Executive MBA - Healthcare Leadership

Creating a Successful National Recruitment and Retention Strategy

CHALLENGE: For any size organization, employee engagement is an enormous piece of the retention puzzle. Research shows that establishing the employee-company connection—by making people feel valued and part of the big picture—early in an employee’s tenure is vital to employment longevity. At Pathways by Molina, one of the nation’s largest providers of accessible, outcome-based behavioral and mental health services, recruitment historically has been a struggle. Over the last decade, Pathways has acquired 18 companies/programs with little infrastructure changes, resulting in siloed—and minimally successful—recruitment efforts. So, when Pathways started designing its first-ever National Strategic Plan, recruitment and retention were identified as two areas in dire need of strategic direction.

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Creating a Successful National Recruitment and Retention Strategy

CHALLENGE: For any size organization, employee engagement is an enormous piece of the retention puzzle. Research shows that establishing the employee-company connection—by making people feel valued and part of the big picture—early in an employee’s tenure is vital to employment longevity. At Pathways by Molina, one of the nation’s largest providers of accessible, outcome-based behavioral and mental health services, recruitment historically has been a struggle. Over the last decade, Pathways has acquired 18 companies/programs with little infrastructure changes, resulting in siloed—and minimally successful—recruitment efforts. So, when Pathways started designing its first-ever National Strategic Plan, recruitment and retention were identified as two areas in dire need of strategic direction.

PROJECT: Denise Carpenter, Vice President, Human Resources (HR) and National HR Leader for Pathways by Molina, was hired by the company in 2015 to design and implement a Human Resources National Structure, including a National Recruitment Structure. Later that same year, Molina Healthcare acquired Pathways, a move that initially appeared to include much-needed HR tools, such as a state-of-the-art applicant tracking system and staff to manage the Pathways recruitment function. The promised help never panned out, so Carpenter embarked on a project—which, became her OAP—to create and implement a recruitment infrastructure for Pathways.

PROCESS: In late 2016, Carpenter submitted a proposal to Pathways Leadership for creating a full recruitment team consisting of one director, six corporate recruiters, three recruitment specialists, and one social media recruitment coordinator. The total investment (salary, benefits, taxes, office, and technology training) totaled close to $900,000.

Carpenter’s proposal was approved and implementation began in 2017. Three temporary Pathways HR employees (a recruiter and two recruitment specialists) became permanent hires. In April, Pathways hired its first-ever director of recruitment. The temporary lead recruiter who had been performing the director functions moved into a HR director role within the company. Additional new hires included strategic and experienced recruiters focused on the now (short term) and the future (long term).

In assembling Pathways’ top-notch recruitment team, Carpenter and her team specifically looked for people who understood the importance of:

  • environmental scans, or internal and external information gathering, to help management determine the future direction of the organization
  • deliverables
  • urgency
  • a compelling value proposition articulating why would someone would want to come to work for Pathways
  • social media messaging
  • reaching various audiences, such as millennials
  • creating metrics aligned with recruitment efforts, such as using data to identify problem areas and areas of opportunity.

Once Pathways’ top-notch recruitment team was in place, the next step was implementing a new Recruitment Strategy to help address the company’s urgent need to fill hundreds of revenue-generating positions. As of 2017, Pathways was leaving, at a minimum, $36 million on the table because of unfilled revenue generating positions. The company makes most its revenue through its licensed staff for services rendered to Medicaid participants.

The new Recruitment Strategy for Pathways is designed to identify and cultivate sources of talent acquisition with which to sustain Pathways’ growth in alignment with business operations’ goals. For example, among the new processes added is a job requisition form designed to ensure recruitment efforts mirror operational needs.

Creating the strategy began with an assessment of recruitment focused on three areas of opportunity:

  • Building a Robust Pool of Candidates
  • Retuning the Recruitment Engine
  • Targeted Recruitment.

Another key component of Carpenter’s OAP was identifying the first of several retention strategies. The multi-pronged approach (designed to address differing priorities for individual states within the Pathways’ system) includes:

  • a national, structured onboarding program
  • a 60-day survey for new hires
  • a new performance management tool and process to help ensure performance evaluations are conducted in a timely manner across the organization
  • Total Compensation Statements for employees detailing the full scope of the rewards’ package offered by Pathways
  • defined career paths and related training to nurture and develop a homegrown talent pool
  • an Employee Recognition and Appreciation Program.

RESULTS: “We still have a long way to go but we have made some great strides,” says Carpenter, noting that some components of the recruitment-retention strategy are in the initial rollout stages or have yet to be implemented. “Staffing remains problematic, but based on our data, we have exceeded our revenue related recruitment efforts for 2017. The revenue tied to recruitment efforts helps justify return on investment for the new recruitment infrastructure. The investment in this effort demonstrates that Pathways understands that we can no longer ignore our subpar recruitment and retention efforts in an evolving industry.”

One of the biggest immediate rewards of Carpenter’s OAP was the formation of the new Recruitment Team, whose members bring the strategy, expertise, and innovation previously lacking in Pathways’ recruitment and retention efforts.

Adds Carpenter, “The team is complemented by our operations partners who bring the local, regional, and state knowledge, relationships and networking opportunities; their own innovative spirit; and an understanding of the environment. We work together to drive recruitment…to find the right people with the right talents and skills to be productive and engaged employees. We’re doing things differently, and we are seeing a ROI just off the revenue numbers we are creating because of a structured and collaborative recruitment effort.”


