Last year we launched the first HR Initiatives Survey with The American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) of the American Hospital Association (AHA) and over 230 healthcare HR professionals shared their priorities for 2011/2012. The field of HR is always changing, but the healthcare HR in particular is rarely evergreen. Healthcare reform, financial challenges and new technology mean new priorities for healthcare HR. That’s why we decided to launch the HR Initiatives Survey again, from June 1 to June 30, and one lucky participant will receive a $5,000 ASHHRA education grant. 

I sat down with last year’s winner, Employment Manager Carol Statter from Infirmary Health System, which is the largest nongovernmental health system in Alabama, and Stephanie Drake, Executive Director of ASHHRA, to discuss the survey and why it’s important for healthcare HR professionals to participate this year.

HR Initiatives Survey for Healthcare HR

The HCAHPS Survey – Last year’s Hot Topic is still Hot

Many survey respondents last year were concerned with HR’s role in boosting HCAHPS scores. Since answering last year’s survey, Carol Statter and her team have been working on making some positive changes within their health system. “We’ve been working on employee engagement because of HCAHPS scores. You can train for aptitude but it’s harder to train employees on how to improve their attitude.”

The organization’s employee development team sends out weekly training sessions for the managers to review with their employees. The purpose of the training is to help Infirmary Health employees communicate better with their patients.  “They’re answering patient questions the right way and doing things as simple as asking patients if there’s anything else they can do for them before they leave the room. Our HCAHPS scores are showing this training is working,” noted Carol.

Retention – a Bigger Focus for 2012/2013?

Stephanie Drake predicts that retention and preventing turnover will be an even bigger initiative for healthcare HR this year. “Turnover rate – it’s on everyone’s mind, even more so than last year. Because many physicians are becoming more integrated within the rest of the employee base, with the shift of more and more physicians working for hospitals, physician engagement is important.”

At Infirmary Health System, retention has become part of their pillars of performance. Leaders are now held accountable for preventing turnover. Carol applauds their hospital executives for creating and supporting this initiative and can see that it’s starting to have a positive impact. “I can see this initiative is working, as chief nursing officers and other hiring managers are asking HR to help them with interviewing. It’s a moving force that has created a momentum of greater employee satisfaction.”

Why participate in this year’s HR Initiatives Survey?

Besides the chance to receive a $5,000 ASHHRA grant for you and your HR team for taking a 5 question survey, your participation helps the healthcare HR community get a better sense of the changes and constants that have occurred over the past year. With our data from the previous survey, we’ll be able to compare this year’s responses to last year’s scores. All the survey participants will get a benchmark report on the results. The HR Initiatives Survey also assists ASHHRA when it comes to creating educational resources. “It helps us understand the needs of our members and the trials and tribulations that they face every day,” said Stephanie.

What can you do with a $5,000 ASHHRA education grant? There’s a lot you can do with it. In particular, you can participate in educational webinars, the ASHHRA e-Learning platform and gain access to a variety of educational publications. Perhaps best of all, you can attend the 48th annual national ASHHRA conference, Leading People through Change, and bring several staff members with you.

Each year, ASHHRA tries to raise the level of education at their conference. Last year’s HR Concierge was a success. This year, the concierge will be available to answer specific questions, research and provide custom forms for ASHHRA members. According to Stephanie, the 2012 conference brings exciting announcements and even more education. An ASHHRA publication app will be launched at the conference and there will be lots of education around critical issues, like a reduction in benefits and wellness initiatives, ACOs and different models of care. Stephanie believes, “It’s important that HR understands the operations of the hospital more so now than ever, and it’s really what we try to push forward.”

Want to see last year’s results? Download our HR Initiatives White Paper!

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.