Paperless employee appraisals help CentraState focus on quality patient care

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CentraState Healthcare System modernized the way it evaluates employee performance to support strategic initiatives. The new system enabled the organization to:

  • Streamline the process so that HR and managers are able to focus on strategic work;
  • Create a time savings of 575 hours per year for managers; and
  • Increase employee satisfaction with the appraisal process.

Company profile

Located in Monmouth County in central New Jersey, CentraState Healthcare System is a private, not-for-profit health care organization dedicated to excellence, with a focus on a full circle of health and wellness for its community. It celebrated its 35-year anniversary in 2006, and is still growing. The organization currently consists of the CentraState Medical Center — an acute-care medical center licensed for 271 beds — as well as three senior living communities, a health awareness center, a family medicine center, and the CentraState Healthcare Foundation.

The challenge

In recent years, CentraState's HR team, led by Fran Keane, modernized many of its systems by moving them online. The existing employee performance appraisal process generated a lot of paper for the department, creating a high number of administrative tasks for all involved. With annual appraisals for 2200 employees, as well as 385 different job descriptions, the HR team spent many hours emailing documents, doing data entry and tracking documents through the process.

"Our past system was paper-based and was relatively primitive", said Debbie Whalen, Manager of Organizational Development at CentraState. "The appraisals were very lengthy and rather difficult to manage. On top of that, we have employees that have been with us for more than 30 years, so we had some archiving and storage issues."

The burden of the process was being felt by both HR and managers. Department heads rarely completed their appraisals in January, which meant that HR would be consistently flooded in March with more than 1000 appraisals. Keane and the team recognized that eliminating administrative tasks would enable everyone at CentraState to focus on meeting and exceeding core strategic imperatives related to patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, quality and overall efficiency.

"With more than 2000 employees and a universal appraisal date, the logistics of managing that was very labor intensive, and with a limited HR workforce it was becoming increasingly difficult to do meaningful HR work," said Fran Keane, Vice President of HR for CentraState. "We were interested in getting away from the tasks of performance appraisals and into the business of performance management. We looked for technology to help us do this."

The solution

Keane headed the search for a new solution and created a shortlist of five vendors based on her initial research. She then selected a committee made up of various department heads, along with the director of HR to screen the five vendors including Halogen and others. From there, each vendor delivered a product demonstration to the committee.

"Following the demos, Halogen was the hands-down choice by the selection team," said Whalen. "The team recognized that the solution was the most user friendly, while still providing all of the elements the HR team needed. Of course, the fact that the solution was healthcare-specific was also a big plus."

With Halogen Performance™ Healthcare being tailored specifically for the healthcare field, CentraState had the confidence that electronic signatures used on Halogen employee evaluation forms would be acceptable to the state department of health when they performed inspections. Additionally, with a library of health care competencies to evaluate employees against, CentraState would meet The Joint Commission (JCAHO) requirements.

The new solution provided CentraState with robust reporting tools to track the process, so HR and managers could quickly and easily access critical details in the employee performance appraisal process. Additionally, managers were able to have appraisal scores calculated automatically by the system, eliminating errors that occurred with the paper-based system.

CentraState was able to implement and rollout the system quickly. "There were no challenges during the implementation," said Keane. "As implementations go it was a dream."

Results

Since implementing Halogen Performance Healthcare, CentraState has increased employee and manager buy-in for the overall value of the appraisal process as well as created time and cost savings for all involved.

CentraState is focused on achieving a 100 percent on-time completion rate in order to meet regulatory requirements. With each individual step in the appraisal process assigned a due date, managers are compelled to function in line with this goal. With the first full process, CentraState achieved a 93 percent on-time completion rate, "For the first process, we are satisfied with the improvement, and more importantly, employees and managers really see the value of the process now," explained Whalen.

Automating the entire process has saved CentraState both time and money every step of the way. Administrative tasks are greatly reduced for users, managers and administrators. And CentraState no longer has to hire a temporary administrator each year to enter scores from more than 2000 appraisals.

"This has been a big time saver, with some of our managers estimating that they are saving more than 15 minutes per appraisal," said Whalen. "That works out to 575 hours saved by our direct managers each year, and that's not even taking into account how much time we're saving in HR."

The organization's goal of updating its entire employee performance management system has resulted in the HR department reducing the amount of paper generated while also increasing the overall efficiency of the appraisal process. By modernizing the employee appraisal process, HR, managers and employees are able to focus on achieving the healthcare system's strategic objective of delivering top-notch patient care.