As we begin to think seriously about what the U.S. healthcare delivery system is going to look like in seven years, the importance of developing and empowering our employees—tapping into a reservoir of knowledge and passion for the success of the organization—is becoming an increasingly important strategy.

As CEOs ponder various strategies (and fads), as they look for clues to discern which path to pursue, and as they consider the role their employees can play in helping advance the organization, here are some important questions to ask:

  1. How do you describe your organization’s culture and would more than 75 percent of the employees agree with you?
  2. How would you describe your leadership style and would your  leadership team and employees agree with your description?
  3. Describe your organization’s reputation as an employer—your recruiting brand.
  4. Is your HR function transactional—focused primarily on employment, records management and benefit administration—or is it transformational—a highly dynamic, innovative and visible service center, that your employees value and trust?
  5. How do you recruit?  Are you attracting and keeping the top talent?
  6. Do you have a transformational onboarding program or a traditional transactional employee orientation where employees essentially learn the rules of how to get fired?
  7. What is your organization’s rate of miss-hires and do you account for this, financially speaking? Do you hold people accountable?  (This is important because if you are an organization with 400 nurses and your turnover rate is 25%, which, surprisingly, is still not that uncommon given the competitiveness of the market, your cost of turnover in that one department is about $4.5 million a year.  I know one national investor-owned company which churns through CEOs, CNOs and CFOs with great gusto and pride.  They believe that their (unrealistic) performance expectations and accountability is the key to their great performance and why Wall Street loves them.  I wonder if it would be true love if those analysts calculated that the company was spending between $12 and $17 million on this churn?)
  8. Does your organization consistently conduct exit interviews?
  9. Does your organization systematically evaluate your employees each year—not for the size of a raise in pay or bonus, but for what kinds of support they may need to be more successful?  If your annual evaluation begins with a department manager rating an employee and recommending a raise and ends with the CEO or some vice president approving it, you are missing an unbelievable opportunity to tap in to an amazingly powerful resource—employee input.
  10. Are you getting the 100 percent effectiveness from your employees that you are paying for, or the 65 to 70 percent that your competitors are getting?

© 2012 John Gregory Self