‘We want to be perfect’
SOMC works to keep employee-satisfaction rate above 90%
Southern Ohio Medical Center monitors more than 185 indicators to track its performance on five strategic values—quality, safety, financial sustainability, patients’ perception of care and employee relationships—and it appears headed in the right direction. In fiscal 2014, the hospital posted perfect scores on 88% of those indicators.
“You can’t deliver those results unless you have a workforce of people who help each other,” said Vicki Noel, SOMC’s vice president of human resources.
Located in Portsmouth, Ohio, SOMC is No. 2 on the ranking of large providers/insurers in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare for 2014, those with more than 1,000 employees. The hospital is No. 13 in the provider/insurer category and No. 33 on the overall ranking. It’s the fifth time the hospital has earned a place on the list.
The No. 1 employer in the large provider/insurer category, University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, is profiled in the main story (p. 4).
Teresa Bryan, SOMC’s director of social work, utilization review-case management, pastoral care and patient relations, serves as employee relationships co-chair for the hospital. She and co-chair Ken Applegate, director of human resources, use a dashboard to monitor dozens of data points related to employee engagement, satisfaction and well-being. These include scores from employee satisfaction surveys conducted by an outside vendor; the hospital’s voluntary retention rate; the percentage of employees enrolled in SOMC’s wellness program; and several indicators of physician satisfaction.
Traditionally, SOMC’s goal for each indicator was to score in the 90th percentile or higher, but in recent years, the goal was switched to 100% perfection.
“If it’s your mom who is in the hospital, you expect us to be perfect, and we want to be perfect,” Bryan said.
As of last month, SOMC was sitting at 93.4% perfection for relationships, a rolled-up score for all measures in the category. “For employee satisfaction, we are at 99th percentile
all the way down the list,” she said.
Noel credits that high satisfaction rate to two practices: manager accountability to employees and the net organizational contribution process.
If any department or work group gets an employee satisfaction score below the 90th percentile, the director or manager must conduct focus groups with all employees to find out what needs to improve, then follow up with the employees—and Noel, vice president of human resources—every quarter until the satisfaction score cracks the 90th percentile benchmark. In situations where employee satisfaction is below the 50th percentile, the director or manager is coached closely by Bryan and Applegate to implement a turnaround plan and must meet monthly with the “Relationships <50th Club” until problems are resolved.
“The only way to have perfection is if every single employee is able to work in a great place,” Bryan said.
Through the net organizational contribution process, all directors and managers complete an annual assessment of their employees to identify any who qualify as “net negative,” meaning their colleagues would rather work shorthanded than suffer that person’s passive-aggressive behavior, refusal to follow rules, or other negative work behaviors. Any employee who is identified as “net negative” is notified about the behaviors that must change and meet monthly with his or her manager to monitor improvement.
Unlike many healthcare leaders who describe their employees as “family,” Noel prefers the concept of a “team.” If a player is not performing to SOMC’s standards, he or she must be respectfully escorted off the field.
“We care about one another as family, but when you think of a family, everyone stays no matter what because they are family,” Noel said. “You can’t run a high-performing organization with only the family view. We have to have the best team.”
To raise the visibility of healthy heart awareness, Southern Ohio Medical Center employees sport red as part of National Wear Red Day. SOMC and its employees “Go Red” every February.
Staff members of SOMC Pediatric Associates visit with Wellington the Wellness Hound during the office’s summer open house. During the event, community members and employees toured the new space and met with physicians.