How ARDX Talent & Culture is Creating a Compelling Employee Experience

By 05/04/2017Blog

Creating a “compelling employee experience” has been an ongoing HR trend since late 2015, with the definition consistently including areas such as 1) Learning or Culture (both appearing to be equally important), 2) Tools & Technology, and 3) Physical Workspace.  This trend put a fancy title on something I’ve always believed to be at the core of HR throughout my 20+ years in the game – my routine speech to organizations, leaders, and employees has always included something about the importance of everyone “getting something” out of the employee-employer relationship. Employers need satisfied employees to highly perform the necessary work, and employees need a safe environment where they can gain professional experience and knowledge in their chosen field. This was called “employee engagement” not too long ago, but now we’ve put that on steroids, renamed it to “employee experience,” and have created new methods to define it, measure it, and compare it.

Being able to address the identified areas of  “employee experience” can be a moving target for a rapidly-growing, small-to-mid-size company due to shifts in organizational design that are necessary throughout the transformation. In response to business needs at ARDX, we’ve recently had to shift our Associate (employee) model paradigm, change our approach to the physical workspace issue (late 2016 was the beginning of our Remote Staffing Strategy implementation), and continue to be an overall responsive HR advisor/partner to our business – all while creating this super/productive/innovative/positive Associate experience. Oh, but I love a good challenge! Plus, it is a very fortunate problem to have – growth and change are hallmarks of a successful company, and ARDX certainly fits that bill.

The first order of business was to convince my co-executives to put this goal at the forefront of our 2017 map of corporate goals. This was actually the easy part – I chose the awesome healthcare management consulting company I work for mainly because the Founder/CEO/President has always valued the people in the organization and recognized that the business won’t go anywhere unless you invest in the people who do the work (yes, a HR dream!). We deemed “cultivating an elite learning environment to maximize employee experience” the first corporate goal, and plan to measure it through purposeful contributions and high performance throughout the year.

Because I have a fabulous team of HR professionals who have learned to love strategy and the science of behavior in organizations as much as I do (that is a tall order, but they are FABULOUS!), they quickly got on board and helped devise methods to achieve and measure the sub-goals involved in creating a compelling overall employee experience. A few examples below…

  • Use technology to enhance communication and drive efficiencies. We implemented a fantastic cloud-based Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that is slowly taking over the company! This tool can do just about anything and our Associates love how it has simplified administrative tasks. It also has a great communication board feature that allows everyone to share important industry information and thoughts in real time.
  • Foster an environment of continuous learning so we can provide expertise to our clients in the areas of Population Health, Payment Reform, and Patient-Centered Care & Outcomes. The company has always offered training through ARDX University (free for all Associates!), but we’ve really beefed up our offerings in 2017 to better enhance the competencies associated with individual roles in the organization. “Running a Business Within a Business” has been our most popular course with our Consultants, with other examples like “Persuade, Influence & Motivate,” “Using Trust & Innovation to Sell Ideas,” and our two-part “Developing Leaders Program” series which utilizes the Taking Flight with DiSC communication platform, bringing something for everyone. We are also fans of Think Tank discussions where a group of Associates get together to discuss healthcare trends, how they impact our business, and how we can use shared insights to offer more/better/creative solutions to our clients.
  • Ensure effective integration and inclusion of remote and local teams. This is measured by surveys and feedback obtained in roundtable sessions (virtual, of course!).
  • Adopt an enhanced performance management program. In 2017 we promoted regular feedback to quickly address any gaps as well as routinely acknowledge successes.
  • Promote and increase participation in our nationwide Corporate Social Responsibility Program. This is the core of ARDX… with a mission of improving the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of healthcare for our nation’s most vulnerable populations, it is easy to see why volunteerism is such a focus for and a benefit of working at ARDX.

The ARDX Talent & Culture team has always collected and analyzed metrics for routine HR functions (retention, time-to-fill positions, etc.), as well as survey information at different stages in an Associate’s “life cycle” (Interview Process, New Hire Orientation, Training Evaluation, Exit Survey). However, we’ve added Feedback Sessions and Roundtable Discussions within the last year to get targeted feedback from specific Associate groups. For example, our Remote Roundtable sessions earlier this year led to a complete overhaul of our corporate approach to technology/IT and more funds being allocated to that area. Most recently, we’ve designed and distributed an Associate Experience Survey that covers nine (9) categories and addresses all three (3) areas (both Learning & Culture in the first area) that define the Associate experience. Moving forward, we’ll collect this information three (3) times per year in order to cross-analyze it with all of our other data, determine important trends, and more quickly identify areas that need to be addressed and rectified.

The results of our first Associate/Employee Experience Survey are very exciting – we had a 64% response rate and the overall average score for all nine (9) categories is a 3.91 out of 5.0 (beating SHRM’s industry standard for 2016 by a full 0.1 of a point on their Employee Engagement survey!)*. We are definitely using it to keep doing what is working, to make improvements, and regularly communicate this to our Associates. The Talent & Culture team and I are very motivated by this and excited to continue the drive towards achieving the “Compelling Employee Experience” – stay tuned for more results to come!

*As of May 5, 2017, our response rate went up to 66% and the overall average score increased to 3.95 out of 5.0!

 

About the Author

Shannon Gougis is a seasoned human resources executive and is instrumental to driving best-in-class employee engagement within ARDX, as the Vice President of Talent & Culture.

She functions as a trusted C-suite partner, orchestrating the recruitment, retention, development and overall satisfaction of ARDX’s high-performance team. To fit with the ARDX pledge to foster a no-limits philosophy, Shannon leverages her broad experience to creatively and effectively land top talent from across the country. Additionally, she develops and launches innovative HR initiatives to enable the attainment of aggressive corporate objectives.