Oaklawn Hospital Embraces Culture of Continuous Coaching and Feedback

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Based in Marshall, Michigan, Oaklawn Hospital is a 94-bed community health care center that has 1,000 employees and provides services ranging from child birth and dentistry to dialysis and cardiac rehabilitation. Staff at Oaklawn are taught values such as quality, integrity and teamwork. Each employee, regardless of their position, strives to provide perfect care to each and every patient.

By employing Halogen TalentSpace™ and Halogen Performance™ the hospital has been able to improve the efficiency of its performance reviews, empower team leaders, engage employees, and build a culture that embraces continuous coaching and feedback.

Disjointed performance management

Oaklawn Hospital is a highly respected regional medical facility that offers 35 different medical specialties. It has achieved patient satisfaction scores that place it in the top two percent of Michigan hospitals, and top five percent of hospitals in the United States.

Despite its success, the hospital’s HR department received regular complaints from employees about its performance management system.

“We decided that it was time to improve the way performance reviews were being conducted, as well as the ways in which managers and their direct reports were interacting with each other,” says Ginger Williams, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer at Oaklawn Hospital. “We decided that both managers and employees at Oaklawn Hospital deserved a better system going forward.”

Understanding employee needs

Oaklawn performed an employee engagement survey and learned that the lack of a consistent performance development process was a common frustration. A considerable amount of candid feedback was received, such as:

  • My director doesn’t tell me how I'm doing.
  • My director doesn’t meet with me to talk about my performance or career aspirations.
  • I don’t know what's expected of me at work.

“The general sentiment was that employees felt they didn’t have a say, or way to communicate, what they needed from their employer,” says Wendy Heppe, HR Manager at Oaklawn Hospital.

The employee survey reinforced the need to overhaul Oaklawn Hospital’s performance management approach.

Adding the right performance management system

Oaklawn Hospital evaluated three talent management vendors in an effort to find a solution that would address its unique needs. During the evaluation process, Oaklawn gave special consideration to the following:

“We see evaluations as being ongoing, and want to keep the communication between managers and their staff open and active throughout the year,” says Heppe.

The team at Oaklawn Hospital was impressed with Halogen Performance™ because it enabled the medical center to:

  • Standardize the performance management process across the hospital;
  • Engage employees in their own development and help them grow and develop in their career;
  • Embed coaching and feedback into the hospital’s culture; and
  • Help managers feel comfortable providing continuous feedback to their team members.

The impact of Halogen’s solution was immediate and is being felt throughout the hospital at every level. Employees are developing a better understanding of how their work and interactions with other people impact the hospital and the care being provided to patients.

“Using Halogen has been a real eye opener for employees,” says Neil Kepler, a Programmer and Analyst at Oaklawn Hospital. “They have a stronger connection to Oaklawn Hospital now and they know that what they do each and every day matters because it’s directly tied to what the hospital is trying to achieve.”

Oaklawn Hospital’s President and CEO agrees and says that the feedback on the Halogen solutions has been overwhelmingly positive from both managers and staff.

“Employees are now telling us that the feedback they receive is helpful,” says Williams. “Plus, the system keeps track of feedback so that it is always there and readily accessible. Managers are busy, so they like how easy it is to access the information on their teams.”

Proactive communication and engagement with employees

One of the benefits of using Halogen Performance is that it enables managers at Oaklawn Hospital to be proactive when it comes to communicating with their staff. Supervisors are now able to better rate their team members based on how they are performing in their jobs, track any development opportunities that are identified, and evaluate each person’s suitability for advancement.

“Halogen is a tool that has taken employee performance and development together and helped tie it all to support the direction we want to go with the hospital,” says Williams. “Now we've got those elements all in one place, and that's allowed us to promote employee performance and focus more on the strategic direction of this medical center.”

Oaklawn uses Arbinger principles as the basis of its performance development and evaluation. These principles help employees develop a mindset that focuses on the collective achievement of goals and objectives, not just on achieving their own goals and objectives. In addition, the hospital is getting support with employee management from Top Grading, a system that facilitates hiring decisions and evaluations. Concepts from Arbinger and Topgrading were used to populate Halogen Performance.

Taken together, these approaches are helping the healthcare center alter the way it manages staff and how the staff view their work individually and as a member of a larger team. So much so that Oaklawn is working toward the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which is presented annually by the President of the United States, to organizations that demonstrate quality and performance excellence.

Empowered team leaders

With the aid of Halogen Performance, Oaklawn is in a position to offer employees consistent performance support and development opportunities throughout the year. With documents collected and centralized in one place, clearer direction on the hospital`s goals, and improved relations with staff, managers at Oaklawn now say they feel empowered and more effective in their jobs.

“Today we have employees who are making decisions at all levels in real time and know how their work aligns with the hospital’s priorities,” says Williams. “We’re now able to make decisions ahead of the pace of change, which in the healthcare industry is incredible.”