Our Blog

Shared Values and "Soft Skills" Improve HCAHPS Scores

Posted by Robert Accomando on Fri, Sep 06, 2013 @ 12:17 PM

iStock 000016559926XSmall

Candidate:  “I’m a people person!”

Interviewer:  “That's exactly what we need.”

 If you are serious about improving your HCAHPS scores, you need to focus your recruitment efforts on candidates that have both the technical and interpersonal raw materials needed for “engagement.”  Engagement is all about the ability to align and connect with the overall purpose and mission to which organization is committed – exceptional patient care, both actual and perceived.   Of course, clinical excellence is always fundamental to exceptional patient care, but in a value-based reimbursement environment where 1% of your organization’s Medicare payments are at risk if you’re Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores fall short, you need to start focusing your hiring efforts on great clinicians and administrators who happen to also be exceptional “people persons.”  In other words, your patients not only need to be expertly care for, they need to feel that way too -- by everyone in your organization.  Success, therefore, requires you to consistently hire, develop, acknowledge and reward healthcare professionals that can do both well.  Here are some important recruitment strategies to help you identify the types of candidates to help you improve your team's engagement and, in turn, HCAHPS scores:

  1. It’s about Heart.  When candidates talk about even their most menial roles and functions with pride in the context of patient care delivery, take notice.  There is nothing like a healthcare professional that is naturally wired for compassion.  Moreover, there is no incentive package in the world that can compare to the ingrained ability to convey heartfelt humanity.  Listen for a consistent track record of good deeds and hire good-hearted people at every level of your organization, always.
  2. It’s about Communication.  Perception is reality.  A candidate can be clinically superior, highly organized, detail oriented, etc., but unable to effectively adapt their communication style and timing to different circumstances and audiences.  The end result is that patients and interdisciplinary team members will view that individual as ineffective, disconnected or worse.  Ask for examples that evidence a communication style that is effective in all types of circumstances and don’t ignore what your own eyes and ears tell you about the candidate.
  3. It’s about Shared Values.  A candidate can have a big heart, be able to communicate effectively with all kinds of people, but consistently fall short because they can’t manage all the details in priority order.  “Engagement” is the compass that guides how an employee decides which priorities need to be addressed first when time is in short supply.  It is that ability to connect with the organization’s mission that will yield the greatest success for the organization in actually meeting its goals over the long term.  Listen for examples of how the candidate has made decisions between competing values and decide whether your organization’s core values are consistently held in the candidate’s highest regard.  Natural and inherent alignments between your organization’s core values and those of the candidate will consistently yield the patient-centered results you are after.

Topics: interviewing tips