In November, Door Space Inc. hosted an intimate luncheon for healthcare HR executives from the Texas Medical Center. We asked the healthcare executives for the top reasons former clinical employees give for leaving the organization and they gave us five main reasons:
- Job stress: feeling overwhelmed by work load and emotional stress;
- Lack of Career Advancement: difficulty scaling personalized career development paths for thousands of healthcare providers across large, multi-location hospital systems;
- Difficult manager/co-worker relationships: hospital culture and traditional hierarchy often overlook poor leadership issues until employees get fed up and leave;
- Spousal relocations: and local economic problems that are outside the control of the organization
- Compensation: salary and other benefits (i.e. gym membership or yoga/mindfulness classes)
Much like “engagement”, the HR buzzword of 2016, the core challenges aren’t connected to easy solutions. How do you reduce job stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed in a hospital environment? How do you improve relationships between managers and employees? These types of questions have multiple different “right” answers that depend on the context and the individuals involved.
Opportunities are missed and high potential employees may go undiscovered.
How do you personalize and centralize career development that advances the mission of the organization?
This is a challenge when the workforce’s skills and experiences may not be readily visible to the leadership. Many organizations have tried to implement tools to make their workforce more visible and to enhance communication with management. However, in a clinical setting, your staff’s time is best spent taking care of patients. Legacy talent management systems are not only futile and cumbersome, they rely on staff to manually enter relevant data. This obscures the skills and strengths of your people. Opportunities are missed and high potential employees may go undiscovered.
Introducing an Agile HR Framework
Getting the Right Mindset is Key and at Door Space Inc. we have been discussing an agile HR Framework for use in a healthcare setting. Much of the discussion with our forum participants echoed this mindset.
The Agile HR Framework that Scales Requires 3 Key elements that were echoed by our guests:
- Culture Management: must be ongoing, must be effective at the individual level (“everyone is responsible for culture”), and you must remember that culture (internal social reputation) drives your brand (external social reputation);
- Mindset change: you have to create personalized development programs to create this mindset change plus combine it with infrastructure and management change; and
- Ladder vs Lattice: this personalization begins to build a lattice inside your organization, replacing the old career ladder that limited the majority of your workforce from growth opportunities. But to scale it takes time and a long term commitment to continuous learning in the organization.
Other questions and challenges from the group:
- How do we “grow our own”?
- How do we shift the mindset across the entire organization from one where a leader is determined by job title to one where a leader is determined by behaving/acting like a leader?
- How do we get people to co-mingle more inside our organization across departments and roles?
- How do we better communicate why something is important to the employees?
- How do we manage multiple smaller cultures inside the organization that form based on the geographic location of our hospitals and med centers?
- Are we taking care of our employees? How do we get to know who our employees really are and what they really want to achieve with their career paths?
- How do we solve the disconnect between the expectation of the employee going into the job and the actual experience?
- Are organizations spending enough time creating alignment with your mission and vision?
- How does a hospital “crack the code on how to scale” by generating scale without sacrificing quality?
Notable take-aways from our forum participants included:
- Leadership training must happen at a system and individual level to be successful.
- There are unique cultures and mindsets at different locations (for instance med center versus a suburban facility), which must be taken into account and fostered when placing personnel and managing career development.
- Figuring out culture-fit and creating a sense of belonging for employees is essential to an employee’s job satisfaction.
- Successful alignment is managed across all 3 levels: employee, management, and organization.
- They need the ability to locate individuals, high performers, and specific skill sets within the organization.
- Organizations are continuously challenged to manage the emotions and relationships between employees.
- Mandates given to management are not successful unless the reasons are clear. You must get the “why” communicated sufficiently to get leaders and employees to buy in.
- To address communication issues, the employee has to be willing to share information, and there needs to be a continuing conversation. Sometimes managers rely too much on technological tools to actually avoid such conversations.
- Identify your people with high potential and help them develop the skills needed to fill new positions. This can only be done with mentors, communication, coaches, transparency, and sometimes job shadowing.
- Customized and personalized career development across the organization is very intensive and expensive at the individual level. Scaling it with today’s processes and tools may be cost-prohibitive.
Big Thanks to Our Guests
Thank you so much to our guests for coming to the table with curious minds and ready to share their insights. We are beyond grateful. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or follow up issues. We are most grateful to our moderator, Courtney Holladay, Director, Organization Development at MD Anderson Cancer Center. If you were unable to join us in November but would like to participate as a guest at our future events please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We regularly host exclusive events specifically designed for executive-level engagement and learning.