Business and IT world is changing rapidly and so are your organization’s workforce capability needs. Are your current training and employee development programs helping workers stay relevant and measurably improve their performance?
Michael A. Garcia, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Jackson Health System
Shawn Evans, PhD, Vice President of Performance Excellence, UCHealth
Sanjog Aul: Today’s topic is Driving Employee Relevance and Perfomance. And our guests for what todays show Michael Garcia who is the Vice President and Chief Information Officer with Jackson Health System.
Hello Michael, how are you?
Michael: Hi, how are you Sanjog? Going great.
Sanjog: Great. Very good. Thank you so much. And we have Shawn Evans who is the Vice President of Performance Excellence at UCHealth. Hey Shawn, how are you doing?
Shawn: I am well good morning. Good morning Michael, how are you?
Michael: Good Shawn, how are you?
Sanjog: Great. We are here to talk about the workforce capability needs that we may be trying to fill in terms of whatever changes are coming in business and technology. Now what we also see is that the same time, are we really able to keep the people who we have today, not just hire new people or letting go off people who are no longer being able to connect to what’s going on. How are we making sure that the training and employee development programs that we may have put in there are really helping them stay relevant and form at the optimum level? So this is not an HR angle that we are taking, it is more to say, what do you do every day? Not just doing a formal training but what do you do every day as part of what they do, go about creating value, is where we will go a little deeper.
That said, Shawn first I would like to ask you, how do you rate the overall employee development, that may be happening today as compared to the speed of business change?
Shawn: Yeah, it’s a great question. Probably framed our discussion for the next hour or so I think, part of that depends on the industry but for the majority of us in the industries that we are in, whether it’s health care or whatever. I think most people would say that our employee development cycle and rate is falling behind, kind of the rate of business change. And so even that being said, and I would agree with that for overall. That being said, I’d like to go within our industry and our industries and see who’s doing this well. So those definitely are people who are who are figuring this out and really are dealing with a high rate of change but they’re also figuring out ways to accelerate their employee development and that’s really where my area of focuses.
Sanjog: So Shawn, while you mentioned that it is industry dependent, Michael, coming back to you, when you are having any organization in any industry for that matter, and everyone is facing the change of one form or the other, they still have to invest. It’s almost like a race. So are we racing well or we taking care that we move at a consistently fast speed? What’s
Michael: I agree totally with Shawn, in reference we’re falling behind. Why because, in most industry technology is driving, is enabling strategy but folks being able to adopt to really comprehend the technologist being torn at them, to be able to do their jobs more efficient, more effective is very, very difficult.
I always say that there’s two constant change and resistance to it so. Also we have to do it at a pace where each user has an opportunity to learn and grow at their own pace. And not everyone’s at the same starting point for on the race. You have folks that are very technology savvy and the folks that aren’t. So you need to make sure and not everyone also learns the same way. Here at Jackson, we’ve had to create different tiers to really understand and assess where everyone is at and be able to educate them at their piece, the way that they learn best to make sure at the end of the day from a technology perspective, they’re using the technology to meet our needs and our patient needs.
Sanjog: So Shawn, most organizations definitely have an intent to make sure the employees work well and that has got of course a business connection to it and generally being a good organization wants to do that. The approach in many organizations has been seen. I would not like to generalize here but it’s seen as organization in, that this is what organization wants from its people so that’s how we should groom them. Whereas looking at an employee out to see when the person is coming there, yes, they’re working for this organization but they are actually coming for their own success, their own satisfaction, their own smiles. How are we looking at that? Are we really looking from employee out or we’re only looking organization?
Shawn: It’s a great question. I think the organizations who are doing this well, are figuring out that balance and they’re figuring out that as an organization we’ve got strategic goals and we’ve got definite metrics that we need to hit. And there is a need for a certain type of employee or a certain type of person to fulfill a job need, but at the same time the organizations and the areas that are really knocking the stuff out of the park also realize there’s a little bit of a self-component for the employee as well. And they are really looking not only to have a meaningful employment and work for a meaningful organization and all that and make a difference but they’re also looking for an opportunity to develop their skills.
It’s really the synchronicity and the benefit for both happen when an organization is able to match both the need of the organization with that desire of the employee. And we’ve got a bunch of different processes that we try to put in place to hit that. The bad thing is, in the old way of thinking is, you don’t want to train somebody for the competition, you don’t want to develop somebody so that they can leave for the competition but the reality is that it’s going to happen whether we want to or not.
