Health eCareers– Find top talent on Health eCareers!
It was Merriam-Webster’s “Word of the Year” in 2014, as the world began to recognize that “culture” wasn’t just used to describe museum benefits and the opera. Since then, the word has been on the tip of human resources professionals’ tongues with increasing frequency. That’s because as management and employees both know, a company defines its culture and the culture defines the company — and its success or failure.
A positive culture generally means employees “like working there.” It’s that simple. And if people like working there, you’re more likely to attract — and retain — the kind of high-quality healthcare professionals every organization covets.
The Best Places to Work in Healthcare
In our industry, Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work list showcases some of the best workplace cultures in healthcare. Didn’t make this year’s list? That’s okay! There are plenty of ways to make your company culture shine — and here to help are experts from three companies that ranked at the top of this year’s list: CompHealth (#6), Weatherby Healthcare (#10) and Jackson Physician Search (#14).
TRY SOME OF THESE TACTICS TO CREATE AN AWARD-WINNING COMPANY CULTURE THAT ATTRACTS AND RETAINS TOP HEALTHCARE TALENT!
1. Put People First
For Jeff Freeman and colleagues at CompHealth, a subsidiary of CHG Healthcare, the parent company’s core value of “Putting People First” isn’t just a catchy slogan. It’s a way of life and business, and it rates second to profits and business strategy.
“Core values are central to our culture and we’ve seen the positive impact of both,” says Freeman, who is senior vice president, locum tenens, for the Salt Lake City-based staffer. Culture is so important that the recruiting process for CompHealth staff may seem to occur “the other way around,” since the company interviews for a cultural fit first and then for skill set.
That’s clearly by design, since the work done by CompHealth doesn’t just “happen.” “We think it’s very purposeful,” Freeman says. “Those core values give us guidance and direction. They contribute to a safe and nurturing environment.”
2. Expect to Connect
Even if a candidate doesn’t have a mile-long resume in healthcare, that’s not a deal-breaker. “CompHealth looks for relevant connections and past experiences,” he says. That same reverence for culture applies to the physician recruitment process.
“It’s estimated that the doctors we place will impact some 6 million patient lives,” says Freeman. “Of course, clinical capabilities are a very high priority, but we want to be sure physicians who work with us fit from a cultural standpoint—they also represent the CompHealth brand, after all. That means they represent our same values, integrity, ethics and dedication to personal growth—a connection to something bigger than all of us.”
HOW YOU CAN DO IT: When you recruit, first find the cultural fit and then assess the skill set. Look for relevant connections and past experiences.
3. Go With the Cultural Flow
Culture doesn’t look the same as it did five years ago — even one year ago — says President Bill Heller of Weatherby Healthcare, another business arm of parent CHG Healthcare. “It’s taken on a life of its own,” he says.
He remembers when “culture was ‘chic’ and more ‘top down.’ Now the opposite seems to be true, and that’s really how it has to start,” he says. “Now employees are the good stewards of the culture and they drive it on a day-to-day basis to help make this the kind of place where people really enjoy being at work.”
4. Share and Share Alike
A positive culture doesn’t exist in a void. “Open, transparent communication is one foundation of strong culture,” he says. And that pertains to getting the word out, even when that word isn’t great.
“I worry more about not delivering bad news,” Heller says. “I think employees will feel the tension, fill in the blanks themselves or see a news story. Often, what they fill in is worse than actual reality.”
There are very few things that can’t be shared with the total employee population, he says. “Yes, we do talk about our results and some of the threats to our opportunities.”
The company’s open-door policy also means “leaders are available and walking the floor, working shoulder-to-shoulder with people, and having regular one-on-ones,” he says. “The more people know about why we make decisions the way we do, the more they can help positively impact business.”
5. Ask the Hard Questions
A believer in quantifying results, Heller says customer service surveys completed by third-party clients and providers offer “lots of opportunities to get tangible feedback on how things are doing. We believe our results are directly related to satisfaction — how we treat people.”
