Does your new hire have the right stuff? How their personality has a long-term impact on your organization’s bottom line.

Hiring for Improved Patient Experience_lores.jpg

by Rand O'Leary

In healthcare, how often have you heard this, he/she is a great clinician, but has no personality.  Or, take me to hospital A, but if I’m really sick take me to hospital B, this assumes hospital A is the “Nice” hospital but Hospital B is where all the best clinicians work.  So, the obvious question is, can’t you have both?  Yes, if you select the right people. 

In Jim Collins book, “From Good to Great”, he writes, “People are your most important asset,” or rather the right people are. In today’s healthcare market many organizations are making the move from Volume to Value, with Quality being a primary focus, but how do our patients define quality? Sure, having the best possible outcome is right up there, with no medical mistakes or errors please.  However, most patients come to our organizations assuming great quality, and value the interaction with their caregivers as high if not higher than any other part of the patient/caregiver interaction.

  • So how do you pick the right people, those caregivers with superior clinical skills and the ability to relate to people? It starts with the hiring process:

  • A successful hire should be the last step in a very detailed process.  Consider using personality profiles to uncover the true personality characteristics of the applicant.  Are they friendly? Do they demonstrate a true enthusiasm and passion for the work of a healthcare provider?

  • Be clear and set performance standards for all new hires.  The first 90 days of a new employee is incredibly important.  This is a time for you to get to know them and more importantly to discuss your expectations, goals and correct any performance issues before they become ingrained behaviors.

  • It’s not enough to say we want our patients to have a great experience, you must be clear on what this looks like.  This is where training on customer service skills, expectations, role modeling and yes, scripting is extremely valuable.  Clinicians go through rigorous training to learn the skills that their license demands, customer service skills should be no different.

  • And lastly, speak with your patients, ask probing questions regarding their care and experience, use this information to provide some on the spot coaching and praise as necessary.

It comes down to selecting the right people. As an industry we tend to select people on their clinical skills instead of their people skills. While clinical is important and relevant, we need both to provide the best care. Patients need to leave our facilities with the overall FEELING that they were not only treated to the best of our abilities medically, but we also met their emotional needs as well. That’s a win/win.