The North Broward Hospital District, one of the five largest public health care systems in the United States, is a nonprofit community health system that offers a variety of different health care services at 41 South Florida sites. With approximately 33,389 admissions, an average of 847 patients per day and 528,742 emergency, hospital and satellite and outpatient visits last year, the district’s learning team has to actively uphold and develop relationships with executives, leaders and stakeholders in order to successfully align its 41 health care facilities and drive strategic learning initiatives for the greater good of the organization. Chief Learning Officer Carol Maietta and her learning team have tactically developed such relationships and involved these primary leaders in the organizational learning and development processes to accomplish just that.
“The most important lesson has been to include executives, leaders and stakeholders in the processes as early as possible. We learned that early on and decided to ask for high-level executive program advisers (vice president and above) for each initiative, such as mentor and succession programs, leadership academies, etc.,” Maietta explained. “These advisers serve as liaisons between the board, other executives, program stakeholders and participants, and design staffs. They also serve as a sounding board for ideas and a resource for design teams. Along with this, we implemented design teams that include non-education staff, such as potential target audience members, managers, design staffs and advisers.”
For North Broward Hospital District, the involvement of the primary leaders in its learning initiatives has not only enhanced the organization’s overall alignment, but has improved the alignment of learning initiatives with business objectives and strategies as well. “I have found that the better relationships that I had, the better alignment I could have because people accept your ideas and are more likely to accept you linking learning to their strategies,” Maietta said. “People often become very protective of their strategies and may not initially be receptive to your learning initiatives. So it is really about bridging that gap about learning and strategy with great relationships.”
It was not only important for Maietta and her team to bridge the gap between learning initiatives and business strategies. It was also important initially to perform comprehensive workforce gap analyses in order to prove that such learning initiatives were needed. Maietta knew that in order to earn the support of the organization’s primary leaders, she would need to identify why an initiative was needed at this time, at this location and with these employees. The best way to accomplish that, she said, was to uncover both organizational and workforce gaps.
“To get whatever resources, students, interns, analysts that work on sites, to really tap into all of the organization’s resources that are available in order to get the information needed to uncover what the gaps really were and then to make sure that the higher-level executives and the CEO agree that these were the gaps that the organization should focus on was critical,” Maietta said. “Then putting a team of people—the workforce planning committee—together, meeting on a regular basis and sitting with these high-level people, talking about what the resources that we needed were to address these gaps. So all of this was important for this interdisciplinary high-level workforce planning committee.”
The primary leaders are extensively involved in the learning processes and show support in a variety of ways.
“We continue to support, maintain and modify all of the mentioned systems and processes put in place in response to our identified workforce needs. We also continue to monitor the health care environment for issues and trends that will impact our workforce now and in the future, and we proactively and strategically adapt with new learning and development interventions,” Maietta said. “But most importantly, we stay focused on the goals, continue to monitor and communicate our progress and invest in our future.”
–Cari McLean, firstname.lastname@example.org