Measuring What Matters Most: the Employee Experience

Darryl Robinson, EVP/Chief Human Resources Officer, Dignity Health
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Darryl Robinson, EVP/Chief Human Resources Officer, Dignity Health

Every day patients entrust Dignity Health to keep them healthy or to care for them when they are sick. As a pillar in the communities we serve, our employees and their families receive care in our facilities. When caring for patients, our staff strives to create a human connection and deliver a positive experience for all involved.

Recognizing the undeniable link between the care our patients receive and how employees feel about their jobs, Dignity Health has reaffirmed its commitment to the employee experience. We have challenged conventional beliefs about people practices: how we help staff become effective; how we develop managers and leaders; how and when we seek employee feedback; and how we evaluate and manage people. In short, how do we help people be their best at their chosen profession?

As these factors converge, it’s an ideal time to re-imagine the discipline of human resources at Dignity Health. 

The Dignity Health employee experience has multiple touch points with current and prospective employees, including recruiting, interviewing, hiring, managing, developing, and retaining talent. Our brand of “Hello humankindness” is constant and is supported by our applicant tracking system, starting with initial contact with potential candidates, following through to interviews, hiring, and onboarding. Keeping in close contact with candidates and introducing them to Dignity Health and humankindness is the cornerstone of our culture and paves the way for new hires to have a successful entry into our organization.

  
​When caring for patients, our staff strives to create a human connection and deliver a positive experience for all involved
   

Our new hire orientation was recently redesigned and standardized so that everyone receives a consistent onboarding experience when coming to Dignity Health regardless where they work–a hospital, medical clinic, or administrative office. The program content taps into our benefits as well as our rich history, mission, and community outreach. We have trained more than 100 facilitators across the organization to deliver the program and have received an overwhelmingly positive response to the content.  

 
Experiences within the first 90 days on a new job are fundamental to establishing an employee’s perception of the company. This is the ideal time to ask for new hire feedback. Using custom talent management and analytics technology, Dignity Health takes the pulse of new hires at 30 and 90 days of employment through a simple automated survey.  
 
A daily data feed captures new hires. From this information, surveys are disseminated to the appropriate employees at the appropriate time. Follow up notices are also sent, and if there is no response after two weeks, a reminder email is sent to the employee and their manager. The same process is repeated at the 90-day survey mark. The survey automatically closes at three weeks for the 30-day survey and four weeks for the 90-day survey. On average, there is a nearly 60 percent response to the new hire survey. The findings are shared with leadership to review and act upon.  
 
The annual Employee Experience Survey takes place each spring and seeks the opinions of all 59,000 employees. Our talent management and analytics solutions create a customized link that is embedded in an email that is sent automatically to all employees so they can quickly access the survey. This link takes recipients directly to the survey. Vanity URLs are also available as yet another option to engage employees. As surveys are completed, an automated process anonymously batches results for each manager with at least five survey responses.
 
The highlight of the annual survey is sharing the findings with managers and helping develop their skills. In follow up to the survey, using our technology solutions, managers receive an aggregated report of their respective team responses and the information is also captured in the organization’s talent platform. Through cutting-edge analytics, employee survey results are linked to patient satisfaction data, allowing our managers to prioritize employee experience improvements and at the same time positively impact outcomes.
 
Helping our managers develop their skills is imperative to helping our employees be successful. Based on survey findings, specific online training courses are made available to managers through the learning management system. There is tremendous enthusiasm for all the learning tools. Stories are often shared amongst managers about the benefit of the training modules and the significant investment the organization is making in professional development.
 
The annual survey response rate was 85 percent in 2015, up three percentage points over the previous year. As the organization embarks on the 2016 survey, we aim to continue this level of participation and we believe we will achieve it. There’s a good reason for that confidence. Simply put, we listen to our employees, act on their feedback, and report what we have done to address their concerns.  
 
Additionally, we believe every employee deserves a professional work environment that challenges their skill and capability, and allows them to grow in their career. That’s why our talent platform is home to the organization’s goal setting and performance management tools. As we move toward a standardized performance management cycle for a significant number of employees, it important to make the process simple, automated, and punctuated with rich dialog between the employee and their manager. The shift to a consistent annual review cycle allows managers to look collectively at the performance of their teams and truly reward employees based on their contributions. By having all information in one talent system, employees can refer back to their manager’s comments at any time.
 
At Dignity Health, human resources is raising its game by aligning its skills and capabilities with the organization’s overall goals and at the same time enhancing the employee experience. It’s also modernizing relationships internally with managers and frontline employees and, ultimately, the patients that we serve. Data and analytics brought forth by more sophisticated technologies are making meaningful measurement possible. Imagine an even brighter future for human resources as the developer of talent and leadership across Dignity Health.

 

 

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