Implementing a Remote-Order-Entry Pharmacy Service

The senior vice president of pharmacy for a hospital system with more than 42,000 employees and 100 hospitals worked with Randy Bradley, assistant professor of information systems and supply chain management at Haslam, to propose a proof-of-concept program for implementing a remote-order-entry pharmacy service for after-hours order review in 10 hospitals.

Although the proposal emphasized pharmacy job satisfaction, its ultimate significance was in the improvement of patient care and safety. The fiscal goal of the proposal was to break even on cost through savings generated by reduced pharmacist and nurse turnover. Initial conservative estimates showed these savings covered 43% - 88% of the service cost. 

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Implementing a Remote-Order-Entry Pharmacy Service

The senior vice president of pharmacy for a hospital system with more than 42,000 employees and 100 hospitals worked with Randy Bradley, assistant professor of information systems and supply chain management at Haslam, to propose a proof-of-concept program for implementing a remote-order-entry pharmacy service for after-hours order review in 10 hospitals.

Although the proposal emphasized pharmacy job satisfaction, its ultimate significance was in the improvement of patient care and safety. The fiscal goal of the proposal was to break even on cost through savings generated by reduced pharmacist and nurse turnover. Initial conservative estimates showed these savings covered 43% - 88% of the service cost. 

Through data tracking, the proposal was able to show a break-even program and patient care was advanced at the same time.


Growing a Toxicology Laboratory into a Marketplace Force

The vice president of business operations for a forensic toxicology laboratory with 30 employees in Nashville sought to grow her company into a competitive marketplace force.

The lab, which specializes in sports organizations, medical examiners, crime labs, physicians and pain management clinics, was struggling financially at the time. Its leadership team was very serious about return on investment – requiring at least $10 for every dollar invested into its VP’s Executive MBA program. That return on education investment ultimately capped out at more than $2,000 per dollar spent, and the business now boasts approximately 280 people.

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Growing a Toxicology Laboratory into a Marketplace Force

The vice president of business operations for a forensic toxicology laboratory with 30 employees in Nashville sought to grow her company into a competitive marketplace force.

The lab, which specializes in sports organizations, medical examiners, crime labs, physicians and pain management clinics, was struggling financially at the time. Its leadership team was very serious about return on investment – requiring at least $10 for every dollar invested into its VP’s Executive MBA program. That return on education investment ultimately capped out at more than $2,000 per dollar spent, and the business now boasts approximately 280 people.

The key to this success was the Organizational Action Project component of the Haslam Executive MBA. In this case, the VP was guided through the production of the company’s first real business plan. What followed was a new management approach, business structure and marketing strategy that opened up opportunities for growth.


Assessing Mid-Level Mangers’ Performance and Activities

The vice president of operations for one of the nation’s largest providers of behavioral and mental health services used the Organizational Action Project component of his Haslam Executive MBA - Healthcare Leadership to assess the activities and performance of mid-level managers. He helped them improve performance by analyzing health data gathered through Fitbit monitors and comparing it with data on budget expectations, revenue and net income.

The VP described his experience at Haslam as an opportunity to grow as an individual and immediately add value back to his company.

 

Assessing Mid-Level Mangers’ Performance and Activities

The vice president of operations for one of the nation’s largest providers of behavioral and mental health services used the Organizational Action Project component of his Haslam Executive MBA - Healthcare Leadership to assess the activities and performance of mid-level managers. He helped them improve performance by analyzing health data gathered through Fitbit monitors and comparing it with data on budget expectations, revenue and net income.

The VP described his experience at Haslam as an opportunity to grow as an individual and immediately add value back to his company.

 


Developing an Electronic Reporting Tool

A hospital administrator examined strategies to increase overall patient analysis and throughput efficiency by improving communication and data collection.

The project recognized that, despite the shifting terrain of healthcare policy, two of the most basic avenues for patients to visit a hospital are still through the emergency room and hospital based clinics.

An electronic reporting tool was developed at the corporate level to automatically scan and check all ER related patient accounts. The tool compared the hospital and corporate clinical management databases to ensure a patient’s account reflected all procedures that had taken place.

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Developing an Electronic Reporting Tool

A hospital administrator examined strategies to increase overall patient analysis and throughput efficiency by improving communication and data collection.

The project recognized that, despite the shifting terrain of healthcare policy, two of the most basic avenues for patients to visit a hospital are still through the emergency room and hospital based clinics.

An electronic reporting tool was developed at the corporate level to automatically scan and check all ER related patient accounts. The tool compared the hospital and corporate clinical management databases to ensure a patient’s account reflected all procedures that had taken place.

Enhancing the patient procedure identification process and improving communications yielded critical insight into previously overlooked areas of the hospital’s administration and clinical analysis practices. It encouraged the hospital’s Emergency Department Directors to test several new tactics in the ER, as well as enhancing capabilities to monitor their impact.


Microbial Monitoring at a Pediatric Oncology Facility

The president and director of a laboratory for analyzing mold, bacteria, and coliforms worked with Don Lighter, professor in the Physicians Executive MBA program, to conduct a pilot study to determine the reduction in healthcare-associated infections through continuous microbial monitoring of critical care facilities.

The pilot study was conducted in the new pediatric oncology facility of a hospital system in Ohio. It enabled the laboratory director to pursue his vision of entering the new markets of DNA- and data-driven biotechnology.


Building a Cloud-Based IT Analytics Tool

The senior partner of a consulting firm that implements comprehensive cancer care programs nationwide worked with Randy Bradley, assistant professor of information systems and supply chain management at Haslam, to build and beta test a cloud-based IT analytics tool with its consulting staff and client sites.

The project was characterized as both an external client-facing project as well as an internal corporate process improvement and efficiency project. The consultants expanded their service footprint and generated sales enthusiasm for their clients.