The weird thing is when we give somebody, an employee the training that they’re looking for and the developmental opportunities that they’re looking for, oddly enough they don’t leave because they found a place that fulfills an internal desire so we’re actually seeing reduction in turnover and some of our key people when we give them advance training and advance development. And at the same time it is meeting our business work objectives for sure.
Sanjog: So Michael when you look at any organization, of course the intent is that they would mean well for the employees. However, in some cases we may have had a business change and employees who had joined earlier, they have to somehow adjust to the change. Worse is, we on a regular basis, fundamentally looking that anyone knew that we bring which culture are we supposed to have them be benchmark against because culture may even be required to change because your needs, etc, are changing. Or we create a culture where the right people already automatically get attracted. And the ones who are not a fit, not because they’re bad people. But they are not a fit for the newer needs, then they automatically move on to something which is better for them. So you still meant well for people but you also at the same time took care of the organization.
So are we doing that? Are we working towards that?
Michael: Yes. There has to be a balance. Today, the mindset can’t be that, we’re going to approach from other organization, employees are going to come 100% the way we need them. Every organization does business process is a little different. So no matter what they’re going to have to learn those specific business processes in the organization they are coming into so. Just bringing someone from the outside is not the answer. You have to groom and continues to transform and change the culture within the organization.
Especially that employee that’s within the organization has, years of institutional knowledge that is key to also driving success. So you can’t just say, because we’re making this change, I need to go get somebody new. It’s really having, how do you communicate to– individuals from the top down and bottom up and put differently, for it to be relevant. Let’s say in a hospital at the unit level, for folks to really understand, what they need to do to be successful at their job. At Jackson, we put together a superuser program. At Jackson also, someone put in a superuser program together, the folks that are hoping in the transformation in the culture shift and dealing with change, acting as changing are the peers, are the ones that are able to- having to do the same job functionality as the folks that might be having the difficult time adopting to change.
Shawn: If I can add in, Michael nailed it. So what he’s referring to is kind of an intentional talent management strategy. And talent management used to be kind of this arty thing that people did. But there’s a real science behind that planning for a workforces future. I mean a real science just as much as there is in many other operations. And Michael gave a great example of part of that and organizations who really do this well, really have a good talent management, science and strategy behind them.
Sanjog: So Shawn coming back to you on, the earlier days when we were just making widgets, we needed specific skills, and we had a way to measure that, okay, if a person is making those widgets properly, of a reasonable quality, I guess we’ve done our job. Now we’re not making widgets, we want people to be able to perform– in order for them to be able to perform, we need them to innovate, we need them to do things which are out of the box which is not well trained. That’s a different type of competences and skills and mindset that they have to develop versus earlier. What is your shift in the way you are training people now? Are you still focusing on skills or you going beyond that?
Shawn: Oh no, we– it’s a cured approach for sure and this gets me excited but we do a little bit of – just a skill development as needed but it’s not applied in nearly the same way but are really the focus is and what we talk about is really this shift to– of types of thinking. And you can use a process improvement methodology whether use Lean Six Sigma but that’s a type of improvement thinking and there are different behaviors, and different styles that we look at. That’s what we train because we think that that type of thinking is going to be a thread regardless of where the people go.
And then the one thing that we talk about a lot is that, in the old days, you mentioned, we mentioned widgets and it was the same thing over and over and over. We made widgets now, and we don’t. And so we talk about– there have to be central standards and a central discipline if you will, that we’re not going to deviate from standards. But there is also an ability to locally control, adapt and adopt to the local environment and naturally the level of skill that we’re training now. And the people coming into our workforce that’s really what they’re aligning to and that’s what they’re appreciating.
Sanjog: So in IT, Michael, more than anyone else I’m sure you will recognize that we are supposed to do more with less or in some cases more with nothing, that means there will be requirement for the workers to not only just have the skills and competencies but also develop that resilience, while maintaining their creativity in order for them to continue otherwise everybody will buckle and you will not have anyone working there. What do you do towards building that?
