A Prescription for Talent Management Success

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didi-derricoBy Didi D’Errico at Saba, Vice President, Brand Advocacy

How talent management best practices can drive employee satisfaction and better outcomes

The dizzying rate of change in the healthcare industry is causing the need to constantly reskill the workforce to harness new technology advances, keep up with customer expectations, and outpace competitors. Retraining requirements will be so pervasive that 45% of America’s occupations are projected to be obsolete within 20 years, and new jobs requiring new talents will take their place, according to research from Oxford University. No healthcare organization is immune to these changes.

The challenge:  how best to add these new skills? After all, the healthcare industry already faces critical staffing shortages, so there is no way to cover all reskilling needs through external hiring. But well-managed healthcare companies currently have a built-in pool of available talent—their employees. It’s well established that internal mobility drives retention. It’s not only possible to develop new skills with existing employees—it’s the best way to retain, re-engage and inspire them with new challenges and growth opportunities.

The issue is how to build a thoughtful talent management strategy and system that balances hiring new talent with developing existing talent and keeping the workforce engaged enough to fuel innovation and growth. Here’s how three healthcare leaders are rising to the challenge.

Learning through collaboration

As a large not-for-profit family of hospitals and clinics in the mid-west rapidly grew, it became clear that the healthcare system would need to facilitate innovative approaches to informal learning and collaboration among its approximately 24,000 employees.

The organization selected a cloud based learning management system to help with these efforts. As successful as this organization’s formal learning programs had been, a great deal of learning occurs through social and informal learning and collaboration. The healthcare system is using its learning management software to support “communities of practice” — active forums that enable members to share documents and other resources, participate in online exchanges or discussions, post or answer questions, and collaborate in the creation of informative wikis that can be consulted as desired.

These communities are helping to compile and disseminate best practices shared across all of the healthcare organization’s hospitals and clinics. The latest technologies, such as training videos for procedures and blogs that solicit comments and feedback involving specific medical situations, make social and informal learning through these communities even more relevant and engaging.

The organization began with a single community of healthcare professionals and staff at one of its hospitals, but since then has grown to well over 100 communities system-wide. This technology-enabled collaboration has been critical to the long-term success of the organization, especially as job roles and certification requirements change so rapidly.

Showcasing employee expertise

Covenant Health is Canada’s largest Catholic healthcare organizations, operating in 18 hospitals and care centers across Alberta. With more than 10,000 employees, it needed a talent management solution that would allow for seamless knowledge transfer at all levels of the organization. It also required an easily accessible, online platform for experts to connect and share their expertise across departments. So it deployed a virtual workspace that hosts staff-contributed videos, learning modules, discussion boards and blogs to tap into body of knowledge on healthcare best practices and policies.

The cloud-based workspace allows Covenant Health to showcase their employee expertise and leverage it throughout the organization. It also enables Covenant to extend the “conversation streams” outside of meeting rooms and hallway discussions to create an open, sharing-centric environment. In fact, that collaboration has improved employee engagement and accreditation tracking, while optimizes its care across the province to all its constituents

An integrated approach to learning

Another healthcare leader needed to integrate multiple training programs supported by isolated systems to overcome inconsistencies and duplication in training activities across the company. So it launched a unified, organization-wide system for accessing a full range of education offerings.

Currently the system supports approximately 1,500 courses covering a broad spectrum of topics from managing customer relationships to compliance and safety. Employees can access and register for both instructor-led training and Web-based training through a single self-service portal.

The organization has minimized costs and raised productivity by addressing different types of learning styles, skill levels and time constraints. This blended learning approach provides employees with more freedom to schedule their training, using the most suitable learning method. By combining online and classroom experiences, learners benefit from live instructor interaction, yet minimize their time away from work.

In a healthcare industry experiencing rapid change and opportunity, a talent management platform can be the engine that enables strategic talent initiatives to take flight. It becomes, in effect, the engine of change, enabling healthcare organizations to engage their employees and empower them to grow and thrive.