St. Mary's Medical Center supports a performance-driven culture

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In order to meet its strategic objectives, St. Mary's HR team focused on modernizing its key systems, including appraisals and compensation. Now with an industry-specific solution from Halogen, St. Mary's Medical Center was able to:

  • Ease the administrative burden and save time when dealing with appraisals and compensation;
  • Better identify and address issues that impact employee satisfaction;
  • Create a clear and powerful link between appraisals and compensation to create a performance-driven culture; and
  • Better position the organization to achieve overall strategic objectives.

Company profile

St. Mary's Medical Center, located in Huntington West Virginia, is Cabell County's largest private employer with more than 2400 employees. The second-largest single healthcare facility in West Virginia, St. Mary's includes Centers of Excellence in cardiac care, cancer treatment, emergency/trauma services and neuroscience. St. Mary's is one of AARP's top 50 employers in the U.S.

Challenge

Several years ago, when Dan Weaver, the Director of HR at St. Mary's joined the organization, he identified a number of areas within HR that needed to be modernized and improved in order for the organization to meet strategic objectives. St. Mary's HR team was dealing with thousands of appraisals, compensation adjustments and other HR functions. The end result was a focus on administrative tasks with multiple employees having to handle appraisals — distributing, tracking, entering, finalizing and then filing each one.

"One of our key priorities across all areas of HR was to modernize our systems so there was not only less paper, but more insight and intelligence in the process," explained Dan Weaver, Director of HR, St. Mary's Medical Center. "We took a systematic approach in deciding, where we'd modernized our HRIS and recruiting systems, and were then looking at how to take our appraisal process to the next level and tie it to our organization's strategic plan."

In 2005, St. Mary's Medical Center introduced a pay-for-performance system that was tightly aligned with the annual appraisal process. Calculating these increases required even more time from HR as they calculated formulas and manually crunched numbers. Weaver and his team began to look for an appraisal system that would enable them to automate key functions and that would grow with the organization.

Solution

As a healthcare organization, St. Mary's had a number of industry-specific challenges that its new employee performance appraisal system would have to be flexible enough to address. After speaking with several HR contacts at area hospitals, Halogen Software was identified as a good fit with St. Mary's needs.

"In talking to our peers, Halogen was really the most popular solution," said Weaver. "We made a point of carefully reviewing all of our options, and then selected the Halogen suite based on its flexibility and the fact that we could add other areas such as succession planning when we were ready. We knew going in that we didn't have to re-engineer our process, we were only streamlining and automating it so we were better able to focus our energies."

With a hosted solution, St. Mary's was able to get the solution they wanted, without burdening IT. "We knew going in this would be HR's deal, so it was critical that we felt we could totally own the solution, create all the forms and administer it," said Vickie Dunford, Compensation Coordinator, St. Mary's Medical Center.

Benefits

With the new system, St. Mary's has been able to ease the administrative burden of dealing with appraisals and compensation for more than 2400 employees. More importantly, the HR team is able to truly support the organization's strategic objectives and long-term vision.

Since rolling out the new system, response from both managers and employees has been overwhelmingly positive. The solution's ease of use and ability to quickly assess information has been rated highly by employees. Managers now have the flexibility of being able to complete or execute employee reviews regardless of their location, an ability that was not available to the organization when they were using the previous system.

For HR, they no longer have to deal with the burdens of administering the paper-based performance management process. "We have far fewer phone calls from employees and managers asking where things are in the process. Equally important, we are saving lots of time as we aren't tracking or logging appraisals or redoing things we've already done," explained Dunford.

By automating the overall process, the HR team now has real-time and ad hoc reporting that allows it to identify trends and issues that it needs to address. "After our last appraisal process, I was able to report on all of our negative comments, which would have required a lot of data entry with our old process. Employee satisfaction is a key priority for us, so ensuring that managers are addressing these comments and ensuring nothing falls through the cracks adds real value," said Weaver.

The clear, strong link between appraisals and compensation has been a real plus for Weaver and his team. "Our new system truly supports pay for performance, and does it all in real-time. This in combination with powerful features such as employee performance journals that tie individual achievement to our objectives enables us to measure and manage our progress in meeting overall strategic objectives," outlined Weaver.

Rolling out Halogen TalentSpace has enabled St. Mary's Medical Center to gain a whole new level of insight, and position both HR and the organization overall for future success. "This is really a first step for us, and definitely reinforces our brand as an employer of choice," said Weaver. "In the longer term, we'll be able to see how this links to our retention and recruitment strategies, which is a whole new level of strategic insight we just didn't have previously."