Michael: Investing in the employees continuously giving them opportunities to learn. When it comes to vendors and bringing in technology, most of the time the end goal seems to be that go live. When you first put that application or that technology in first productive use. But that’s not really the end. That’s really the beginning for an organization. It it might be the end for that vendor that needs to go on their merry way, go on sign the contract, to do the next implementation but for the organizations all about sustainability. And the way you’re able to sustain is making sure that folks are using the technology the right way and that use also sustain the talent and the knowledge within your organization. That not only went through that implementation to have specific knowledge and skills, and understand the wise decisions were made to implement or configure the systems a certain way.
So making sure that you’re retaining your employees and investing in them to sustain those systems throughout times, throughout those changes, throughout those transformations.
Sanjog: So Shawn, with your expertise and experience and even the role that you’re playing today, are you expected to be a weatherman who can predict something, do something and see what happens or are you supposed to be an engineer who has very specific benchmarks and there is a measurable approach to employee performance and relevance. Which if he hit, that’s a great, if not, then there’s a problem.
Shawn: Yeah, a little bit of both. So, we definitely have the engineering aspect where there are definitely business needs. And I don’t think those are different. And we probably spend maybe 70% or 80% of our time on that. But then we’ve also done and any of the organizations I work with, is we actually promote a strategic and scenario planning for employee development. So we actually force ourselves to look three, four, five, up to ten years out and figuring out what are the development needs that these folks going to be in that timeline. And then we reverse engineer back to today in trying to develop the skills. And it’s a little bit of a slower process but you get a little bit of a weatherman approach with the predictive modeling five and ten years out. But at the same time as we get closer to today, now we can see what the weather is and then we can adjust. But that’s how we are adapting to and trying to meet the needs of both current and future employee development.
Sanjog: Let’s take a quick break. Listeners, we will be right back. And let’s come back with an intent to inventory the top issues that we may be facing when trying to deploy the employee development strategies or even in the first place try to understand where the gaps are compared to what organization wants to get done and wants to go the direction and where the employees are. Please stay tune listeners, we will be right back.
Sanjog: Welcome back. So let’s start with you Michael, if you were to take the top three issues or challenges that you think we are facing with respect to– even identifying what the changes we have to make in the way we are trying to drive performance and relevance, what are those in your view?
Michael: So, first one is obviously from a health care perspective regulatory business change is happening so fast. And when you look at the big players in the industry, whether it’s Cerner EHR or an EPIC EHR. These EHRs are not cookie cutter. So everyone’s configuring them in a different way. When you bring new resources, even if they came from another organization using the same one, the technology is not the same, you’re not using a checklist. It’s not the traditional way of taking care of patients, we reckon that anyone who came to a paper that it was basically a checklist. So the ever changing of business process, the ever changing of regulatory requirements, keeping up with the technology for the users is one of the biggest challenges. And then the second is, what type of education, how do you train these individuals to be successful.
So everything having to do from a classroom training, not everyone can just grab that classroom just in time training and apply it, whether it’s WebEx or some kind of Web training that they’re doing with WBT. So how they’re getting the information is key. And then really the organization explaining the 30s on the vice, so you get the buy and the employee really wants to engage and understand the need to be successful that what they’re doing today and their role how it affects other rules downstream.
Here at Jackson, that’s what we’re tackling, when it comes to the folks using the technology in a meaningful way, in a successful way and helping them and investing in them to make sure that they are able to do that.
Sanjog: So, Shawn when we look at how we are looking at these individuals in terms of where at to what level do we want to develop them, are we thinking as just a manager who wants to get the job done and as long as they learned those competency skills and even mindset that’s good or we’re thinking as a parent who is going to try to prepare these individuals for the road. Because even though they don’t stay here but they will eventually become good successful professionals, wherever they go eventually.
Shawn: [chuckles] It’s a great question. This is, I think where the conflict comes because in my world I want to think of them in terms of a parent but boy, the reality is and the challenge is, when we bring people into the organization, we bring them into a job that probably needed to be done yesterday or last week or last month so. The perfect world is we’re just not given the amount of time to do this long term cultivation that some of us would like and that some of us would be beneficial for sustainability. So definitely the challenge is how do you meet both needs, the manager who needs to get their job done and she’s got a deadline to meet and really struggling to get that job done. But at the same time making sure we give people an opportunity to be successful. And I think that is the challenge that we’re facing and I have seen good ways of doing that and I’ve seen ways that don’t work so well but that’s definitely the challenge.
