competencies as part of their internal leadership academy project. This gave us 25 more cheerleaders to help us build excitement around implementation. Performance Manager officially went live in April 2012 house-wide, with fully functioning job descriptions, performance appraisals, goals, and competencies for non-clinical and ancillary, and it all happened without a hitch!

Lessons Learned

Our development of the system continues as we look at implementing additional Performance Manager features in order to streamline the HR team’s work and the work of our managers. As we continue this journey, here are some lessons learned.

1. First, have the right people assigned to the implementation project. These individuals, who preferably have experience working with systems, must be dedicated to the project and have time allocated to devote to the project.

2. Second, involve employees and managers in the process and get cheerleaders! Don’t underestimate the value of focus groups and pilot managers. Select them carefully and build off their enthusiasm. Above all, listen to their suggestions!

3. Third, and perhaps most important, don’t let the fear of anticipating every scenario that could happen scare you. Use the 80/20 rule. If a problem occurs 20% of the time, find a work around and move on. If it occurs 80% of the time, you need a permanent fix. And if you are looking to implement Performance Manager, the Client Services team at HealthcareSource will help you overcome those barriers.

We leave you, our healthcare HR peer, with this last thought as you prepare to embark on the performance management system journey… Jump in with both feet and enjoy the ride. You will not regret it!

Attention all HealthcareSource clients: Join Joanne and Edith at our 2012 user conference, Talent Outcomes, to hear more about their journey to implementing a performance management system. Register today!

Guest Blogger Bios

Joanne Davignon has worked at Union Hospital for 25 years, the last 5 years as System Manager of Human Resources & Staff Development. Prior positions at Union Hospital include Benefits and Compensation Manager and HR Specialist. She graduated from Bryant University, in Smithfield, Rhode Island in 1985 with a BS in Business Management. She obtained her Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) designation in 1991 and Senior Professional in Human Resources in 2009. Joanne lives in Indiana with her husband of 26 years and two daughters’ ages 18 and 15.

Edith Okoth has worked at Union Hospital for 5 years as Human Resources Informatics Specialist. She graduated with a BS in Computer Science from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), in Nairobi, Kenya in 1996. Edith joined Indiana State University (ISU) as a graduate student an obtained an MS in Human Resource Development in 2008. Prior to joining ISU, she worked as Network/System Administrator at Kenya Polytechnic, Nairobi, Kenya for five years. Edith lives in Indiana with her husband and daughter age 3.      

Are you interested in learning more about implementing a performance management system? Download our white paper: Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared: 5 Best Practices for Implementing an Automated Performance Management System to learn more! 


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.