A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with four of our 2013 Talent Outcomes User Conference client presenters from two different hospitals: Brenda Reinert, Director of HR, and Britnie Rewey, HR Generalist at Tomah Memorial Hospital (Tomah, Wisconsin), and Joanne Davignon, Director of HR, and Edith Okoth, HR Manager at Union Hospital (Terre Haute, Indiana.) Brenda and Britnie are presenting on how to leverage technology to gain efficiencies in HR, and Joanne and Edith are presenting on how to ensure your workforce is engaged. We decided to get them together to facilitate a conversation about how they both utilize talent management technology to engage their workforce. Here’s what they had to say:Talent Outcomes User Conference

How do you think behavioral assessments enhance the recruitment process?

Joanne: The behavioral assessment asks the same question a number of different ways, so you get a good idea of the candidate’s past behaviors and how they will use those coming into our organization. The feedback report is very helpful because of the prompting questions for hiring managers. It enables them to actually drill down and get quality answers to get more in-depth information from the employee.

Britnie: I totally agree with Joanne’s statement. Another thing behavioral assessment software helps us do is it can tell you if a candidate is taking too long to do the assessment, which could mean they’re trying to plan their answers. Or if they did the assessment too quickly, it may not be a true picture of the candidate. For example, I just had an applicant who was applying for a nurse position, and they said they would rather not deal with blood and body fluids — that was a major red flag. But it prompted us to contact them and ask, “Was this a mistake? Are you applying for the right position?”

How do you think talent management technology has helped you communicate more effectively with potential candidates?

Brenda: There’s just two of us, so we really rely on technology to be that extra HR person for us and that includes communicating with the new candidate or a potential candidate. We might send out notes to twenty applicants for a position and with technology, it’s a quick click, hit send and it’s done. Some of the processes that we used to have were horrible; technology has created more efficiencies than we can name.

Joanne: I agree with Brenda. We’re a larger organization; we have about 2,400 employees, but it’s the same thing. We still need to work efficiently, and we rely on technology to create a positive experience for the applicants. When they come in on their first day, their onboarding is complete, and their stay with us is 5 minutes versus the 45 minutes they used to spend. The candidate has consistent communication through the process. They know where their application is in the process. Before, we may not have had the time to send a letter with the number of applicants we were receiving. I think overall it’s a win for both HR and the candidate.

How do you ensure that your current employees are held accountable through the use of technology?

Joanne: We load our job descriptions into Performance Manager, which lays out the expectations and new hires sign off on that within their first three days, which is all electronic.

Brenda: We’re similar to Union Hospital because we’re also using Performance Manager, and we have so many things put into the system for our new hires and our existing employees — whether it’s their job descriptions, a quick training or proof that they’ve read and signed off on a particular policy.  I also have managers that ask me to set up department specific tasks for them. We just signed on with NetLearning so I’m really excited about expanding our online education in NetLearning.  We added NetCompetency, too, so it will be nice to get those competency papers all automated so that they aren’t floating around the organization. The NetLearning LMS is really going to increase the accountability for our employees in getting things completed and completed on time.

How has the use of talent management technology helped to motivate your employees? 

Britnie: I think our employees really like our usage of technology because they can get tasks done a lot faster and get back to their true passion of patient care. They don’t spend a ton of time completing education hours.

Joanne: Employees can also refer back to any of the documents, at any time. It’s like their employee file that’s there twenty-four seven. They like that.

Brenda: Employees are held more accountable through the use of Performance Manager’s coaching function. Before that we had a very manual process, and now they’re tuned in with their manager’s goals for them and the improvements that they need to make.

Joanne: We use the goal feature in Performance Manager and we set goals with new hires at the 120-day evaluation. This way, employees are involved in setting their goals, know what they need to work on, and how what they do everyday aligns with our mission and our hospital objectives to meet our CMS requirements.

What else are you doing to ensure your workforce is engaged?

Joanne: We have a 60-day follow up meeting, 60 days after hire. We meet with employees, and we ask how it’s going, we talk about the mission, vision, and values again and how they see themselves aligning with them. They hear the same message from HR, but they’re also giving us feedback, too, on how things are going out on the units, and I think that’s been helpful for us.

Brenda:  We do a similar thing to Union Hospital.  After our new hires have gone through orientation, we send them an electronic survey, again, another use of technology. In this survey, they can freeform answer what’s going well, what’s not — it’s another way for HR to stay connected to them. Their managers also do a 30-day and a 90-day touch base with their employees. This second touch-base point provides feedback on what is going well and what isn’t for that particular employee.

Edith: Another thing that has really worked well for us at Union, is the self-appraisal for the employees. We never used to do this before we got Performance Manager, and this makes them feel empowered. Employees feel like they are part of the appraisal process.

Joanne: Absolutely, Edith. The self-appraisal process really creates a great dialog between managers and the employee.

Brenda: At Tomah, our managers do monthly rounding with their employees.  We’ve been very specific with this process and reinforce that this is time that the employee has with their manager to talk about what’s going well, what’s not going well, and the expectations the employee has for the manager. I try to be very clear with the managers that this is conversation that the employee leads. If the manager wants to coach and counsel the employee, I never let them combine that with an employee rounding session. The rounding sessions are really designed for employees to be heard. It’s really worked well to get the employees engaged in the different departments too.

Joanne: We do rounding with purpose as well, and I agree. I think it keeps the open communication and we empower our managers, like you said Brenda, to take their feedback and suggestions and fix them in ways as often as possible.

Edith: Here at Union Hospital, we take advantage of our intranet as a form of communication. We have a program called “Because We Care” where employees can thank their colleagues for their contributions, and that keeps them engaged. Then we also have screensavers; again, that is another use of technology. All our hospital computers have screensavers that give employees feedback and metrics.

Britnie: We also have an intranet, called Starnet with a lot of the same features.  Anything employees want to know can be found on our intranet. Like Union, we also have a “thank you” program. We call them Star Grams, and you can send them to your colleagues when you see them going above and beyond. We tie that back into our core values and standards of behavior and include it in employee evaluations.

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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.