Sanjog: So the fact that you mentioned this, Shawn, that it is a conflict, if this was seen as a conflict, do you think that would undermine the type of techniques you could have used because a child looks up to the parent when they are all about taking care of them and preparing them for the road. If you look at only for their own interests then you lose that mutual respect between organization and employee, is that not understood or it is perhaps, you cannot implement it properly?
Shawn: I think it’s both. I’m not sure if it’s not understood but I don’t think that it as overt as we would like to see it. So I think there’s some level of understanding but it just loses its intensity and the heat at the moment. When you back up a little bit and back out the deadlines on a day to day basis, we all talk about the need to develop our employees and to give them an opportunity to learn and grow. And that’s easy when we’re outside of the day to day work but it becomes a challenge. So I think that people recognize a conflict, they get it, nobody is wanting to just work somebody in the ground. And at the same time it’s very challenging in the day to day work.
Again, I’ll go back to my original comment and some stuff that Mike was saying, there are ways to do it and there are ways that work but it takes a shift. It really takes a shift and mindset from both managers and organizations to get there.
Sanjog: Michael, as the leader yourself and you report– use the direct reports. Would you rather have them be seen as parents or as hardnosed managers who want to get the job done?
Michael: Parents. Like Shawn says, it’s really a juggling act. It’s more of an art than a science. It takes a lot of people skills, lot of patience. Because you do have the deadlines that have to be met, goal life dates cannot be shifted. But at the same time, folks need to be respected. They need to feel appreciated, they need a pat on the back. So the parenting side, and then how do you explain to your new coming leaders that they then have to act as parents and they have to do as you to them to others. So that continues to trickle down. It’s all about getting the right leaders that understand that being a leader is not just having a title, it’s really how you communicate and that parenting that has to, that coaching that continuously has to be going on to make sure that everyone understands that why we’re doing, we’re doing in the organization.
So it starts also from the executive top down, as I said, the executive team has to have the alignment and understand. And when it comes to the personnel, when it comes to change management, transformation, you have to have a specific mission and vision, where you want to go from a cultural perspective. And making sure that everyone’s meeting by that example.
Shawn: If I could jump in. And a very easy tool that anybody can use in both getting the manager side and the parents’ side. And Michael talked about doing the go live. If anybody can really implement a feedback system that allows people to make suggestions for improvement and to get better and then during the next implementation cycle, you use all suggestion. That’s really where you start to bridge the gap between getting things done now. And as a parent encouraging growth. It’s a simple, simple tool. It doesn’t take any time. It doesn’t take any money for people to use to start to bridge that gap.
Sanjog: Now Shawn, so one is of course we can try to do our best or perhaps beat ourselves up to say, okay, perhaps we’re not doing the best job and that’s why we’re not seeing the employees performance and relevance being at par with what we want to be. But are there any areas in which an employee should be changing? So we work with that intent also, we try to solve our– try to attack this problem for both sides. Any challenges that you see?
Shawn: Yes, absolutely. I think it’s a great point. There is a relationship here. And any time you start talking about a relationship there have to be– whether it’s a marriage, parent-child relationship or employee-organization relationship, there has to be mutual respect both ways. The organization is growing and it needs to adapt and it needs people to adapt. At the same time the other side of that relationship is from the employee model and they have to understand that the job what they signed up for, is going to be, not will, it’s going to be different, as it goes forward and they have to be willing to put in the effort as well to change.
And there’s an employee engagement model that actually talks about the need for both the organization, to have these intentional conversations about where it’s going and it has some ownership and responsibility of making sure that there’s an environment there to get there. But at the same time, the two way street on that relationship for the employee is, “Hey, I’m going to make a commitment also to be getting better to engaging and improving myself.” I think it’s critical. It’s not all I want, it’s really the balance of the relationship there.
Sanjog: Michael, imagine in your IT Department, when you are trying to do whatever you could for a performance and relevance standpoint, you are personally not educated and or taken the training to become what Shawn does. And when you talk about Shawn, Shawn may not have the in-depth knowledge of how technology, the skills the way the trends are moving. How do you marry that with other departments I’m not saying that that’s any easier. But with technology department, we traditionally see the HR department struggling to understand, what on earth do you guys do and why do you need every time a different type of person? Why do you have to keep shifting your make up of your organization? How do you get the expertise which Shawn has and embed that in technology for technology department to thrive at least?
