How Temple Health turns employees into leaders

Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse highlights that while a disengaged workforce may lead to issues in any industry, the consequences are even greater in healthcare.

Mr. Kruse writes that one healthcare institution that maintains a robust leader-development program is Philadelphia-based Temple Health, which employs roughly 10,000 people and conducts approximately 38,000 admissions per year.

The key to the health system's success in creating strong leaders throughout the organization is two-fold, according to Allyson Saccomandi, director of leadership and organizational development.

The first approach involved incorporating an ongoing process to survey employees across the system to gain feedback on the health system's initiatives. The second approach was to focus on employee development, focusing on employees who have the potential for managerial roles and allowing them to develop the skills necessary to make them knowledgeable, helpful supervisors.

Part of Temple Health's strategy relies on the use of metrics, which the organization openly embraces, Ms. Saccomandi said.

"It's really interesting because a lot us who work in the learning field will say it's difficult to calculate our return on investment for training and development dollars. So, a lot of us track things the number of classes, the number of attendees, cost per participant; and those numbers are important. I'm not saying they aren't. We track those as well. But, results are what matters and interestingly we track all types of data and we've seen a lot of positive changes in some interesting areas," she said.

Ms. Saccomandi said that since the system implemented the two-pronged strategy, employee engagement systemwide has increased from the 64th to the 73rd percentile and its turnover rate fell to roughly 7.8 percent. Turnover at larger health systems is typically 18 percent or more, according to Mr. Kruse.

Ms. Saccomandi also noted that during the last four years the program has been in place, Temple Health has reduced the number of employee- and labor-relations complaints it receives.

"We've seen over the last four years a 50 percent reduction in the amount of disciplines that are handed out across our organization. In real numbers, we have been able to reduce hundreds of employee- and labor-relations complaints. And if you're a person in an HR organization that has to deal with disciplines or employee relations, you know that that is a time-consuming activity. And then on the opposite side of that, the number of complaints that employees have about our managers, that's been reduced by 20 percent as well," she said.

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