Creating a Culture of Feedback at CHG Healthcare
Back in 2002, CHG Healthcare Services was average. Growth rates were average. Sales and revenue figures were average. Employee turnover rate was, well, average. But the executive team had no interest in simply being average. CHG wanted to be the largest and best healthcare staffing company in the country.
As a staffing company, CHG employs teams who work with hospitals, doctors, and nurses to fill placement needs all over the country. However, CHG’s moderately engaged corporate culture was restricting growth and its turnover rate of 48 percent (the industry average) made it virtually impossible to hire and train employees fast enough to grow at an accelerated pace.
The Culture Then
In 2002, CHG’s culture was similar to most companies. Communication was mostly top-down; divisional cultures were disparate and defined by the local leader; HR focused on general administrative practices. This resulted in an environment that was a “good place to work.” But without an engaging atmosphere, it was difficult to retain talent and difficult for employees—and the company—to grow.
CHG’s transformation started as an initiative to reduce turnover by seeking to understand the issues that caused a significant portion of strong workers to leave each year. Company leaders chose to focus on the value of their people, and out of that idea came their “Putting People First” program. Among other related initiatives, they determined they needed to collect feedback from their employees to find out what was really going on. They partnered with DecisionWise to implement an annual employee engagement survey. The feedback from employees was sometimes painful for the executive team to hear, but it provided many opportunities to identify and make improvements.
One of the most frequently mentioned themes from the employee engagement survey centered on leadership. Some leaders who were promoted over the years were the best “doers.” While they were excellent in their prior roles, most had minimal leadership experience. Thanks, in part, to feedback, CHG realized it needed to focus on solid and strong leadership to drive an effective, healthy culture. This led to the development of leadership competencies and the roll-out of 360-degree feedback and coaching for all leaders in the organization.
Gradually, CHG built a culture of feedback. Accountability and trust improved. Changes were made and employees knew that their feedback was heard and acted upon. This led to additional initiatives, including regular focus groups, leadership training, and comprehensive performance appraisals that further bolstered the strength of this now-thriving workplace culture.
The Culture Now
CHG knows that their employees are their most important asset. “Putting People First” is their defining core value and influences every decision. Effective leadership is a staple of the company’s culture. Employees rave about how much they love their jobs. Most important, CHG is now a “great place to work.”
CHG is at the top of our list of engaged organizations, with an incredible engagement score that consistently exceeds 90 percent (that means 90 percent of survey question responses are favorable). They have ranked as high as No. 3 on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, in the same league as titans like Google and SAS. They are the most profitable company in the healthcare staffing industry. Turnover is less than half the industry average, and CHG even managed to grow revenue and profits during the 2008–2011 recession while their industry peers saw profitability plummet. Not only is CHG a great place to work, but their business results have skyrocketed.
CHG continues to conduct annual employee engagement surveys, administer 360-degree feedback assessments for all leaders, and provide leadership training to maintain its momentum and adjust company priorities.
Founded in 1979, CHG Healthcare Services is one of the nation’s oldest and largest healthcare staffing firms. Through its trusted brands – CompHealth, Weatherby Healthcare, RNnetwork and Foundation Medical Staffing – the company provides temporary and permanent placement of physicians, allied health professionals and nurses to healthcare facilities across America. CHG prides itself on having a values-driven culture that focuses on Putting People First. To learn more about CHG’s award-winning culture, visit CHG Pulse.
DecisionWise, Inc. is a management consulting firm specializing in leadership and organization development using assessments, feedback, coaching and training. DecisionWise services include employee engagement surveys, 360-degree feedback, leadership coaching and organization development. DecisionWise was founded in 1996 and is privately held. With offices in the United States and The Netherlands, DecisionWise operates in over 70 countries and conducts surveys in over 30 languages.