New England healthcare leader makes performance based learning a reality

David Hofstetter shares how now they have an integrated talent management system that, importantly for them, effectively links learning and performance.

New England Organ Bank (NEOB), the oldest independent organ procurement organization (OPO) in the US, has taken a holistic approach to learning by implementing a single, simple tool for all performance, development and training activities. The combined solution of Halogen Performance™ and Halogen Learning™ provides the NEOB with:

  • A simple tool and single interface for employees to track and manage goals, development plans, training activities, performance appraisals and talent assessments;
  • One system for managers to direct all talent management tasks, making their job simpler and easier;
  • A centralized system for HR and learning leaders to generate reports on performance ratings, skill gaps, competencies, training compliance, certifications etc. and;
  • The ability to ensure that training investments align with corporate strategy, helping measure their effectiveness in terms of improved employee performance on the job.

Profile

The NEOB is the federally-designated OPO for the six New England states and Bermuda, and an accredited member of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Through its nine regional offices, NEOB serves twelve transplant centers with the combined capacity to perform all types of organ transplantation. In an effort to better manage its talent and address the significant regulatory demands of these agencies, NEOB decided it was vital for the organization to automate its talent management processes.

New best-practice in performance-based learning

Traditionally, performance management and learning management systems have been separate applications. As a result, learning management systems have not delivered on their promise to improve employee performance or drive the effective use of training resources, resulting in the broad user dissatisfaction reported by numerous research groups. The New England Organ Bank wanted a holistic approach to talent management that would allow them to fully integrate learning and performance management in a tangible, practical way.

It was this approach to performance-based learning that made Halogen Learning the obvious LMS choice for NEOB in 2009. NEOB is accredited with several regulatory agencies that ensure its activities are performed in a professional manner consistent with national standards. The NEOB had previously migrated from a paper based appraisal system to assess employee performance, to Halogen Performance for performance management.  When the organization looked to implement a Learning Management System, the ability to link learning activities to competency gaps, organizational goals or succession development plans was vital.

The NEOB recognized that with Halogen Learning they could deliver on current best practices of fully integrating performance (normally managed by HR) and learning (normally managed by OD or Learning Managers). The simple to use system supported consistent performance driven development across the entire organization, and would allow them to stage their implementation introducing one module at a time, as well as ensure adherence to regulatory healthcare requirements.   

“The integration of Halogen’s performance management and learning management solution has allowed us to make the transition from manual to automated in a phased in manner,” says David Hofstetter, Director of Learning and Development, New England Organ Bank. “This integration and automation also allows us to address strict regulatory requirements we must comply with as a healthcare organization. There have been several factors that have made our implementation of Halogen Learning successful.”

A common workflow and libraries

NEOB took advantage of the common workflow engine that underlies all components of the Halogen suite which simplified the implementation. NEOB’s busy employees and managers now have just one home page where they will find all of the tasks they have to complete that relate to talent management processes, whether this is updating their profile or approving a training request.

All modules in the Halogen suite share a single competency library so there's no duplication of effort or data. This saves the NEOB HR team administration time and allows development activities to be mapped to the competencies employees are being evaluated on.

One system for performance and development

Managers can create development plans, and even register employees for training, right within the employee's performance appraisal, while they are discussing performance and career aspirations. They can tie a development plan to a specific goal/competency, addressing development needs in context, when they are being identified — all without ever leaving the performance appraisal form. Employees can then manage their performance and learning from the same simple to use web interface.

"With this system — managers can easily align, appraise, assess and develop their teams,” says Hofstetter. "Employees can track goals, development plans, meet certification requirements, and enroll in and take various learning programs. The single integrated system makes it faster and simpler for them to manage performance and development, making them more likely to effectively use the resources at their disposal."

HR/learning managers in control

The NEOB HR team can manage and configure the system themselves to meet both talent management and learning requirements. They have fingertip access to a consistent set of metrics so they can more effectively align training and development programs and verify that they are closing skill gaps and developing the talent their organization needs for the future.

These metrics allow Hofstetter to demonstrate how NEOB’s learning and development programs affect its overall business and its ability to meet rigorous compliance requirements.

”Halogen Learning provides us with actionable intelligence that we just didn't have before — greater insight into skills gaps and a stronger understanding of where training programs are required. It helps us to focus our resources and measure performance results from them in the long run — this is invaluable in the board room.”

Measuring the ROI of training investments  

Detailed reporting helps Hofstetter gage a number of other important factors and assists in getting management buy-in.  He can report on the turnaround per course, how often courses are being launched, and how long it is taking for courses to be completed.

The NEOB team can also easily measure the ROI and impact of learning programs across the organization. Halogen Learning provides them immediate access to powerful reports that provide insight into areas where training is required and the overall effectiveness of training programs measured in terms of improved employee performance ratings. The Training Impact report gives the NEOB an indication of how successful training was in improving an employee’s score on a particular competency by showing the actual percentage difference in competency scores between appraisal processes for employees who've taken training. This solves one of the biggest complaints about current Learning Management systems and programs, and is helping demonstrates results against strategy.

Summary

The NEOB has taken a holistic approach to learning by implementing a single, simple tool for all performance, development and training activities. A shared competency model provides one system for employees to track and manage goals, development plans, training activities, performance appraisals and talent assessments; one system for managers to direct all talent management tasks, making their job simpler and easier; one system for HR and learning leaders to generate reports on performance ratings, skill gaps, competencies, training compliance, certifications etc. The NEOB can also ensure that training investments align with corporate strategy, helping measure their effectiveness in terms of improved employee performance on the job.