Challenges

The organization has been using business intelligence for more than five years. But an accelerating pace of change–along with healthcare transforming due to policy changes and the trend to consumerization–made the Workforce Planning and Analytics Team’s senior director aware that the organization was not in the optimal position to lead the change with the right talent in the right places.

Additionally, organization leaders needed faster and more complete access to the workforce data for analysis and to plan for the future with precision.

Two and a half years ago, as a response to these challenges, the organization did an HR transformation including a move to an HRBP model to support people leaders. The director realized the HRBPs did not have the skill set to leverage analytics in their partnership with people leaders.

He argued for a strategic workforce planning and analytics function that worked at the intersection of data and strategy, one that empowered HR and the organization’s leaders to proactively position its workforce to achieve their strategic priorities.

The purpose of this new function is to enable the achievement of strategic business priorities using data-driven insights. Part of its mandate is to further catalyze innovative thinking and leading-edge practices through strategic partnerships, experimentation, and technology that anticipates the future of work.

Furthermore, the team aims to integrate data and create shared knowledge, standardize the delivery experience of reporting and analytics, and create a culture of analytics built on a reproducible process. Analytic solutions that organize, analyze, and visualize data for people analytics and planning, and the data unification strategy, are intended to enable leaders, managers, and associates at all levels, giving them the ability to accurately and quickly derive actionable insight from the data available.

“Instead of just reacting to the changes in healthcare, we looked at what data we have to drive insights and help us to transform ourselves into an outcomes-focused healthcare workforce. We saw that our data was limiting and cumbersome to pull together. We could not solve problems at the speed of business or look to the future to inform workforce decisions to lead the change and deliver cost effective quality care”

Senior director of Workforce Planning and Analytics Team

Approaches

Built a strategic team

The Workforce Planning and Analytics Team’s six members are trained in:

  • Data science
  • Statistics
  • Industrial and organizational psychology
  • Project management
  • Health services/outcomes research
  • Behavioral science

Their combined experience includes:

  • Advanced analytics
  • Predictive analytics
    Machine learning
  • Forecasting
  • Workforce planning
  • Program evaluation
  • Claims data/hospital discharge data
  • Hospital informatics
  • Assessment and survey design
  • HR data handling, aggregation & reporting

Analytics should not be done in silos, so the group also works–through relationships and thought partnerships–on central analytics and IT functions, Care Excellence, Operations Excellence, Finance, Marketing and Communications and Strategy.

People analytics user adoption starts with upskilling HRBPs

Visier played a key role in closing the data and analytics capability gap of the HRBPs. They needed to get trained on business and clinical metrics and they needed to learn to connect the dots from workforce trends to these business and operations metrics. While HR Directors are already doing this “in spades,” the HRBPs are beginning this journey–but several hundred of them are already making significant strides.

The HRBPs have had considerable training on key metrics to manage and fine-tune the workforce. The Workforce Planning and Analytics Team have done knowledge transfer and engage in continuous development through regular competency-based webinars and brown-bag sessions. They have also developed a library of recorded and printed materials.

There is shared accountability, which starts with an integrated scorecard of organizational and HR goals directly aligned to and sourced from an analytics dashboard (developed in Visier). HR leaders do rounds to ensure regular usage by HRBPs of analytics solutions when consulting with people leaders.

At the same time, people leaders have put HR on notice and they are expected to ask their HRBPs for a review of dashboards and visualizations from Visier. On an ongoing basis, the Workforce Planning and Analytics Team put out “ideas of the week” (Figure 2) and other just-in-time suggestions connecting HRBPs to salient content targeted to create a pull and FOMO (fear of missing out).

Furthermore, a social collaboration site enables people analytics conversations, user-generated content sharing, and sharing of innovations. HRBPs can self-select to affinity groups and topics of interest. Healthy peer pressure further enhances accountability. As a result, the organization is fast moving towards that “predict, prescribe, and act” consultative model.

Results

When this major healthcare organization thought it had a recruiting crisis (based on not always having the right people at the right place and right time at the optimal cost), it turned to people analytics and learned that it was actually a turnover and staffing-to-patient-outcome problem. Turnover analysis and staffing based on monitoring a productivity index led to hundreds of millions in savings for the healthcare provider. Below are a few examples.

Addressing voluntary turnover, premium labor spend and overtime spend issues

With Visier in place, it is monitoring departments that are lagging behind in key measures around voluntary turnover, premium labor spend, and overtime spend. Every two weeks, reports go out to all senior leaders listing departments that are meeting or behind targets.

Visier is an important part of the HRBP consultative process, who work with the lagging departments to show the data behind the levers they can pull to correct and catch up. Addressing the three core measures requires that the HRBPs educate managers about how the decisions they make connect directly to these metrics and how leaders can play a role in solving the problems.

Staffing and the productivity index

To provide the best possible care to each patient, work has been done to define the expected level of hours invested in a particular patient with a particular case mix and diagnostic. A productivity index has been defined (Figure 3) and management monitors this index by region, location, etc.

“The expectation is that managers are more prescriptive on how they are staffing by monitoring their productivity index in Visier,” explains the senior director of the Workforce Planning and Analytics Team.

Visier dashboards and visualizations are used by HRBPs to work with departments. They also look at call-back hours, movement of staff to float pools, elimination of premium labor such as expensive traveling nurses. This is all part of data-driven management of the workforce.

A secondary benefit of this work is related to the number of open requisitions to be recruited. Before Visier, hospital units would open requisitions because they didn’t think they had enough people to deliver services–it was based on gut feel. Now, unit managers can only open a requisition if the data shows productivity is above a certain threshold, thus ensuring that a position really does need to be filled.

HR was able to close 8,000 requisitions as a result of being able to monitor the productivity index status.

The end result of this analysis has enabled the healthcare provider to constantly and efficiently adjust staffing to patient volumes while delivering a high quality of care. They are now staffing more appropriately to ensure there is no or reduced overtime utilization and that they are able to limit the need for “on-call” pay (status where they are paid to be on call if volumes spike). Their goal is to keep overtime and contract-labor expenditures at or below 2.5% of the overall labor spend.

“The role that Visier plays is bringing together a complete picture of workforce data in one place. There is a WOW factor for leaders when they see that whole big picture. Now everyone has a solution to search for trends in departments that are consistently behind or missing targets. Visier enables them to understand these trends and solve for the problems. Now when a leader says, ‘I am missing my target’ or ‘I can’t recruit fast enough,’ the HRBP can dispel the unfounded assumptions and then resolve what is really going on.”

Senior director of Workforce Planning and Analytics Team