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MetroHealth’s 4-Step Journey to Create a Culture of Listening

MetroHealth’s 4-Step Journey to Create a Culture of Listening

MetroHealth’s commitment to health and wellness extends beyond the immediate treatment of the ill and injured, with an equal emphasis on preventive care, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Key to its sustained recognition as one of the “Northcoast 99 - Best Places to Work in Northeast Ohio” is a strategic focus on employee listening. Through listening to its people, MetroHealth ensures alignment between the workforce and the organization’s goals, while fostering an open, engaged environment that values employee input. 

Partnering with Perceptyx

Elizabeth Clegg, Director of Listening for MetroHealth, pointed to the introduction of the Perceptyx People Insights Platform as a crucial element in MetroHealth’s strategy. According to Clegg, “Our relationship with Perceptyx is foundational.” The opportunity for us came about when we laid the foundation with a multi-year contract. In doing so, we’re giving consistent, easy-to-access data to all of our leaders. Along with the census survey, the platform’s additional features really just add another layer of icing on the cake thanks to the self-service capabilities of the Ask product and the ability to use the Dialogue product for crowdsourcing.”

Explaining the selection process, Clegg stated that MetroHealth used a multidisciplinary team to evaluate potential partners, focusing their search on ease of use and accessibility. Cheryl Forino Wahl, MetroHealth’s Chief Employee Engagement Officer, added that being able to provide consistency in a healthcare environment subject to constant change was key, along with the numerous customization options offered by Perceptyx. “Our appreciation for the team has grown over time, and the customer service and the true partnership have not only evolved but enabled us to go from the crawl stage to the sprint stage of our listening strategy.”

Crawl, Walk, Run, Sprint: Creating a Culture of Listening

Elizabeth Clegg noted that one of the key factors that motivated MetroHealth to partner with Perceptyx was the company’s readiness to meet the organization where it was. “We had done multiple surveys before, years over years. Every year there was a different vendor and different set of questions, so trending was really not feasible at that time. Having a partner that was willing to meet us where we were, and then having the opportunity to expand, was something that was very attractive to us.”

The second step, “Walk,” focused on establishing a listening strategy, expanding listening channels, and prioritizing metrics and KPIs. MetroHealth leaned into its partnership with Perceptyx to create an 18-month engagement strategy, including pulse and exit surveys. The arrival of Dr. Airica Steed as new CEO in December 2022 marked the beginning of MetroHealth’s “First 100 Days of Listening, Learning, and Action.”

For its third step, “Run,” MetroHealth involved leaders in listening and established goals and tracking methods. The organization introduced CEO listening sessions, initiated an “Ask the CEO” email, implemented leadership rounding, and began integrating feedback across multiple channels. It also stressed the importance of setting system-wide goals related to survey participation and action planning, as well as accountability for leaders related to meeting these goals.

Lastly, in the “Sprint” phase, MetroHealth stressed the need to close the loop, let listening drive decisions, aggregate data, and communicate relentlessly. As the data began to roll in from the organization’s commitment to listening, Forino Wahl and Clegg could start to assess the effectiveness of this approach, as well as the opportunities for improvement.

Building ANCC Magnet Certification into the Census Survey

Addressing the initial listening strategies deployed during this four-stage process, Clegg said, “We have the survey results. I would say that our organization is open to listening, and looking to listen as efficiently as possible.” She stressed the importance of foundational elements, such as the census survey, but also noted the need for additional elements.

One such element involved utilizing Perceptyx for assistance with recertifying the organization’s Magnet status, which is awarded by the Magnet Recognition Program of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Magnet Recognition Program recognizes healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence in patient care, and innovations in professional nursing practice. Achieving Magnet status is the highest level of honor awarded by the ANCC and is recognized nationally as the “gold standard” of nursing excellence. Keeping this designation is essential to MetroHealth’s core business of serving the public, but the data-gathering demands can place a heavy burden on staff and administrators.

To combat survey fatigue, MetroHealth introduced Magnet questions into its annual survey to minimize the number of separate surveys employees had to complete. This move proved beneficial, contributing to a 9% increase in the organization’s employee response rate to the census survey — up to 62% from 53% the prior year — and aligning resources in the nursing department with overall engagement efforts.

When asked if integrating the Magnet certification process with the main survey was more efficient, Clegg responded affirmatively. “Getting those resources from nursing who were able to ‘buy in’ to the overall engagement survey was a big driver and a key success factor for us.”

Despite several operational challenges, including the opening of two new hospitals, MetroHealth managed to increase its survey response rate. “What’s really incredible is that not only did we increase the response rate by nine percentage points, we did so even as we were asking our people to answer those questions for the second time that year,” said Cheryl Forino Wahl. 

Perceptyx’s Platform Puts Data-driven Insights in Managers’ Hands

Clegg pointed out that the small engagement team at MetroHealth isn’t capable of pushing custom-made action planning reports to each manager, which is why the simple, user-friendly features of the Perceptyx People Insights Platform have proved essential. The platform empowers managers to own their engagement strategies without becoming overwhelmed with data analysis.

This has enabled the MetroHealth team to shift their focus away from platform navigation to meaningful conversations around data and action planning. It has proven beneficial to spend this extra time on improving engagement, rather than teaching managers how to use the platform. “The ability to look at comments, along with the ability to see and compare their data to the organization is extremely helpful,” said Clegg. The straightforwardness of the platform is especially helpful given that many of the 600 or so managers are not data analysts and need to be able to easily use the technology.

One of the more valuable aspects of the platform is its ability to generate actionable reports. “The PowerPoint executive presentation of the survey results that’s generated from the survey includes high-level results for each manager and is usable right out of the box,” Clegg pointed out.

The Power of Partnership

Describing MetroHealth’s relationship with Perceptyx, Clegg noted, “I really feel like we’re in this together. They’ve met us halfway and helped us push further.” The platform’s ease of use and the company’s commitment to partnership are two qualities that have strongly resonated with MetroHealth.

Cheryl Forino Wahl underscored the importance of philosophical alignment with Perceptyx. “We’re deeply interested in working together and continuing to grow our relationship,” she said. “Listening clearly enables employees to feel like they matter, to know that they’re important, and that’s the environment that we want for our employees.”

With its listening strategy firmly in place, MetroHealth continues to invest in and prioritize its people. The collaboration with Perceptyx has enabled the organization to take actionable steps toward realizing their objective: creating a culture where people “come for the mission and stay for the culture.” 

Read the full story to learn more about how MetroHealth has partnered with Perceptyx to develop and implement a comprehensive listening strategy. 

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