Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm Listening - Did You Say Something?

As someone originally from the east coast, my family was never short on words. We all understood the "Art of Talking." When one of my siblings went off to college, I think my parents were shocked to find how much I actually talked! Well, not literally, but clearly I was allocated a larger voice with fewer people in the house.

Being a strong listener is something I have always strived for through my career and it was something which was identified as an improvement opportunity for our leadership tam through our recent Associate Engagement surveys. To add to it, many of us have cell phones which provide constant entertainment, news, assistance in our daily lives, calendars, social networking, etc. which bring us closer to larger groups of people or people not in the area. On the flip side, it puts distance between us and the person(s) right in front of us.

With all the challenges hospitals and healthcare organizations face every day, it is no easy task advancing an organization. Without a doubt, it truly takes a village to manage a hospital...and better listening.

I read an interesting article and pulled some key excerpts below:

Learning The Art Of Listening
Steven Berglas, Ph.D., 07.09.09

You're tuning out and you don't even know it. Slow down and open your ears.

Seasoned management consultant Harry Levinson wrote a book called Ready, Fire, Aim: Avoiding Management By Impulse. Its core message: Only after considering a series of options--and not just the ones apparent in the heat of the moment--can you hope to make consistently decent decisions. In short, it's about the importance of listening.

The fact is, getting people to listen--really listen--is hard. And given how busy entrepreneurs are, it's easy to see why they most of all might fall prey to "selective" listening. Unexpected thoughts or approaches vying for purchase in an already crowded cranium can come off like a bunch of hot air. Result: Entrepreneurs flicker in and out of conversations, often missing the good stuff.

St. Joseph Medical Center and our sister hospital St. Mary's Medical Center were really struggling with their recruitment efforts. Out managers and staff were all very frustrated with the Carondelet Recruitment Center (CRC), our recruitment team and the executive team for allowing these struggles to continue. We listened to our managers and changes were made. I'm happy to say our most recent Recruitment Scorecard reflected improvement in Manager Satisfaction, retention rate, overall time to fill and RN time to fill. It was a true collaborative effort with our CRC, managers, executive team and candidates. We listened to each other and results were delivered:

- Our manager satisfaction rate is 97% over a target of 80%. It has improved from 47% in March 2007.

- Our 90-day retention rate is 93.5%, an increase over a baseline of 70% in 2007 and an already ambitious target of 90%.

- Our overall time to fill and RN time to fill are around 50% faster than the goal of 54 and 66 days, respectively. On average, we are filling our open positions in less than 30 days.

Active listening certainly does make an organization stronger. I look forward to hearing from you.

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