How to Use Behavioral Assessments to Improve Patient Care

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To remain competitive, healthcare organizations need to hire employees who provide a high level of patient- and resident-focused care and who are committed team members. Science-based behavioral assessments can help healthcare organizations choose the right people for the jobs they need to fill and do a better job of managing and developing the people they already have on staff.

Getting the right people in the right positions is an important part of patient care. “A lot of patient care has to do with patient satisfaction,” says Mike DiPietro, CMO at HealthcareSource, which provides behavioral assessment solutions. “Happy employees make happy patients.”

Understand the Tool

One of the biggest challenges with using behavioral assessment tools is learning the science behind them and the value they can offer, says DiPetro. “It’s very common for a hiring manager to say, ‘I trust my gut,’” but relying only on your gut can bring the chance of hiring the right person down to less than 50 percent.

Knowing employees’ competencies when you hire them can help you pick the right person and establish a development plan to provide ongoing feedback and coaching from the start. For example, if someone seems like a good fit but scores a little low on teamwork, then managers know to focus on developing that throughout the new hire’s career.

One mistake some organizations make is using the assessment as a way to screen out candidates, says Roberta Matuson, a talent management consultant. It’s meant to be a tool to find a good fit for a good candidate, not to find reasons to not hire someone.

To make sure they use the tool correctly, some organizations bring on a partner-vendor to manage the assessments and provide support with the results.

Refer to the Results Throughout an Employee’s Tenure

Behavioral assessments can be used for current employees as well, DiPietro says. “If an employee is ready for the next step, it can be used to evaluate someone for an internal transfer. Someone may be a great nurse, yet be a terrible nurse manager. Someone might be an aide, but may be happier in a higher-level caregiving role. So often, employers look at how a person performs in their current job rather than considering their potential in a position.”

It’s important to remember behavioral assessments are a tool for the long-term, not a one-time use, Matuson says. Revisiting them can help keep managers and employees on the right developmental track.

“These tools can provide a tremendous amount of insight into an employee’s motivation and performance,” she explains. “I tell my clients who use these tools to review the results quarterly as a reminder as to what motivates the individuals on their staff.”

Understanding Helps Employees Work Better, Do Better for Patients

When employees understand what makes themselves tick, it can improve their outlook and performance. “The process of taking the assessment and understanding more about yourself, your stressors, motivators, your preferences, can help an employee learn about strengths and associated blind spots,” says Krista Skidmore, Principal at FlashPoint HR, which provides talent management consulting in a variety of industries, including healthcare.

That awareness can lead to better performance and patient satisfaction. Kiki Orski, Founder of Peak Performance Consulting, works with healthcare organizations to improve patient care, and helps them with assessments. She worked with the management team of one hospital and used a behavioral assessment tool as part of an 18-month project. “They had unbelievable success improving their patient satisfaction scores,” she says. When employees understand their own behavioral traits and styles, they can better interact with others.

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