When Patti DeiTos joined Inova Health System, she faced a big challenge: reduce a turnover rate that had reached 49 percent for each of two key positions.
Inova Health System is a not-for-profit healthcare system based in Northern Virginia that consists of hospitals and other health services, including emergency- and urgent-care centers, home care, nursing homes, mental health and blood donor services, and wellness classes. Inova employs more than 16,000.
A group takes the WorkKeys assessments at the Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA) facility in Richmond, Virginia. CCWA is a partnership between the J. Sargeant Reynolds and John Tyler Community Colleges, which are part of the Virginia Community College System.
DeiTos, lead education coordinator at the Inova Learning Network, needed a screening tool that would refine the applicant pools for the jobscare team assistant and care team clinical technician. The unlicensed, entry-level nature of these positions attracts as many as 300 applications per day.
DeiTos had learned about WorkKeys in a prior position and believed it could help solve Inovas problems. She was right.
WorkKeys has created a new culture at Inova. Its reduced turnover for the two care team jobs to 13 percent, which has improved patient care. The continuity of our personnel has increased trust and communication among the staff and provided greater stability for our patients, said DeiTos. Each 25 percent improvement in turnover reduction results in savings of approximately $1.3 million.
The two positions are part of an innovative healthcare apprenticeship program funded through a grant from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. The programcreated by Inova, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), and the Virginia Department of Laboris the first of its kind in the state.
The apprenticeship concept traditionally has applied to the skilled trades, such as electrician or plumber. But apprenticeships can be used for any job, as they offer workers the opportunity to earn while they learn. Thats very attractive in todays economy, said Gloria Westerman, director of Educational Career Transitional Programs for VCCS.
The apprenticeship program at Inova involves assigning a registered nurse to each care team worker. Its a true mentoring system. The mentor reviews everything the apprentice does on the job on a regular basis. With an apprenticeship, trainees see the relevance of what they are learningthey understand why they need to do something, she added.
The grant initially paid for job profiles for the two care team positions. The profiling process helped determine the WorkKeys score criteria, which turned out to be the same for both: 3 for Applied Mathematics, 4 for Locating Information, and 4 for Reading for Information. Because the ability to follow steps in a procedure is vital to patient care, Locating Information is the primary skill needed for the two positions.
The grant also covered initial WorkKeys assessments for 44 current care team assistants, 36 of whom achieved the scores necessary for promotion to the clinical technician level.
Heres how the hiring process for the apprenticeship program works:
Inova is currently using WorkKeys for the two care team positions and for emergency medical technician positions. The companys human resources department is also considering using job profiling and WorkKeys for up to 20 additional entry-level jobs, said Daniel Nichols, director of system recruitment/Human Resources Information System (HRIS) at Inova. Nichols also plans to utilize the WorkKeys assessments as the cornerstone of an innovative military talent development program titled Military to Medicine.
Always one to challenge the notion that using resumes is the best way to hire, Nichols is looking for a better and quicker approach for matching applicants skills to job requirements. The companys recruiters handle 85,000 resumes annually, hiring about 3,800 and processing another 1,200 internal transfers. The 25 recruiters have other responsibilities, so sifting through thousands of resumes is grueling.
Nichols is pleased with how WorkKeys helps recruiters identify candidates whose skills best match specific jobs.
Hiring really comes down to a skill match. There is some risk in taking the easy way outmaking the quick hire rather than the quality hire. With WorkKeys, you can make the quality hire more quickly, he said.
DeiTos agrees that WorkKeys has improved Inovas hiring process. WorkKeys provides a realistic view of how a potential employee will be able to function in a job. It has helped us improve the selection of employees for each position and has provided employees with confidence and a new awareness that they can develop into something more.