Redefining the HR Landscape

By Tracey Schiro, Senior Vice President, Risk Management and Chief Human Resources Officer, Ochsner Health System

What are the current trends and challenges within the employee recognition landscape?

Employee recognition has become challenging, and there are a lot of different reasons for it. Being in healthcare, we have every level of employees, so the needs in recognition are very different based on the type of role the person is in.

The behaviours you want to encourage, your values, and what you expect from your employees and how do you recognize them based off of the values and commitment towards the organization is what really matters.

Most people get confused with recognitions and rewards further adding on to the challenges because when you start talking about recognition, the individual may not be aware of what true recognition is and what’s rewarding is.

According to me, recognition is more about how you praise or recognize an employee’s efforts while the reward is more of a tangible gift or a compensation bonus. Recognition for me is peer-driven or leader driven. Recognition can also turn into performance appraisals in terms of what feedback is provided through their leader. And when we start talking about rewards, it’s asking people to behave a certain way and rewarding them for that in terms of money or gifts.

What are some exciting initiatives that you’ve taken in terms of employee recognition to Tracy?

So from a recognition standpoint, we declare employee of the month and an employee of the quarter at all the hospitals and divisions within the organization, which generates a lot of interest and support in terms of nominations. We also recognize the employees, who stayed with the organization for as long as five, ten, fifteen years and organized a special lunch or dinner to add a personal touch. We are also focused on the socio-economic challenges that many of our employees face and we’ve put a lot of programs in place to help our employees in recognizing their challenges. We started solving these issues by increasing the minimum wage, proper financial planning, and introducing loan programs. Taking our traditional recognition programs a notch higher, we focus on the challenges of our employees and making sure that we have plans in place to support them.

How has the outcome been on the organization side?

In terms of the programs, we have about 16% turnover for our health system in comparison to the national average, which is over 20% and is a good thing for the organization. The retention that we see at Oschner is directly proportional to the recognition and the commitments of the employees for the organization.

I think the other factors that contributed are the socioeconomic support in addition to their work life. We get a lot of positive feedback on the programs meant to support our employees. We see tremendous usage of these programs around workforce development. Some more benefit programs that we provide around are loans, financial planning, adoption assistance, and maternity leave. We’re trying to meet our employees need in every stage of life and support them.

"We have put a lot of programs in place to help our employees and recognizing their challenges"

How do you exactly pick out the right solution provider for your organization? Do you have any methodology when it comes to that?

From a recognition standpoint, we don’t have a true recognition platform in place, and in terms of managing rewards and recognition. But we do use workday, which allows our leaders to see everyone who has an anniversary or birthdays coming up, and it also contains a feedback feature where employees get feedback from peers and leaders. These feedbacks help us in employee nomination and identifying a quiet leader by implementing predictive modelling technology in the HR space. We specifically lookout for AI and chatbots in terms of evaluating a tool to help with our employee population and make things relatively easier.

What are some of the key strategic points that they need to adopt to be ahead in the game?

From a strategic point of view, having the best talent and retaining that talent in the organization is one of the crucial factors. We do that through, with our continuous learning opportunities as well as workforce development for employees, and I think those are big components of our discussions, a lot around our workforce is really about having the right talent to serve our patients. Another area of focus is around diversity and inclusion and how that, impacts our business objectives, not only from a human resources standpoint but also from a supplier diversity and in terms of patient outcomes. So diversity inclusion is often another big piece of what we do, in terms of HR. Employee experience is yet another aspect which encompasses the overall candidate experience right from applying jobs and the interaction of the leaders with the HR department and getting things done for the employees.

What are some of the key factors about yourself that helped you succeed in this industry?

I’ve always been very driven, due to which I received a lot of great opportunities in my career to take on projects on four different areas of human resources, and I’ve always embraced those opportunities.

Being very driven and open to looking at things from a different perspective is important. Having a strong understanding of change management, applying those principles of project management and change management to how I operate human resources is essential. So, this defines a big piece of who I am and kind of what I’ve grown up in. I started with an entry-level job right out of college and have worked my way up to the top job in Austin or health system to the senior VP of risk management and chief human resources officer. All those experiences along the way have molded me into who I am. According to me, it helps me relate with, employees at every level of the organization.

Where do you see the whole employee recognition concept going in the near future?

Along with the recognition, come opportunities, so when we think leadership, and you’re recognized for your performance, or you’re recognized as someone who has strong potential. Being recognized for your accomplishments, performance as well as leadership capabilities in the form of being able to put people through training or developmental roles to recognize them for those efforts and help them grow. Referring and recognizing people on social platforms like LinkedIn are taking up in modern times and have become a crucial part of the recognition process.

What would you the advice to the young professionals who look to achieve as much as you have in the industry?

One thing I had along the way in every role is a mentor or someone who advocated for me always for the next role. For me, it was relationship-building that helped me to work upwards in my life. And so, building a relationship with either a leader or a peer of my leader helped me understand and learn other aspects of HR. But having a mentor can help you prepare for the next step. Having that mentor who serves as an advocate for you or a sponsor for you, and for your career is just really important. And establishing a relationship comes from being open and to relationships and putting yourself out there to work with others, and you have to be open to feedback for that to be successful.

Check this out: Top Identity and Access Management Solution Companies in Europe

Weekly Brief

Top 10 Employee Recognition Solution Companies - 2019
Top 10 Employee Recognition Consulting/Service Companies - 2019