An outside perspective.
Doctors and nurses are our final insurance policy. They pay the price for a smoothly functioning healthcare system each and every day. HR’s job is to look after these high-stress employees. We take a look at how well this is working and where action can be taken.
Homes and hospitals: ‘home’ comes from the Germanic and originally meant ‘place where one settles’. ‘Hospital’ comes from the word ‘hospitalis’, originally referring to hospitality. Even today, healthcare facilities are still doing justice to these names. If I’m really unwell, I know that I can get help. No ifs and buts. No matter if I smell, no matter if I’m highly contagious. I can rely on hospital staff. I don’t care about football players, I’m a fan of doctors and nurses. This almost unconditional focus on the patient comes with a price though. And this price is often paid by hospital staff. They are exposed to infectious diseases, they work in environments that make scale effects incredibly difficult to achieve, they are subject to extreme mental strain and they tackle very particular and long working shifts. But there is one area in each home and every hospital that is tasked with taking care of these harried workers: HR. No ifs or buts here either. But there is the question of how well this HR department does its job and whether its customers are treated with the same level of hospitality. Over recent years, we have investigated a number of companies regarding the quality of their HR processes. Over the last year alone, we have taken a detailed look at HR as a whole in ten hospitals through HR team self-evaluation.
In HR, we can differentiate between processes that add value and those that don’t. For example, the payroll process adds little value. Any such process can be described as a hygiene factor: if it always runs smoothly, everyone is happy. Nobody says, ‘bravo, thanks for paying me on time’. It’s a given, and the law gives you no other choice but to carry out this process correctly. These processes that add little value are generally very administrative in nature. Talent processes, on the other hand, can generate a lot of value when done well. When choosing new staff, you can shape what kind of company you are. With target setting processes, you are dictating the company’s focus and can motivate or demotivate employees. Good employee development promotes long-term employee loyalty.
HR can contribute to a hospital being top of the leader board, or not. Staggeringly, the majority of hospitals today focus very keenly on administrative tasks. On average, the HR teams admitted that they spend 60% of their focus on administrative tasks. This is also reflected in the level of digitisation: lots of time had already been invested in the digitisation of payroll administration and recording staff hours. And in areas such as organisational and master data management. So in solutions predominantly used by HR. Solutions for self services for staff, such as onboarding and offboarding, HR portals or travel and expense management solutions were much less widespread. When it comes to talent management (applicant management, target setting processes etc.), the situation is mixed. It’s difficult to say exactly what the cause is here. Pointing the finger at HR would be to simplify the matter. Hospital HR departments work in an environment where it is difficult to establish employee-centred digital processes and self services. Possible hypotheses:
If you manage to establish ‘good’ HR in hospitals and healthcare facilities, you can really contribute major value. In a study of 283 Canadian retirement homes almost 20 years ago, it was shown that institutions with a strong level of participation and strong employee support had a higher level of patient satisfaction. Various studies have shown that good recruitment and staffing contribute to achieving better outcomes in patients (e.g. lower mortality). What’s more, better wellbeing can lead to less fluctuation. What is considered good HR does not always have to be identical. But some guiding principles can help achieve quite a lot:
Published: 29. March 2021