How Tenet Is Using Predictive Analytics to Improve Employee Retention


Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare had a nurse retention problem. In some locations, more than 80 percent of nurses left within the first year, and a growing number were leaving before the 90-day mark.

Assessments of the hospitals that were experiencing the highest turnover revealed many retention issues weren't "a problem of us sourcing the best talent, but finding the right talent for the culture and environment," says Dina Dunn, Tenet's vice president of human resources. The nurses that were leaving after a year or less had the clinical expertise to be successful but were just not a good fit either behaviorally or culturally.

To help hire nurses whose personalities and workplace expectations would be the best fit for each Tenet hospital, the organization turned to predictive analytics. Tenet placed a behavioral and personality assessment from PeopleAnswers directly into the job application process, and candidates that meet basic qualifications are directed to fill in the assessment.

The questions in the assessment vary, from basic math to questions about how to work with others. The software then combines these answers into behavioral profiles for each candidate. "It tells you how people are wired, and how they are likely to respond," says Ms. Dunn.

To ensure new hires are the best possible fit for Tenet, the candidates' profiles are compared with profiles of existing nurses who have thrived in the position. "We have different challenges at different locations, so we went to our top performers and had them take the assessment for comparison," says Ms. Dunn. This allows Tenet to select new members whose assessments closely match those of their successful, long-term future coworkers.

The software also gives hiring managers "must-ask questions" to bring up during an interview with candidates based on any behavioral traits revealed in the assessment to give provide confidence the best fit is being offered a position. The assessments can also be used during the onboarding process after a hire is made, giving managers information that can be used to help ensure a smooth transition and job satisfaction.

In the 50 hospitals owned and operated by Tenet prior to its acquisition of Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanguard in October, use of data analytics in hiring decisions reduced first-year nurse attrition by 44 percent. The analytics program is being rolled out at the newly acquired hospitals, where Ms. Dunn expects to see similarly positive results.

The first focus of the analytics software was nursing, as 30 percent of Tenet's employed workforce is nurses, but the software is also being used for the system's other positions. After PeopleAnswers is deployed to the former Vanguard hospitals, Ms. Dunn's goal is to have every employee have an assessment in the system. "So if there's a happy employee somewhere who wants to move, we can take their assessment and compare it with the assessments at their new hospital," she says. "It will give us the insight to leverage our talent going forward."

For other hospitals looking to employ a similar data analytics program to improve employee retention, Ms. Dunn advises remembering a successful program requires more than technology. Hiring managers need to be trained to use the software correctly, as well as continue to engage with the candidates on a personal level. "[The technology] definitely helps, but you can't forget the people side of things," she says.

More Articles on Predictive Analytics:

Healthcare Analytics: A Key to Accountable Care Organizations
Carilion Clinic Using "Watson" Technology to Identify At-Risk Patients
The Power of Big Data as an Enabler in Healthcare


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