Michael: Sure. At Jackson what we’ve done is, we’ve created informatics coordinators, to serve as liaison is between the business and the IT Deployment. Previously what we would do is, we would find somebody within the business that was very computer savvy or really was the know it all sort of how things were being done within the division, within the department and then we hired them into IT. Because some kind of implementation was going on and there were the most relevant individuals that understood the business processes. And then we would just educate them on the technology. In the long run, those folks will no longer be relevant because now they’re no longer in touch with the division, the business, the department anymore, change that occurred, they’re not familiar with it. So having these informatics coordinators that now we sit in between, the informatics coordinators, stay relevant, serve as those liaisons within the business and IT.
And then they’re also the ones that manage the superusers within the business to make sure that they’re listening to the end users getting that feedback from the end users that are actually working with the systems and doing the business processes. So formally that communication change all the way up, so we continuously configure the systems based on the user’s feedback and the business processes that need to be done. And it’s working real well for us having the informatics coordinators up here, as those communication points to stay relevant.
Sanjog: So you’ve made an important point that you need those liaison between business and technology to be able to connect and be whatever you produce at least gets used. So Shawn, coming to you. If you had to go and try to work with a technology department or UCHealth’s Technology Department and or anyone who you delegated to do so, they really need to understand the nuance of technology or you would just take IT people or IT people–
Shawn: Yeah, they need to understand the nuance because there is no IT as IT. So we actually encourage our folks to go out and spend a day to shadow to learn what they’re doing to be involved in committees, to be involved in multiple initiatives, to really understand. It is the nuance of what people are needing, we can say you need a certificate or you need experience. That’s the minimum expectation, it’s the nuance for how to deal with the customers and how to deal with change in technology. That’s the next step, that’s a critical piece that we need and required to make sure that we can– both develop the right people and get you the right people.
Michael: And I just want to piggyback off that, what Shawn said. The cross training, not only between the business IT but within IT itself, it has to take place because if folks are working on, let’s say clinical applications versus business applications but they have a specific knowledge, we could be capitalizing on that knowledge on both sides of the street. But if they only know one side of the street, you’re really not maximizing their value. So continuously shadowing, cross training within the division is very, very important.
Sanjog: Let’s take a quick break, listeners, we will be right back. And let’s look at how measurable is this employee’s growth and progress and relevance and performance related efforts are in terms of, when we’re making an investment what kind of results are we seeing. And is that something which we can point do to say, okay, we’re going to develop this more and for that we need money, for that we need a business case, and these numbers can drive, the ROI graph if you will which could be shown to the top executives and thus get the investment required.
Please stay tuned listeners, we will be right back.
Sanjog: Welcome back. So Shawn, while we know that the investments to some extent are done, like your role is a proof of it, that there’s an investment being made. How measurable is this initiative, so that as any other initiative in the organization, we are all was asked to deliver a report to something quantifiable. Can you quantify progress based on investment made and then get more money to do more?
Shawn: This in my world, this is always the top question. And so what we have done and what we’re kind of doing in industry, a couple of different things. The first thing is, the way that we are shifting our development mindset, in no longer do we say, hey, you get developed by going to an all-day class or whatever. That may be one thing but it’s not all, we’re really shifting into developing people and developing skills through improving processes. So there’s really in the work component to development now that we are just coming into within the last five, six years. When that happens, when there’s an actual link to an operational initiative, at the same time that there’s a learning component in there, we can absolutely start to measure progress just by that the sense of that operational initiative. So there’s definitely a way to measure progress and then get to the ROI question there as well.
When you get to a little bit more fuzzy level, when you start talking about maybe leadership behaviors, whether like Mike said, it doesn’t necessarily mean, maybe at a higher level, we start talking about leadership behaviors. We’ve also kind of taken a scientific approach to that as well and really done it through a series of really identifying some key competencies, what does it mean to be a great leader. And then we actually have a fairly robust process that that calibrates and assess those leaders, year over year based on progress, not just on based on survey data from their peers but based on things that they’ve been able to do, initiatives they’ve been able to shift, their level of engagement in their department.
It is a challenge for sure but we’re definitely moving in this direction. I just see the writing on the wall, it’s the way we have to go.
Sanjog: So Michael, I’m sure you’re busy making sure that technology delivers business value and that’s what your core focus is anyways. What do you expect from the individuals who are tasked with making sure that they keep an acute focus on the employee performance and relevance. And as a stakeholder, and what are you getting?
