From helping facilities stay fully staffed to reducing the work associated with payroll and other administrative processes, customized workforce solutions have become a transformational tool for many healthcare organizations. For leaders who haven’t yet embraced these solutions — perhaps because of their perceived complexity — here’s how to use today’s latest change management processes to help ensure a successful implementation.
Ensuring Successful Change Management in Healthcare Workforce Solutions
At their best, healthcare workforce solutions like staffing, recruitment and managed services programs (MSPs) provide clinical teams with more time and freedom to do what they do best — provide great care to the patients and residents under their watch. Yet getting the most from these programs also requires carefully integrating them within an organization’s larger operational workflows.
Leading MSP providers (and, full disclosure, CareerStaff Unlimited is one of them) are careful to include out a detailed implementation process with each solution. And that means making use of change management best practices at every stage of the process, from strategic planning through to implementation, and well beyond.
There’s good reason to make sure that implementation processes include careful adherence to change management best practices. According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), “almost two-thirds of all change projects fail for many reasons, such as poor planning, unmotivated staff, deficient communication, or excessively frequent changes.”
For that reason, the NLM recommends that all change management initiatives, “no matter how big or small, unfold in three major stages: pre-change, change, and post-change.” If that makes the scope of implementation larger than expected, it also serves to best ensure success and to help deliver the desired return on investment, as well as the accompanying boost in outcomes and operational advantage.
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4 Steps to Achieving Successful Change Management in Healthcare Workforce Solutions
When used as a model for implementing a new healthcare workforce solution, this framework for change management can be mapped out into four separate steps: planning, buy-in, education and monitoring.
#1: Pre-Change: Create a Formal Plan.
Successful integrating the services of a healthcare MSP, vendor management system (VMS) or healthcare staffing partner requires clearly defining goals, budget and metrics for success. Healthcare organizations shouldn’t assume this is standard, but doublecheck to make sure any new program includes this important step as the starting point for program design.
These planning sessions must also involve full collaboration between program vendors and facility leaders. Although a number of industry best practices can and should be embraced when implementing workforce solutions, building a program that’s customized to meet each organization’s specific needs can’t be done from boilerplate. Extensive consultation and planning sessions are necessary to ensure successful change management in every area — operationally, clinically, culturally and technologically.
#2: Pre-Change through Post-Change: Involve Everyone.
An all-too-common stumbling point for change management in healthcare is lack of buy-in from key members of the continuum. In other words, a program build with the active participation and feedback from clinical teams is more likely to be successful than one that’s build without their involvement, and then imposed on them.
“All healthcare providers, at the bedside to the boardroom, have a role in ensuring effective change,” as the NLM explains. “These stakeholders should include staff from all shifts, including nights and weekends, to create peer change champions for all shifts.”
The NLM recommends selecting representatives from these groups to serve as change agents or managers, and then involving them in everything from short- and long-term goal-setting to establishing troubleshooting protocols and capabilities to specific action-planning sessions. Doing so also provides the benefit of putting people from different parts of an organization in regular contact with one another.
#3: Change and Post-Change: Emphasize education and validation.
Ensuring successful change management in healthcare workforce solutions means not just involving everyone but also providing them with the information they need to succeed in their roles. Especially with a healthcare MSP solution, it’s important to ensure that resources are available to help eliminate barriers to adoption among the clinicians who work with the service each day.
To this end, education may need to be extended to change agents, facility administrators and even patients or residents. If a new program involves a transition in scheduling or a caregiver reassignment, for instance, the effects to the people being cared for, and their families, should not only be minimized but also communicated proactively, with a line left open for any questions or concerns.
Among with education, program builders should be careful to ensure that workers receive validation for their success in embracing the changes required of them.
“One of the biggest mistakes a change leader can make during the midst of change implementation is failing to validate that staff members are performing new processes as planned,” the NLM authors emphasize. “Ongoing leader engagement throughout change execution will increase the chances of success.”
#4: Post-change: Monitor performance.
Once the program is in place, the job of the MSP or workforce solutions provider is to offer the means to continuously improve it. This will include tracking key data from the program and then setting up the metrics to judge it upon — like resident retention rates for a skilled nursing facility, for instance, or patient fall rates for a hospital.
Meetings among the change management teams set up earlier in the process should be maintained for the purposes of providing regular feedback on performance, and problem-solving opportunities. The NLM authors recommend “periodic spot-checking and continued data monitoring” to confirm the new processes as the status quo, and to help prevent employees from reverting to old behaviors.
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Get Better at Change Management with CareerStaff
Of course, one way to ensure proper change management through the entire implementation process is partnering with one of the nation’s leading healthcare workforce solutions providers. Whether you’re hiring per-diem nurses or onboarding a comprehensive MSP solution, you can trust CareerStaff to deliver the guidance and expertise you need to ensure successful implementation.
Learn more about how we can assist your organization: Contact us today to learn more about our clinical workforce solutions, or request a consultation now.