Hospital Sisters Health System unifies talent management

Hospital Sisters Health System improves performance management

Respect, care, competence and joy: These are the values that Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) strives to embody every day. The organization is dedicated to high-quality Franciscan health care, focusing not just on the physical body, but also on the mind and spirit.

HSHS has 15,000 full-time employees spread out across 200 locations in Wisconsin and Illinois. These healthcare facilities include academic hospitals, critical access facilities and small clinics.

For years, many locations had their own talent management systems and policies in place, so there were challenges for HR leaders to collect or analyze data across the board.

The HR team at HSHS knew that to achieve the organization’s values, they needed a better way to track performance and engage employees. With the help of Halogen TalentSpace™, HSHS has:

  • Unified its talent management system and streamlined processes;
  • Gained a new outlook on how job descriptions play a strategic role within the talent management process;
  • Identified top performers and initiated succession planning exercises;
  • Linked pay increases for employees based on performance data; and
  • Fully automated performances evaluation processes, goal setting targets, and succession/career planning conversations between managers and employees.

Out with the old, in with the new

Before HSHS implemented Halogen TalentSpace, many of its hospitals were still using manual processes. Evaluation forms were not always used effectively, making it difficult to track or measure performance in a consistent manner. Compensation wasn’t always connected to performance and employee goals weren’t always aligned to big picture, organizational goals. As a result, employees often lacked insight into how their work contributed to the organization's success.

In addition, HSHS had several different talent management vendors. In fact, there were 15 separate operating environments with dissimilar policies and rules. The multitude of processes affected the quality of performance evaluations. It also made it difficult for HR to set up training and development paths. Those issues impacted employee engagement levels and challenged the high standards that HSHS set for itself.

HSHS issued a system-wide survey to gauge employee engagement to help the HR team fully understand what was needed to turn things around. The survey came back with low grades for the organization’s talent development, aligned rewards system, succession planning and change-readiness.

“We found that engagement was very low and knew that we needed to get a robust system in place for the organization to move forward,” says Alicia Hannah, Senior Technical Analyst, Hospital Sisters Health System.

Building an end-to-end HR system

A HSHS hospital in Chippewa Falls was already using Halogen Performance™ and the goal was to have consistency across the organization to build an end-to-end system within one platform. By adding other modules, the HR team knew it would have access to information that would provide a comprehensive overview of how its talent management strategy was working.

HSHS started with Halogen Performance in 2012 and gradually added Halogen 360 Multirater™, Halogen Job Description Builder™ and Halogen Succession™.

“We were taking 15,000 people through a brand-new journey. We wanted to go slow so we didn’t overwhelm everyone,” says Hannah. “Halogen’s suite of products helped encourage employees to embody the organization’s values while supporting their learning and development. We outlined our strategic priorities with Halogen Performance, which set the foundation for the other modules to help us build an efficient, strong, world-class workforce. “

The organization also ensured there was an employee acting as a Halogen administrator at each facility. A Halogen trainer spent two days with each administrator to make sure they understood the system. Even after implementation, the administrators have a conference call every two weeks to go over the system and get feedback on how everything is working. That constant communication has helped streamline processes and bring all employees onboard. Finally, part of the clean-up at HSHS was taking thousands of job descriptions and consolidating them into just over 600.

“We’re probably legendary at Halogen for the number of job descriptions that we had,” laughs Hannah. Armed with Halogen Job Description Builder and a new outlook on how job descriptions play a strategic role within the talent management process, HSHS’ HR team started from scratch.

“Now we have a solid list of job descriptions and are setting up a process so it doesn’t creep up to a thousand or more again,” says Hannah.

Creating a culture of consistency

One of the key changes that HSHS made was to make the evaluation process consistent across all facilities. Prior to Halogen, managers lacked adequate training on how to give a good performance evaluation. Now, goals are made clear, specific and aligned to the organization’s objectives. Managers and employees are held accountable to and receive regular feedback on their work. Halogen 360 Multirater also ensures that feedback comes from many sources and perspectives.

“We now have a very rich and effective way of evaluating our employees. Their scores have meaning,” says Hannah. “And now we can answer all the questions that we couldn’t answer before. All the information is at our fingertips — Performance evaluations, identifying top performers, making note of learning opportunities. That’s great for HR and it’s been helpful when we get surveyed by accreditation bodies.”

With accreditations from various organizations and programs, it’s vital for succession planning that HSHS can identify employees who have the necessary skills for specific roles. Accreditation can be built into certain job descriptions, helping give HR easy visibility into where they need to boost training for proactive succession planning.

The customer experience

Part of HSHS’s success is the support they received from Halogen’s customer service team and account manager.

“I have to give a shout out to customer service. Being in IT, I have worked with a lot of software vendors. I have never had such a great experience as I have with Halogen support,” says Hannah. “With other vendors, I never met with them or spoke with the account manager. If there was a problem, I would put in a ticket and might get an email back with a suggestion. The customer support from Halogen is unparalleled. There’s really nothing else you can say about it. Someone always answers the phone. They genuinely care.”

HSHS is now working with Halogen’s Continuous Advancement team to dig deep and tailor the talent management modules to meet its needs. HSHS has set up a list of goals for the next few years, including embedding succession planning into their process and linking performance goals to system strategies.

“Since our first kickoff meeting I’ve gotten really excited about the path the Continuous Advancement team is putting us on,” says Hannah. “They were able to identify some things that we might not have thought of and came up with some process optimization plans that could really help us. We’re in the process of identifying our high potentials so we can develop a solid learning and development plan for the future.”

Dazzling results

Hospital Sisters Health System invested time in researching and implementing a talent management suite. While it was a challenge amalgamating all the different talent management processes and getting all employees and managers onto an electronic system, HSHS has seen big payoffs for their efforts – including a Dazzling Implementation award at the Halogen User Conference in 2012.

“I think the completion rates for our annual appraisal process speak volumes,” says Hannah. “We’re close to 100% completion. That just wasn’t possible in our old system. “

“From a user standpoint, Halogen’s system has worked well for us and been well-received by our employees,” says Hannah. “Talent management really is Halogen’s forte.”