Michael: So we’re putting together programs from a competency verification perspective. And we’re seeing that now through the change management program and explain YSE employees competency levels are starting to rise. Everyone’s understanding the whys, they need to be doing what they need to do. And it creates a cultural or pride in knowing that you’re affecting the lines, you’re affecting patient care, on why we’re doing it. Before you would see that technology was really showdown folks throw. No competency verification was really being conducted previously and throughout the industry.
Now here at Jackson, we have huge efforts and verifying the competency of each employee and we’re seeing the outcomes. Because these systems the dollars that organizations are spending in technology and not realizing the value. You just can’t. You have to be able to measure, you have to be able to track. And making sure that the employees are using the technology properly is the number one place to start.
Sanjog: So what would be a holy grail for you in terms of a program or someone like Shawn running that program, be offering you as on a regular basis? What’s that ideal state, so that you can to go by doing your job, they do theirs but as a result we all succeed?
Michael: Yeah. It’s making sure that the momentum is going in the right direction and being able to render information, in a timely fashion to make decisions on where we are from a competency perspective, at each of the employee levels to making sure that they’re using the technology appropriately. And that we’re able to support from a technology division, the end users when we need to be agile, when we need to make changes shift or special attention to special employees that might need additional help when it comes to getting their job done.
Sanjog: If there were no constraints Shawn, of any kind, what would you paint as the best program that any organization could run for employee performance and relevance development and what type of measurable results that you would like to be able to produce for the stake holders?
Shawn: Okay. So the miracle world question, so if there were no constraints, what I think and this is based on what I see is working very well in some organizations and departments within organizations but when there can be a strict focus to the organizational purpose, so we know what the purpose is, we know what the critical elements are to achieve that purpose and then we have every employee in the organization engaged in an intentional process for improving performance. And it’s this idea of improving performance that is really producing the greatest level of results. So everybody is working on improving but through that improvement model, it’s the parallel process it’s happening. It’s through improving the processes, we’re also improving the individual, we’re helping them be more critical thinkers and we’re helping them be able to present their ideas better, and we’re helping them be able to analyze data, and we’re helping them be able to go out and talk to their customers and maybe talk to their bosses and their CIO and their CEO. And we’re helping them be able to really perform at a team level differently than we’ve ever seen and we’re helping them be able to reach across organizational units. All with a goal in mind.
If there’s not a goal in mind, then training is just an hour or two in a classroom. And there’s no purpose. Michael has said it number of times brilliantly, if there’s no why, the what and a how just fall short. So in my perfect world, everybody is engaged in the same process of improving what they do to help drive the organization. At the same time, we’ve got coaches in there that we’re helping also to drive individual processes in education.
And it doesn’t work in organizations because it takes so much time and effort and money and it’s really hard to see the ROI. But boy, when it works, it works brilliantly and it’s probably the biggest hope that I have.
Sanjog: So for the listeners who maybe trying to do it in their respective organizations. Michael, looking at IT and many people somehow brand IT people as a different breed. What would be the nuances that you would like to keep in mind as part of developing any such program for the IT department?
Michael: It’s really not only teaching the technology but teaching them the business. So from an orientation perspective, we need to be focused on the technology and how we’re going to be supporting and utilize the technology in the best way. But also really pairing up with the business and understanding and getting that shadowing and understanding what the business needs because from a technology perspective, if you’re a web developer, you’re a coder, and yet you don’t know how that technology impacts a patient care or impacts a caregiver. You’re not in touch with how, what you’re doing is really affecting someone’s life.
Giving them the opportunity to shadow– give them an opportunity to look at how the technology is being used, as they then can create that value connection and we really appreciating how they’re affecting that patient’s care. So we’re very focused on not only teaching them the technology, not only keeping them relevant from a technology perspective and investing them from a technology perspective. But really how they touch that patient’s life. And that’s really key and that’s really made us very successful.
Also from our retention perspective, folks take pride in knowing what they’re doing, and what they’re doing in their community, Jackson has built the safety network for the community. And mostly employees being born and raised within the community, really understand the organization and what we’re trying to accomplish, from a mission and vision perspective.
Sanjog: So Shawn, you must have definitely seen a need for– you having a control right from the very start, which is when somebody gets hired. But in many cases, hiring happens and then the employee performance leader like yourself is asked to see if you can do the best you can. Why is that an issue or is that an issue today?
