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Why Better Talent Management Means Better Patient Experience

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Kerry Fuqua
on June 06, 2016

I’ve recently had discussions with several Patient Experience and HR leaders about the effect of talent strategies on the patient experience; every healthcare employee, not just doctors and nurses, can impact the patient experience.  At our recent Healthcare Executive Summit, Mike Heavensberger from Indiana University of Health HRIS shared his realization - “In today's summit there was an emphasis on patient care, and making sure that all of your relationships were meaningful, and impactful. That really resonated well with me today because I do have an influence and an impact on our customer…it was really nice on day 1 to kind of have that realization. Really an outstanding idea bringing kind of the discipline together…Kudos to PeopleFluent for recognizing that opportunity.” 

At a roundtable discussion in New York last week to discuss Talent and the Patient Experience, several Patient Experience leaders shared their stories of the importance of knowing what specific behaviors you’re looking for to improve patient care, and the importance of training doctors and others on continually improving communication skills.  It’s wonderful to see these two previously disparate groups, Patient Experience and HR, aligning their strategies and efforts to work together to train, coach, and educate all of the hospital staff on the behaviors that will improve the patient experience. 

Why is this so important?  Well if for no other reason, it’s proven that better talent management will result in better HCAHPS.  Based on recent research, hospitals using talent management best practices scored 7% higher on HCAHPS than those that don’t.  The specific talent management practices that made a difference included talent acquisition, leadership and growth, employee retention, and cultural diversity. 

So what can you learn from how leading healthcare organizations are aligning these two key teams to work together – the patient experience and HR teams? 

  • Work together to acquire the best talent to deliver value-based careTo deliver the best patient care, you need to hire the best talent. 48% of hospitals that rated their candidate selection system as high ranked in the top tier of HCAHPS scores.  Bring your patient experience teams into the talent acquisition process to help define what behaviors will make the best candidates, help to interview, and influence candidate selection.  One customer shared a bit of their strategy to always have final candidates spend a day in the ER just observing, before they start their first day.  As a result, new employees got a first-hand look at what the patient experience is in the ER and helped shape their future behaviors. 
  • Work together to develop your talent.  Hospitals that demonstrated a firm grasp of talent assessment and succession planning report 46% leadership bench-strength, 6 times as much as hospitals that don’t.  Work with the patient experience team to identify desirable behaviors and then coach, inspire, and teach staff to demonstrate those behaviors. 
  • Work together to retain your talentTo deliver the best patient care, you need to engage, inspire and retain your talent. ‘A dedicated focus on talent management resulted in 36% lower annual turnover among nurses’.  It’s important for both teams to work together to provide an agile, continuous feedback approach to enable healthcare communities to provide feedback in real-time to encourage patient-focused behaviors.
  • Work together to create communities of collaboration.  To deliver the best patient care, you need to create communities of collaboration. This can include communities of care, communities of inclusion, and communities of nurses. You can empower your staff to identify and build the communities that will help to improve the patient experience. These communities will connect your talent to deliver the best possible patient care through collaboration, mentorship, information sharing, idea generation, and innovation. Working together, your Patient Experience Team and HR can engage, train, and develop employees to be focused on patient care. This collaboration will create a culture of caring and a commitment to citizenship. 
By aligning these organizations, you’ll be able to work side by side to drive the behaviors that will improve patient experiences.   It has been inspiring over the last few weeks to hear how these two previously disparate groups are now aligning and combining forces to work together to improve patient experience. 

We’d love to hear what your talent strategies are, take a few minutes to participate in our State of Talent Management in Healthcare Survey.  You will receive a complimentary copy of the survey results and be able to see how your organization compares against other healthcare organization.  And to further thank you, we’ll donate to a charity of your choice.


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