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Help Your Staff ‘Care for Patients in a Way They Can be Proud of’

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Kerry Fuqua
on March 09, 2016

We recently polled some healthcare workers about the top reasons why healthcare employees are not engaged. One Nursing Assistant told us that what frustrates them most is that most people aren’t able to care for patients ‘in a way that they can be proud of.’ How wonderfully committed our healthcare employees are. Working as healthcare professionals isn’t just a job, it’s their calling. And more than anything, they want to give 100% of themselves to caring for their patients. 

So how can you as an HR leader help these practitioners accomplish their goal? Glad you asked. You can in fact improve patient care by elevating your talent management practices. Healthcare leaders and care staff are facing mounting pressures.  With more educated healthcare consumers, continued focus on HCAHPS scores, increased numbers of patients, and the pressure for everyone to know more and do more. Your people, more than any other factor, will drive your organization performance and quality of patient care. ‘Hospitals utilizing talent management best practices score 11% higher overall HCAHPS results compare to organizations that place low emphasis on talent management’1

Consider these 10 principles to identify opportunities to implement best practices in talent management to improve your patient outcomes.

1. Audit your organization’s talent management processes.

Are your talent management processes best practices? Conduct an audit to assess your talent management processes and compare them against best practices like those found in our Make the Business Case for Talent Management in Healthcare white paper. 

2. Create a compelling business case for investing in talent management systems.

Executive management teams and hospital boards are swamped with many competing priorities. And they are also likely under financial pressures as the CMS’s Value-Based Purchasing program has changed reimbursement systems.  But you can get the attention of your board and elevate the strategic priority of talent management with a compelling business case. When your people see that you are investing in them, they will be able to be more focused on patient care. 

3. Align your talent management planned programs with strategic initiatives.

You will be more likely to gain support if you can align your planned programs with other strategic initiatives including LEAN processing, quality outcomes, and diversity. The more efficient and better quality the processes, the better the patient outcomes. If you can leverage and gain support for your initiative by leveraging other efforts, your chances for success will increase. 

4. Enhance your talent assessment and succession planning practices.

Regardless of your performance management philosophy, there are so many great tools to use such as high-potential assessment tools, nine-box grids, and talent profiles. Use the tools that work well for your performance philosophy to enhance your talent assessment and succession planning practices. Your talented employees, when they are given the training, career paths and support, will be committed to your organization, and your patients. 

5. Assess the structure and consistency of talent review sessions

talent review is a meeting to engage more senior business leaders in sharing and discussing talent information, often part of an overall succession management process. Staff these sessions with the right business leaders as well as experienced organizational development facilitators. Verifying that you have the right talent, today and in the future to care for your patients – will ensure optimal care. 

6. Implement multi-rater performance feedback.

Our employees’ performance is evaluated day-by-day, task-by-task, and project-by-project by a wide range of colleagues. Every individual with whom they interact has specific feedback to highlight some of their best work or identify areas for development.  Ultimately, collecting and operationalizing this feedback provides a comprehensive view of an employee’s performance.

7. Enhance your workforce diversity initiatives.

To address the needs of a diverse patient population, healthcare staff must understand their values and perspectives on health and wellness. Revisit your Equity Diversity Policy and publish it to the entire organization. Provide the entire organization with diversity training that focused on the values and perspectives for all of the populations you serve. 

8. Establish effective onboarding programs for external, and internal hires.

An effective onboarding program is so crucial for both short-term, and long-term success for staff. Develop a formal on-boarding program that includes employee orientation, 90-day transition plan, and integration with peers. A strong onboarding program will help to ensure that key staff, such as nurses, are engaged and committed during their first 2-5 years to increase long term loyalty and longevity. 

9. Don’t lose sight of those high potential employees.
Your high potential employees are the ones that have the aptitude and desire to grow as individuals and leaders. Implement job rotations to give those high potentials the opportunity to increase knowledge and skill sets, and ultimately provide a wider range of patient care. 

10. Create an environment of continuous improvement.

This is not a project with an end date. Create an environment to continuously evaluate and reinforce your talent management system with Talent Management Scorecards to track and measure critical metrics.  By continuously measuring your talent management system, you’ll continuously improve your talent practices, and in turn, continuously improve HCAHPHS scores and patient outcomes!

Assess the health of your talent management ecosystem; watch this on demand webinar to learn where to begin identifying opportunities for talent management transformation to improve patient outcomes. 

1 “Make the Business Case for Talent Management in Healthcare.”  PeopleFluent.  2015.  7 Jan 2016 <>


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