Healthcare leaders today face complex and evolving talent challenges, including high turnover rates and hefty administrative costs. Having served as a Senior Advisor and Engagement Manager to many leading healthcare organizations, I have personally witnessed the arduous journey that healthcare leaders must navigate when searching for the right performance management system to combat these challenges.
I recently partnered with Saba to develop a checklist outlining the key capabilities healthcare organizations should look for in a performance management system. Below are a few takeaways (with real-world examples) from the report. These factors will guide you on the right path to finding a technology solution to support your healthcare organization’s performance management strategy, now and in the future.
1. Alignment of individual and organization goals
You most likely already set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART). You also need to ensure individual goals align and directly support organizational goals. As physicians are treating patients, they are not only making progress toward their own individual goals, but they are also aware of how their work is contributing within the greater context of organizational objectives; they consciously bring the hospital’s vision of quality care closer into their day-to-day work.
TIP: ✔ The right performance management system can help support that alignment and keep managers and employees accountable for those goals by facilitating periodic check-ins and offering insights into goal progression through reporting and visual dashboards.
2. Competency-based job descriptions
In trying to balance supporting healthcare clinical employees, onboarding new hires, remembering role changes and keeping up with hospital mergers and acquisitions, job title/description management can suffer and quickly get out of control.
TIP: ✔ Your performance management system should centralize and automate the creation and management of job descriptions that include specific competency requirements. Ideally, you’ll have the option to either create job descriptions from scratch or use ready-made job description templates. The more consistency you can enable, the better. A job description sign-off feature is also important for healthcare organizations, as it enables HR leaders to easily review, document and approve job description updates to ensure that they meet certification or regulatory requirements.
3. Checklists to track proficiencies
In healthcare settings (especially nursing), it is important to evaluate and track detailed clinical and technical competencies—skills that often involve a series of tasks that directly impact patient care and safety. For example, a demonstrated competency in “donning protective gear” involves several subtasks, including washing hands, tying the gown and putting on gloves.
TIP: ✔ Your performance management system should offer behavioral competency checklist functionality and support custom checklists that can be assigned both independently and as part of a larger certification. You’ll want the ability to deploy those checklists throughout the year and reference them in performance appraisals.
4. Continuous feedback and real-time coaching tools
With a modern performance management platform, performance appraisals include data points and feedback collected from check-ins and peers throughout the year, complete with performance benchmarks based on each role. Having access to this functionality, the Nurse Manager is able to compile a comprehensive appraisal for each employee in minutes, ready to inform career planning and compensation decisions.
TIP: ✔ The right performance management system will provide virtual coaching tools and check-in functionality, such as automated agendas, conversation starters and goal tracking that help facilitate regular conversations. Your platform should also allow users to recognize, reward and coach fellow employees on an ongoing basis.
5. 360-degree peer feedback mechanism
360-degree peer reviews are an effective tool for measuring and improving performance (and patient outcomes) because they are completed by those with close knowledge of the job and the individual performing it. Enabling peer feedback through technology has many benefits. It incorporates the input of employees working in various locations; it creates a system of record that can later be integrated with performance reviews; and it provides valuable data for further analysis and talent decision making.
TIP: ✔ Your performance management system should give employees the ability to easily request and provide feedback from multiple (internal and external) evaluators—both during the appraisal process and as ad hoc assessments. Leaders and administrators should be able to create feedback templates and configure processes to meet organizational goals.
6. Mobile access for field staff
Sprawling campuses, multiple facilities and a moving body of employees and patients have led to an increasing dependence on mobile devices. In fact, more than 25 percent of physicians currently use mobile technology to provide patient care.
TIP: ✔ Your talent management system should support anywhere, anytime access to performance activities. Many software vendors will claim to provide mobile access, but in many cases, the mobile app experience is quite limited compared to that of the browser version. Avert this risk by making a full list of specific, must-have mobile capabilities and then request a product demo to confirm that the system meets those requirements.
7. Actionable, integrated development plans
Employees should be able to click on a skill or competency within their talent system and immediately see a list of resources and next steps available to help them advance their development. For example, a PRN who aspires to be a Nursing Director should be able to log into her talent management profile and, after viewing her current “Management” competency rating of a Level Two, click on the Level Three details to see a Nursing Management 301 course that will advance her skill. With one more click, she’s enrolled herself in next week’s virtual class.
TIP: ✔ Machine learning can be an extremely effective tool when up against busy healthcare employee schedules. Look for a system that uses intelligent coaching and development functionality to provide specific and relevant suggestions of mentors, courses and other resources to help employees create an actionable performance development plan quickly and easily.
Want more tips?
Check out our recent report 13 Capabilities Healthcare Organizations Should Look for in a Performance Management System to help you develop and engage a patient-centered workforce with the right performance management technology.