Last week I attended the Healthcare Service Excellence Conference and the word “Lean” came up quite frequently. More and more hospitals are implementing Lean initiatives to achieve efficient processes throughout their organization, from patient intake to housekeeping, in order to improve patient satisfaction. If you’re not an expert in Lean (I’m certainly not), here’s a good look at the opposite of a Lean process: Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory. Poor Lucy and Ethel aren’t equipped to get their job done, and they probably shouldn’t have been hired to begin with, but it’s pretty hilarious. Real-life inefficiencies aren’t so funny. If you truly want to become a Lean hospital, recruitment and hiring practices cannot be exempt. When it comes to employee development, it’s not about cutting your workforce, it’s about re-purposing it. For example, one of the main Lean principles is harnessing “Intellect” — any failure to fully utilize the time and talent of your people is considered waste. But that model should start pre-employment, beginning with healthcare recruitment.
A main principle of Lean is that you must create a “Pull” model of business, not a “Push” model. In the Push model, the supplier drives the process. That means in recruitment the supplier is the organization with the open positions. In the Pull model the customer drives the process. Within this model, candidates drive the recruitment process. Improving the candidate experience equals a Pull model — the customer drives the process.
When you ask candidates in-depth questions, you’re not annoying job candidates, you’re making those enthusiastic applicants you do want to hire feel like they are having a more personalized interview experience. As a recruiter, when I asked thoughtful questions, ones that allowed for meaningful answers, it was always easier to close candidates. Why? Because by the time the offer was made, they felt comfortable joining an organization that truly understood their competencies and their weaknesses — areas where we could create a development plan for them. High-turnover because you’re not properly accessing candidates = waste. That’s the opposite of a Lean process. If you listen to the voice of your customer (i.e. candidates), you’re creating a better match for everyone — employer and soon-to-be new employee. An example of listening to the voice of the customer would be going through the online application process yourself and eliminating unnecessary questions that lengthen the process but do not add value.
Another Lean principle is standardizing work so that anyone can apply the same process and be successful. If listening to the voice of the customer when it comes to hiring means creating a more personalized application, how do you achieve that and standardize the recruitment process? That’s where talent management technology comes in. Harnessing talent management software is important for creating a Lean hiring process, which can be extremely beneficial for healthcare organizations when budgets are tight and employees are overwhelmed. For example, applicant tracking software allows you to report on recruitment results and identify gaps in the process so that you can set important benchmarks, like time-to-fill goals.
Online behavioral assessments that are tailored to assess candidates for different positions in healthcare create a more personalized interview experience, while taking advantage of the standardized automation that software offers. Behavioral interview guides also allow you to create a more efficient hiring process, and behavioral assessment software gives you critical employee data that you can use to hone in on any lack of competencies that are contributing to turnover. Once you have that data, you can standardize the assessment process even more. Standardizing the application and interview process so everyone involved in hiring can apply the same process and achieve success = a truly Lean recruitment process.
It may not be as funny as Lucy and Ethel, but check out our healthcare HR cartoon! We think you might recognize this conversation with your hiring manager.