Michael: In my perfect world scenario, it’s an issue but it’s the real world so. We know that that’s going to happen, Sanjog. It’s a very good point. We know that we’re going to do everything we can to hire the right person, to bring them on an intentional on boarding methodology and to give them all the tools and really opportunities to succeed but then business happens. So we know that’s an issue. We work around that or we work– not around but we actually work with it. There is an employee life cycle too that people need to get into their world, into their work, learn what they’re doing. And the first weeks to months, there’s not a lot of extra time or mental energy to do anything new. So we do actually circle back with the majority of our folks on regular intervals to both see how they’re doing. But also assess their scope and capacity to take on further development opportunities.
So there is a planned model for working through that employee lifecycle.
Sanjog: When you look at typical burnout rate in IT, that’s pretty high in many organizations. Michael, when you look at anyone trying to grow or trying to at least become them, they need some breathing room. And that breathing room is rarely offered because one deadline after another, one project after another. How do you expect a worker, try being in their shoes. How can they even come up to your expectations when they don’t have a breathing room or any time that they can invest in themselves?
Michael: Correct. In trying to find that balance between work and lifestyle, is something that we deal with on a daily basis. Especially when you have the top performers that want to excel, so they will come in at 6:00, they will at 11:00, and job based employees. And they just want to make sure that they came on track. But as leaders we need to be looking at that. Observing that, knowing what the employees are going through and as we’re creating projects and critical paths, we have to account for fatigue, we have to rely on, making sure that the employees are going to be performing at a level or they’re not fatigued and not having issues. So it’s tough but also being more flexible.
For the first time Jackson has installed work from home policy, more users there or employees can work remotely. Because we have to be able to have those kind of flexibilities. We’ve done things in reference to ON CALL pay also. So and the way we structure on call, for not everyone want to be on call 24/7 because they’re the only person that knows a particular system or application or trying to avoid single point failures from a human perspective. Where we have resilient support that can let folks still have some kind of life.
Sanjog: Let’s take a quick break listeners and we will be right back. Shawn, let’s talk about how could you perhaps transform these tired warriors, who don’t have the breathing room yet and yes, there are some tactics being utilized like Michael mentioned, about working remotely. And most of us know when you tried working remotely, we actually end up working more hours. So there has to be something else that needs to be tried, in order for us to create that breathing room for these employees to leverage what you’re trying to offer them as performance and relevance development programs.
Please stay tuned listeners, we will be right back.
Sanjog: Welcome back. Shawn, a tired warrior cannot be transformed, right? First, they have to take rest, and if you are trying to help them get their work life balance and do whatever they do from wherever with mobile devices, while we’ve given them flexibility but if we’ve taking even more time away from their real breathing time. So what are you doing in your group or what do you think the people who are like representing similarly in other organization should be doing to prevent that from happening, so you get a chance to work on those employees when they are in their sane state of mind?
Michael: It’s a great question and work-life balance is a unicorn of our industry. Everybody can tell you what it looks like but nobody’s really seen one, they’ve seen at work. To answer this question, I always– I actually go up a few levels. And I actually started the organizational level and at the organizational level there has to be an extreme commitment to purpose and when you get the extreme commitment to purpose, you’re actually then able to prioritize initiatives.
So when we see burnout, we see people doing one change after another or one initiative after another, some of them make sense, some of them don’t, some of them have legs, some of them don’t. But it’s that constant wave after wave coming in. So, at the organizational level, there really does need to be a process for prioritization in saying no.
So let’s just say we have that, we have strong organizational purpose. The next thing is, we actually put it back on our leaders because there really isn’t a magic bullet, the IT Department is different than marketing, is different than HR, that is different than operation so. We have ten leadership competencies and this is what I advocate for all the organizations I work with that, within those competencies, one of them has to be– you facilitate development and the growth of others. As a leader, we actually– we’re going to judge your success on how well you have facilitated the success and growth of others. And part of that is that work-life or that resiliency piece.
And then as you make your way down– and then what that does for the leaders, is that really puts some accountability on them to go get the answers and to go talk to their folks and see what’s going to work the best. And it doesn’t really work at an organizational level to mandate anything.
And then you kind of walk down the rest of the path. And it really does become providing a significant amount of tools, resources, coaching and help, to teach people about resiliency, to teach people about work-life, to give them ease of answers to anything organizationally that they need or to give them any support they need. So all of those pieces have to be in play. And I realize it’s a long answer, it’s a very complex issue. It takes a lot of people working in the same direction.
