Top Takeaways from the 2015 ASHHRA Conference

Top Takeaways from the 2015 ASHHRA Conference
Senior Director of Marketing

This year’s American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) conference was held in Orlando, Florida—one of the most magical places on earth. According to ASHHRA, Orlando is a fitting destination for attendees to gather to get inspired, create ‘magic,’ and set the bar higher for themselves and their organizations. This year’s theme was “Strategic Leaders for Healthcare’s Future.” As healthcare HR professionals, motivating and inspiring teams to be passionate about patient care is the very premise of the work that you do on a daily basis: bringing together teams to create patient-centric cultures in order to deliver the best care possible. “People are the hearts of healthcare, and HR is what keeps those hearts beating,” said ASHHRA 2015 President Deborah Rubens, CHHR, SPHR-CA, during the Opening Ceremony on Sunday, September 20th.

As you focus on becoming a stronger strategic leader, the following represent my favorite takeaways from the 2015 ASHHRA Conference.

Using Optimism to Become Stronger Leaders

Jon Gordon, a bestselling author and renowned speaker, was this year’s opening keynote speaker. Gordon spoke about the power of optimism and how it so strongly affects our ability to lead. “The most important characteristic of a leader is their optimism,” Gordon said. “Positive leaders drive positive culture, and culture drives expectations and beliefs. It all starts with the culture we create.”

According to Gordon, positive teams outperform negative teams. In fact, when it comes to positive interactions versus negative interactions, Gordon explained it’s necessary to get above a 3:1 ratio in order to maintain a high performing team. Fortunately, research shows that it’s possible to cultivate positivity. “Maybe you’re not born positive,” Gordon explained. “The great news is that you can cultivate it. You can become a more positive leader.”

If you need to work on cultivating your positivity, here are three ways Gordon shared can help you get there:

  1. Take a Walk of Gratitude - Start your day by reviewing what you’re thankful for. Positive emotions uplift you, while negative emotions slowly drain you. Practicing gratitude can set you up for a more positive day.
  2. Think Like a Rookie - The ‘curse of experience’ longs for the good old days and can make you become unadaptable to change. Rookies, however, are naive enough to actually be successful because they think it’s possible and then take actions to actually make things happen.
  3. View Challenges as Opportunities - We have to take every challenge as an opportunity to learn, grow wiser and stronger. Organizations that embrace change ride their way to better outcomes.

Hiring for a Patient-Centric Culture

In this learning session, Lauren Lloyd, SPHR, Senior Director, Recruitment Service Delivery at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), shared her organization’s journey over the last several years to hire for a patient-centric culture and some of the lessons learned. Turnover and vacancy rates can cause patient satisfaction issues, problems that any healthcare organization can relate to.

In order to address these challenges, UPMC implemented a behavioral online assessment in two pilot facilities and let the managers make the decision based on the data gathering. They realized that a behavioral assessment tool is not a replacement for a bad manager, but after addressing the manager issue at one of the facilities, they say a reduction in turnover in both facilities over time.

When changing your hiring process to a patient-centric one, consider the following key strategies:

  • Involve Recruiters Early - Recruiters know talent and need to be involved earlier in the hiring process so they can help hiring managers make good hiring decisions.
  • Get Stakeholders Involved - Make more employees advocates of your new processes and get key individuals and leaders invested in your initiative so that it doesn’t just come across as an HR initiative.
  • Create Tools for Hiring Managers - Make the effort to develop hiring tools in-house such as values-based interview guides.
  • Focus on Recruiter Efficiency - Help recruiters become strategic partners in the selection process by changing the conversation from volume to value. For recruiters, the goal should be to give hiring managers candidates where they will want to hire all of them.

Developing the Next Generation of Healthcare Professionals

In an inspirational learning session, Consultants Brandon Melton and Mary Anne Kelly from IRI Consultants shared the importance of developing our future workforce through sharing case studies and programs they both were instrumental in developing. There’s an immediate need to invest in our future workforce as 78 million baby boomers are retiring by 2030, and America is undergoing a fundamental shift with emerging majorities. By 2042, we’ll have a majority-minority in both our future workforce and patients.

Before embarking on any initiative, it’s critical to make a business case. Melton stressed the importance of backing any and all investments in programs with facts and figures to support your case. When creating a business case for workforce development needs, consider the following:

  • Aim to increase patient safety, patient quality, patient satisfaction, physician satisfaction and cultural competency
  • Aim to decrease contract labor, overtime usage, leaves of absence, health claims, and stress and burnout

In one of the case studies, Melton shared how a healthcare organization could save over $5 million per year with an intentional workforce development plan compared to the alternative of not doing anything. When planned carefully, a workforce development plan can have a significant impact on your healthcare organization.

As you consider this initiative at your organization, these are the case studies and progressive programs Menton and Kelly shared during this session:

Did you attend this year’s ASHHRA Conference? What were your favorite takeaways from the learning sessions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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