We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving 2012.  In healthcare, for example, we should be thankful that we have survived, in spite of ourselves, on several important issues, like how we invest in our human capital, or, according to hundreds of hospital annual reports,  “our most important asset.”

Let’s be honest.  Fantasy football leagues have more detailed information on their talent—performance, strengths, weaknesses, and backups—than 90 percent of the hospitals in the United States. 

Does this bother anyone?  

I believe that this lack of focus on our workforce can be directly linked to poor financial performance, continuing problems with cultural and performance disconnects that directly affect quality of care and patient safety, and inconsistent customer satisfaction ratings.  Why?  Because we have not made smart investments with our time and in developing processes and systems to seriously evaluate the strengths and needs of our people in a truly comprehensive way.

In far too many hospitals in America, the performance evaluation system begins with a department director completing an annual evaluation—often tardy by weeks or even months—and ends with the approval by the director’s vice president. 

Do you think GE or Honeywell could have produced their stellar results with such a haphazard talent evaluation program?  What makes health systems, hospitals or other providers different? 

On Friday, I will outline my thoughts on what a best-in-class evaluation system should look like.  Here is a preview: you are either cutting edge or last place. 

In the meantime, between and betwixt the turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, do not hesitate to wade in on this topic with your thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving. 

© 2012 John Gregory Self