|Using Your Performance Appraisal Process as a Tool to Support Healthcare Reform|
|Yvon Martel, VP of Healthcare at Halogen Software|
As healthcare reform drives a shift from fee-for-service/volume-based payments to value-based payments that reward positive outcomes and efficiencies, healthcare facilities need to effect an accompanying shift in their organizational cultures. As the American Hospital Association notes: "A culture of performance improvement, accountability and high performance focus is critical to enhancing the organization's ability to implement strategies successfully. The right culture will enable the transformation to the hospital and care system of the future." (Hospital and Care Systems of the Future) But how do you effect this critical cultural change?
Your employee performance management process can be a helpful tool to both instill the change and measure the results. Here are some ways it can help you do that.
Align Your Workforce with Effective Goal Management
One of the most effective ways to communicate a culture shift and a change in priorities is through organizational goals. Start by setting high-level organizational goals that are focused on achieving positive outcomes and efficiencies, making it clear these are tied to healthcare reform. Then, as part of your performance appraisal process, challenge managers at every level of the organization to assign each of their employees one or more goals that are linked these higher level organizational goals; the employee should clearly understand that their individual goal supports a higher level organizational goal. This goal linking helps build alignment and commitment at the grassroots level. It makes tangible for each employee how they, in their day to day work, are contributing to the achievement of organizational goals related to healthcare reform. And it also communicates and demonstrates the organization's commitment to the principles of the reform.
As managers monitor and communicate employees' progress on their goals and assess their performance, the organization's leadership can track overall progress, identify any problem areas, and make adjustments as needed. Similarly, leaders should regularly measure progress on the organization's high-level goals and communicate this status to employees — helping to build commitment and alignment.
Cultivate Core Competencies and Performance Standards Related to Outcomes and Efficiency
Another way you can support this cultural change is by identifying the core competencies or performance standards that support this new focus, and cultivating them in all your employees. You can then include these core competencies or performance standards important to positive outcomes and efficiency in your job requisitions, job descriptions and performance appraisal forms, and assess every employee's demonstration of them in your annual performance appraisals. This will again help to communicate the sharpened culture and values your organization wants to embrace in a practical, tangible way for employees. But more importantly, it will ensure every employee gets feedback on their demonstration of these core competencies and encourage their managers to assign development plans where performance is found lacking.
Further, identifying these core competencies and evaluating employees' demonstration of them allows the organization to measure its strengths and identify any gaps that need to be addressed through development, hiring, or other measures.
Cultural shifts can be difficult to achieve, especially in large organizations. Yet with the current healthcare reform initiative, the future of your healthcare facility depends on its ability to change. Your performance management process can be a powerful tool for communicating priorities, values and goals to the entire organization, aligning your workforce to embrace this new focus and creating a culture that supports positive outcomes and efficiencies.
Yvon Martel is the VP of Healthcare at Halogen Software. He has shared insight into key performance management challenges and solutions for healthcare organizations at a number of healthcare industry forums across North America, including ASHHRA and regional healthcare association events, as well as on the Halogen blog.