Sanjog: So, of course Shawn, people like yourself, kudos to you that you’re trying tirelessly to make a dent in the system and try to transform these employees.
Michael from your standpoint given, whatever we discussed so far, you mentioned that people need to learn business as part of the IT department. Given what is happening, what’s coming ahead of us, things which are unknown, which could be the security threats or the ones which are totally transformational which are internet of things and cloud and other mobility related trends. There are so many things happening. What are you expecting your employees to be, beyond their technical skills in order for them to be really creating the most value? Which people like Shawn can help develop.
Michael: It’s really evolved innovation, it’s empowering the users, being able to think for themselves and take pride in the feedback process, so saying, I feel that if we make this one less click, it will be more efficient, more effective. Historically folks will just do the jobs, would just create the wedges. We’re no longer in that situation. And we need those employee feedback to be able to really make change. If they feel that they’re part of the process, they’ll buy into the process also. Shawn spoke about organizational structure and the mind– here at Jackson, we develop our governance process to really prioritize what projects we need to be working on and assessing the types of resources that are needed to be successful. So we can see the nos. And not everything could be on X or the top or the number one priority.
In doing so, a lot has to do with strategy. What’s coming down the pipe, what are we looking at the next three years, what are we looking at the next five years, and how are we aligning, how are we mapping to that strategy from a technology perspective, so we can start the training efforts. So we could start the processes earlier knowing that it’s coming and knowing that it’s a priority at the organizational level.
Sanjog: Outsourcing, distributed workforce, mobility, generational gaps. Shawn all of these are new which are the encountering in the last decade. How has that impacted your strategies or what you’re going to do going forward, so that people who are sitting in their own respective houses in their pajamas, are still able to be most relevant and perform at the highest level?
Shawn: These are all absolutely new opportunities for us, issues are opportunities. The first piece I think is just going back to that clarity of purpose so that we all– or at least aligned and agreed upon the kind of direction. Interestingly enough we’re not seeing as much of a change from generational perspective that we thought we would, when you boil things down people still want to be feel like they’re working for a good organization, they’re working with a good group of people and they’re having an opportunity to improve. And that really is a difference. They are maybe more mobile from a younger perspective.
And at the same time outsourcing with vendors, we really do– and I would advocate really spending some time to do the same kind of inculturation things with our vendors and our outsource folks what we do with our internal people. Because even if they’re only with us for three, six, nine, twelve months, that’s a pretty intensive time. And you’re going to get a lot more work done when they feel like they are part of the culture instead of just feeling like you’re an outsider, that’s going not have accountability when they leave.
Sanjog: So one last question, 30 seconds each. So, starting with you Michael what would be your message to your fellow business and IT leaders, with respect to help and drive employee performance and relevance, keeping their own interests in mind and not just the corporations?
Michael: I think starting off with the executive team and getting executive alignment, I’m really truly making its own mission and vision in reference to cultural reference to change reference or transformation because it’s all about the employee. And you’re not going to be successful or get the value out of what you doing. If they’re not engaged, if they don’t understand the whys and the impact. Creating that organizational governance structure, having folks serving as liaison’s that are relevant between the business and IT and cross training your folks for them themselves to understand the whys they’re doing what they’re doing. And it’s a whole life cycle. So that life cycle has to continue for a change to be successful for the resistance to it to be last and to have the overall success and be agile in the future.
Shawn: So I think the real quickly that people become your strategic advantage and your strategic differentiator. In healthcare, we’re all doing the same thing, we all have the same parts and the same high technology and all that. It’s really the people who you are either going to make it work well or are going to make the struggle. I think that is the key in any industry. I understand the ROI is tough, it is tough to project at times but people truly become your strategic differentiator in your business.
Sanjog: On behalf of the show and our listeners, I’d really like to thank you both, Michael and Shawn for sharing your thoughts on how organizations can take an objective look at what is at stake when they are dealing with employee relevance and performance and accordingly invest their time energy and dollars, towards making sure that we get the most value. Thank you so much again.
Michael: Thank you Sanjog.
Shawn: Thank you Sanjog.
Sanjog: And listeners , please like us on Facebook, search for CIO Talk Radio and be sure to follow us on Twitter. Thank you again for listening to CIO Talk Radio, this is Sanjog Aul, your talk show host. Till next week, take care and God bless.Less