The Healthcare Experience

Daily perspectives of a healthcare executive in pursuit of patient safety, the premier healthcare experience, an engaged & healthy workforce and life balance.

Only 5-Star Applicants Need Apply

Only Five-Star Applicants Need ApplyIn a recent post, I shared our health system’s four strategic priorities and how each facility and every department cascades these priorities to their respective areas and to every individual working in them.

Every week during orientation, I remind new and returning employees about 5 key things that are key to ensuring they could help us run our health system every day:

  1. Know your own “purpose” and “why’ you chose to take this job. Was it because you had a calling to be a caregiver, because you get to impact the lives of others, because you could provide a livelihood for your family. Whatever the reason, everyone is excited when they receive the offer and yet sometimes these same employees forget why they were excited, their they forget their purpose and they start to negatively impact their colleagues, patients and families we serve.
  2. Ensure you align with our mission, vision and values.
  3. Learn our goals.
  4. Understand how your role contributes to helping our health system achieve its achieve goals.
  5. Learn how you help the organization improve every single day on every shift.

We count on our leaders to select for the “right fit”. After all, we have a community of nearly 20,000 employees, physicians and volunteers serving our patients, families and community.

In the 2/28 blog, “Industry Voices—The power of rounding to engage staff in your organization’s strategic priorities”, my co-author, Matt Walker shared how his Director was excellent at selecting the right individuals.

Kristi Cottrill, Lee Health - Healthpark Medical Center’s Director of Housekeeping and Transport Services shared the following about “hiring the right people”:

As we continue our journey toward excellence, finding and hiring the right people is crucial to our success. Without 5-Star employees, we cannot be a 5-Star organization. Interviewing and selecting the right talent is one of the most important jobs a department leader can do for the team. For large departments, the commitment is huge and the results are well worth the undertaking.

Who knows more about what you’re looking for than you?

My team recognizes that our responsibility goes beyond finding the right people to transport our patients. Many staff members use this entry level position as a stepping stone to other healthcare careers. With that in mind, we utilize the interview process to select those individuals we believe will become outstanding healthcare professionals for the larger team. It is a two-way street. What we are looking for and what the applicant wants as well.

  1. It begins with the all-important first impression.
    Is the applicant neatly groomed? We don’t expect formal attire, as not everyone has the means to dress professionally. We do expect the applicant to be clean and neatly groomed.
    A warm, outgoing personality and an ever-present smile rank very high on our list of priorities. We try to look beyond the expected nervousness that goes along with an interview to determine if they possess the verbal communication skills that will “wow” our patients. Do they fit the image of a 5-star professional?

  2. Short and long-term goals are discussed to help us determine if the applicant is focused on his/her future. Are they ambitious? College students studying health professions have an advantage, as we recognize our organization’s need for great nurses, Physician Assistants, Emergency Medical Technicians, etc. Additionally, it gives us an idea of how the applicant’s educational commitments will impact our department. If the applicant receives a job offer, we make every effort to assign a shift that will keep school related scheduling adjustments to a minimum.

  3. While reviewing the work history, we focus on job stability. An unstable work history is an indication of “job hopping” and requires explanation. We want reasons why the applicant moved around so much. We also want to know what their past employers have to say about them. We check references!

  4. Teamwork. In our department, the ability to work well on a team is important, as transporters often help each other with more difficult transports, and assist other departments during periods of lower activity. Often a team member will be routinely assigned to a high-volume area such as the Emergency Department. They become as much a part of that team, as they are a part of our team. For these reasons, we ask the applicant to share work and/or school examples of team projects, specifically, what they liked about working on the team and what challenged them.

  5. Applicants are encouraged to share their customer service experiences; their greatest success stories and the ones they wish they could do over. They are asked to provide examples of how they handled certain situations such as: their most challenging customer, a time they disagreed with a policy, an example of when they went above and beyond, etc. This helps us evaluate their interpersonal skills and by their responses, we can determine if they are genuine and open in their communication. We listen intently as we evaluate their fitness for our team. Then, the applicant has an opportunity to convince us that extending a job offer would be the right decision for us, and for our patients.

  6. The focus of the interview will then shift to what we have to offer.
    We build their excitement by sharing the great opportunities available for top performers within our health system, including tuition assistance and growth/advancement.
    We boldly declare that we are the best employer in the county and we are interested in hiring only the very best people. We paint a very clear picture of what that looks like such as; our very high standards for patient safety, dependability, compassionate behavior, and teamwork.
    Our team is especially proud of our commitment to “Patient Experience” and the opportunity we have not only to be one of the first people a patient sees, but also the last, as they are wheeled out upon discharge. We pride ourselves in providing both a great beginning and a warm, friendly end to their stay with us. While here, we strive to treat them like our most favorite relative.

  7. While sharing what we’re passionate about, we watch their non-verbal communication to gage whether or not a fire has been ignited inside them.

The ultimate goal is to “hire tough,” so that leading the team will be easy.

Selecting the right candidates is only part of what makes a winning team. Setting the bar high and holding them accountable for the promises they made during the interview are key to the ongoing success of both the employee and Lee Health.

Be well. Stay inspired.


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