The overall turnover rate at CHG is only 14 percent, says Heller. “Retention is so important. That means establishing and nurturing those relationships so our employees really understand what a client needs.“
The company prides itself on training — “still, a lot is experiential,” says Heller. “You can’t be great at this job without doing it and doing it, understanding the nuances, peeking around the corners and grasping every little detail about the assignment.”
HOW YOU CAN DO IT: Allow culture to germinate from the bottom up, organically, and don’t hide secrets that will ultimately get shared, perhaps incorrectly. Measure your results so you know why employees want to stay — or go — because it benefits you when they stay.
6. Train, Equip and Conquer
The name may have changed but the company’s commitment to an exceptional culture has not. Formerly Jackson & Coker Permanent Placement, the firm revamped its name and logo to further “highlight our leadership and clarify our role in the permanent physician and recruitment industry,” says Jackson Physician Search president Tony Stajduhar. The company is part of the Jackson Healthcare family of companies based in Atlanta.
Stajduhar credits the company’s positive culture with contributing to its growth in physician recruitment and helping earn the Modern Healthcare accolade. “People are the greatest differentiators for us,” he says. “We have people who are great to begin with, and then we further equip them with the right training and tools in an environment where they can be happy and successful. That is the blueprint for building a culture that enables our team to deliver great results and an exceptional experience for our clients and candidates.”
7. It’s Okay to Compete
It’s one thing to talk about culture and quite another to develop a culture in which people feel comfortable and happy. “We want to provide an environment that allows you to be competitive and maintain a drive to succeed, while being part of a unified team,” Stajduhar says.
Making a name change is a big move and so is reinforcing the promise of what’s been a consistent brand. Stajduhar says that meant assessing every detail of the company’s operation — then and now — as it pertains to culture.
8. Think Like a Thought Leader
“We brought our sourcing strategies up to date and positioned ourselves even more clearly to be thought leaders on the subject of how to procure physicians,” he says. “We want our clients to know we’re on the same team with them, instead of being heavy-handed and telling them what to do.”
Then there’s that all-important component that defines how services are delivered. “In achieving our goal as innovators, the thing that really differentiates us is our people,” he says. “Our culture emphasizes the importance of our clients’ trust in the skills of our team and the transparency of the process.”
The formula appears to be working — that unwavering emphasis on culture and its undeniable importance in business. In such a people-centric industry as healthcare, no wonder so many savvy executives and managers are committed to putting a positive culture first on the list of corporate priorities.
HOW YOU CAN DO IT: Treasure your people and help them grow, be happy and succeed. It’s ok for them to be driven and to compete as they remain integral parts of the team. They’ll be better equipped to thrive within the transparent process, and in turn, earn clients’ trust.
9. Shine Your Own ‘Spotlight’
Last year, Health eCareers introduced “Spotlight” to give healthcare employers and recruiters a new way to stand out from the competition. That’s no easy task in today’s crowded marketplace, but so far Spotlight has played to rave reviews, including those of Jackson Physician Search. The company’s Spotlight page features a variety of videos with team members who share their in-depth observations on what it’s like to be a part of the company’s success.
Spotlight allows customers to enhance their online presence with photos and videos, those employee testimonials and authenticated reviews, maps, awards and other information. It all works together to showcase what makes their hospital system or practice unique and appealing to healthcare professionals.
10. Increase Candidate Engagement
According to Stajduhar, “The Spotlight tool positions our company as one of the best recruiting firms in the industry. By setting us apart from our competitors and putting more information in the hands of candidates, it increases their level of trust in working with a company that is reputable.”
When asked about his favorite feature, Stajduhar says, “Spotlight gives candidates a profile of our company and our successful track record of placements. The videos of candidates, clients and our team give them a first-hand look of what they can expect to experience when they work with us.”
Candidates tell him the presentation looks great online, but he’s most impressed with quantifiable results. “We have seen engagement by candidates growing each month,” he says.