I spent the last 18 months dealing with the complexities of our healthcare system. The interactions included two personal surgeries, a family member’s surgical procedure, two grandmothers passing away, and a son who had allergic reactions to some unknown substance. During this period, I dealt with individuals working in inpatient and outpatient settings, in physician practices, in continuing care settings and in hospice care. What an opportunity to interact with healthcare workers during some of the most difficult times of my life!
In my role at HealthcareSource, I regularly educate clients on how to use Staff Assessment and Leadership Assessment to hire individuals who will fit best in the healthcare field based on the behaviors that are critical for success in the industry. Nothing helped me appreciate the importance of this more than the last year and a half!
When you think about the “base” of your organization, what do you think about? You should be thinking about your employees. As healthcare talent management professionals, we measure turnover, and we talk about our “base” number of employees as either “headcount” or “full-time equivalents.” Metrics are certainly the best way to determine how your organization is performing from a recruitment and retention perspective. But when we think about this “base,” what we are really talking about are the people who deliver the care and services in our organizations.
The behavioral competencies that are critical for success in healthcare include work ethic/attendance, compassion, customer focus, being a team player, openness to learning, multitasking, valuing diversity, energy, and flexibility/adaptability. That makes sense, right?
While dealing with my family’s health issues, I had many excellent experiences with healthcare employees and a few experiences that were clearly due to an organization having hired a person who did not embody these critical healthcare behavioral competencies.
When it came to compassion and customer focus, I had both positive and negative experiences. I witnessed compassion in the direct care I received during my inpatient stay, for my grandmother in the continuing care facility where she was staying, and by the nurses who cared for my other grandmother during her in-home hospice care. It takes a great deal of compassion to provide direct patient care for people who cannot care for themselves.
In each of these instances, other family members were involved, too. When it came time to explain situations and answer questions, I witnessed exemplary service extended to these family members. This customer focus on the part of the healthcare professionals enabled them to deliver excellent service not only to the patient, but to the patient’s family members, as well.
When healthcare employees provide this level of service, inevitably it’s because they receive support from a leadership team that drives excellence within the organization. And make no mistake, leaders who work in healthcare are different from leaders in other industries. Being a successful leader in a healthcare organization requires the embodiment of a specific set of behavioral competencies, including emotional evenness, conscientiousness, openness to change, customer orientation, innovative thinking, and critical thinking skills. It’s crucial that your organization’s leaders possess these behavioral competencies so they are able to lead by example. How do you make it all about the “base” if you don’t recruit and retain the best leaders for your organization?
When I think about this, I am reminded of an experience I had with one of my surgeries this past year. My surgery was supposed to be an outpatient procedure, and I was supposed to return home the same night. To my surprise, and to the surprise of my family, I ended up being admitted following the surgery. If you have worked in healthcare, you can imagine the amount of work that goes into such a change in a hospital. Once I was admitted by my nurse, I received a visit from the nurse manager. She was able to address the situation with me and my family and handle the confusion without hesitation. What an example of an individual who demonstrated customer orientation and emotional evenness!
As a former healthcare talent management professional, my hope is that my story gives you a renewed sense of interest in who you are recruiting and retaining to provide patient and resident care at your healthcare organization. And, hey — if nothing else, I hope that I at least brightened up your day now that you have the popular Meghan Trainor song stuck is your head…
♫♪ “Because you know I’m all about that bass, ’bout that bass — no treble” ♫♪
The last year and a half has provided me with a renewed connection to the larger mission of helping organizations provide high-quality care by hiring high-quality healthcare talent, and it has certainly demonstrated why an organization should be “all about that base!”
Are you interested in learning how leading healthcare organizations are using behavioral-based assessments to recruit and retain top healthcare talent? Download our white paper: Identifying Today’s High Performers and Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders to see how you can revolutionize the way you attract, assess, select, and develop your employees.