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Solina relies on the employee experience

An approach in the fight for talent

Solina relies on the employee experience

Businesses in the health sector are being especially hard hit with staffing shortages and high exit rates. There are many formulas for stronger employee retention and new recruitment, but providing run-of-the-mill perks won't do. The Solina Foundation is fully committed to the "employee experience" formula and, together with its employees, has developed an undertaking made tangible through concrete measures.

From Michael Frühauf / Heime & Spitäler

Jana, running a bit late, arrives for an evening supper with her friends. She brings with her the experiences of her first week of work at her new employer. She works in the tech industry, developing tools that are supposed to make our lives easier. Jana's friends are interested in what she has to say. In their minds, the slide at the entrance, the employee gym, and the free vegan snacks make it sound like the perfect workplace. Leon, however, remains sceptical. "That's all well and good," he says. He was also charmed at the beginning by the clever perks offered by his company. He still likes those things, but doesn't consider them as marks of a good employer.

Personnel shortage as driver

What makes a good employer? That's a question that's being floated more and more by the senior management of healthcare companies. By 2030, 65,000 more care workers will be needed to provide the people of Switzerland with quality healthcare. In autumn 2021, 61 per cent of the Swiss population voted "yes" on the Nursing Initiative, clearly showing that action is required and viewing the lack of young nurses and the high exit rate as the recipe for a ticking time bomb. The Federal Council must now draft a proposal for executing the initiative. For many institutions, however, this will take too long, as the nursing shortage is acute. Some healthcare employers are therefore trying to imitate the secret formula used by booming and attractive tech companies. In the healthcare sector, the fight for talent is being characterised by a clear copy-and-paste mentality. But slides and pinball machines are not enough. New ways to recruit healthcare professionals are needed.

The employee experience in focus

In the professional literature, the work experience is divided into three dimensions. A dominant focus is often placed on the cultural dimension, reflected in employee behaviour towards one another (for example feedback following a task completed together). Increasingly, however, the technological dimension also has an influence on employees and determines whether an employer is perceived as innovative (for example a completely digitalised and smoothly functioning application process). And let us not forget the third dimension, the physical work environment, which is a factor in whether employees feel comfortable in their workplace. Ask yourself: would you be proud to show your friends where you work? An investment in employees' cultural, technological and physical environment means a "YES" to a place where they enjoy working.

Solina relies on the employee experience

The Solina Foundation, one of the leading institutions in stationary long-term care in the canton of Bern, aims to shape the employee experience proactively in a new and authentic way. In recent years it has grappled intensely with the following question: "What unifies us at Solina and makes us unique?" And who could better describe the company DNA than its protagonists – the healthcare workers themselves? No sooner said than done – a diversified working group was created, with care professionals from different hierarchy levels. With the help of HR Campus, various methods were used to research the Solina work experience and the employees' wish for an attractive employer. Tools were used to aid the process, including Lego bricks and personal stories. It would be wrong and unrepresentative to draw conclusions about all employees on the basis of the collected results of individual opinions. For this reason the formulated theses, which illustrated what is unifying and unique about Solina, were validated and specified through a survey of additional care professionals within the company. Managers play a key role in the topic of work experience, and so the commitment of management was collected at the end. This process resulted in the definition of key moments on the employee journey (for example the first week at work or experiences with residents). These key moments will now be developed in a follow-up project. In addition, six promises were defined showing what employees may expect from Solina. One of Solina's promises is this:

Often, one of these defined promises forms the basis for the marketing team in order to recruit new talent on the careers page through the use of the employer brand. The creation of an employer brand alone is not enough, however, and we all know that there is no pay-off in empty promises. Even when a brand's value proposition may also be viewed as an ambition, the advertised value proposition should correspond to the reality.

For this reason, Solina decided to define at least three concrete implementation measures for each of the six promises. They are intended to be the basis for the later measurability of the work experience thanks to technological support. In the case of the promise of a "modern workplace", Solina has defined the following measures:

  • We provide a modern infrastructure, attractive meeting zones, comfortable changing rooms and spacious employee spaces along with opportunities for quiet work.
  • Individual requests can be included in the preparation of the action plans and are considered wherever possible.
  • We offer the possibility of part-time work or changes to the workload, naturally in coordination with one's supervisor.

Leaving the responsibility of positive work experiences with HR alone would be too simple and promises little success. Management and managers – but also employees themselves – must be involved in the design and implementation process from the beginning.

Measurability thanks to technological support

In a subsequent step, Solina will examine, together with HR Campus and a technology company, how these work experience promises and Solina employees' experiences of key moments can be digitally measured and mapped. An example of the sustainable implementation of promises: The work experience is continuously visualised by means of pulse surveys. This form of anonymous, digital collection helps to gather honest feedback. The results are made available to managers digitally in the form of a cockpit or dashboard. The results are discussed in existing functions, for example team meetings, and measures for improvement are found – all according to the motto, "Listen, understand and act".

Published: 19. May 2022

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