The workforce is the highest single expense for a healthcare organization. In this era of cost cutting, healthcare reform and HCAHPS, what are the biggest HR initiatives affecting the goals of reducing cost, improving patient satisfaction and safety? HealthcareSource tried to find those answers. Recently, we conducted a survey with the American Society for Healthcare Human Resource Administration (ASHHRA) to discover what the most vital human resources initiatives for healthcare HR professionals across the country are.

Here’s some background on the HR initiatives survey:

• There were two hundred and thirty four respondents.
• Questions were multiple choice, with the ability to choose multiple answers.
• Respondents were allowed to add comments.
• Most participants came from acute care settings.
• Participants ranged from small to the largest healthcare employer in the US.

Let’s look at two of the results. There’s a word that stands out in the comments and in response to our first question–streamline. We asked, “What are your current HR initiatives to reduce costs?” The answer with the highest response was “streamline HR processes.”

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“We recently did a reduction in force and re-organized our HR department to streamline processes. So I can relate to that personally,” said Jeff Payne, VP or HR at Lakeland Regional Medical Center and Past President of ASHHRA. Jeff participated in our live Webinar announcing the survey results on July 7th. “We are still dealing with that effect, and the reality is that our hospital still expects our HR department to provide the services it needs, so streamlining HR processes becomes hugely important. We must do the best we can as quickly and efficiently as possible, using the technology and the people we have.”

Does performance management tie into streamlining the HR process? It seems the answer is yes. When asked, “What technology are you planning to adopt in 2011/2012 to achieve your HR goals?” The answer with the highest percentage of responses was “performance management appraisal software.” A majority of our respondents feel that streamlining their processes is the way to achieve their financial goals (reducing costs) and yet an investment in performance management software is what may help them get there. According to Dr. Katherine Jones, Director of Research at Bersin & Associates and another HR expert who participated in our survey results Webinar, there are three major growth areas in healthcare HR right now, “attract new talent, learning management and performance management.” Dr. Jones’ research has shown that “superior talent management strategies have shown a high correlation with lower turnover and higher revenue.”

Here’s a formula: streamline your HR processes by utilizing performance management software, thereby reducing turnover, which equals cost reduction. It appears to be a successful strategy for some healthcare organizations. However, it’s also about effective performance management, which requires talented HR professionals, such as our Webinar panel. “We put in software for performance management a year and a half ago and have gotten great results,” said Greg Maras, Vice President of HR, Meadville Medical Center. The reason for such a positive impact? The implementation of performance management was “in response to what our employees were telling us – we were not holding people accountable, we were not coaching. We can now drive accountability, but more important develop our employees with goals, learning and more.” As always with HR initiatives, it all comes back to the people who can make an organization great and in turn ensure high retention. Like Dr. Jones says, “Performance Management should be seen not only as an appraisal, but should [also] be seen as a coaching and development tool.”

Interested in learning more about our HR initiatives survey results? Download our Download our HR Initiatives White Paper to receive all the results and analysis from our survey!


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.