Advent Health CHRO: Great managers key to Great Employee Experience

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HR is faced with the challenge of finding innovative ways to craft a better employee experience.  Advent Health CHRO Olesea Azevedo says the best place to start is at the managerial level.  HR Exchange Network editor Mason Stevenson had an opportunity to sit down with Azevedo at the CHRO Exchange and have an in-depth discussion about the employee experience and the role of the manager.

Mason Stevenson: Thank you for joining us.  To start it off, if you could fix one challenge within employee experience, and you had unlimited resources, what would it be, and what would that solution look like? 

Olesea Azevedo: Mason, it's great to be able to spend some time with you. Very recently, I had an opportunity to read about Gallup’s leaders research around employee engagement. It resonated with me, because it really focused on the fact that the manager is actually the most impactful aspect of changing the employee experience. While we focus on technology and tools, all those things are helpful and important, at the end of the day, the relationship that the employee has with their manager has a big impact on their experience. While we build cultures as an organization as a whole, at the end of the day, what resonates with that employee, and what keeps them within an organization, is their leader.

So if I had unlimited resources, especially in the healthcare environment, where managers, just like in other industries have so many responsibilities and are pulled, especially that middle management, when they are pulled in so many directions, I would want to figure out a way to really simplify the manager’s priorities to allow the time for them to be able to connect and build personal relationships with their direct report, in a way that provides them the ability to coach them, to talk about their priorities, to have meaningful conversations.

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I don't believe that I have seen quite the perfect solution for that yet, because it's so complex, and it has many different components that go along with it. So figuring that out, I think would be a great opportunity and something that we as an organizations are challenged with, and are doing research around figuring out.

Mason Stevenson: You mentioned some of the components that are involved. Can you notate what some of those are, and what the details around those components are? 

Olesea Azevedo: Sure. I think about the employee experience from beginning to end, ‘’How many times have you had a manager who has an employee starting that week, and they completely forgot that they were starting?’’ I’ve had those conversations, they're aware, and I’m grateful for that. But at the same time, the impact that it has on that employee, who's starting on their first week, and the manager perhaps forgot that they were coming or didn't have their access or didn't really make it a special event, and given them opportunity to really connect and create that connection with their team. So I think about all of the different touch points. So onboarding is a key aspect of that employee experience.

Then I think about the ongoing conversations around performance, and the way that we've traditionally done them has been very much focused around the manager, really, with the best intent, focused on (I’m going to use some harsh word) casting judgment, and how I see you as a person, and how I see you as a professional. I think that we have a huge opportunity to really shift the way that leaders coach team members and employees around, focusing on their strengths and figuring out what are they best at, and how do you leverage their strengths for their development to really support their growth.

I think about all the different opportunities that leaders have to be able to connect with team members around their experience, and I think that certainly technology is going to be helpful in that. But having that meaningful interaction in creating space and capacity for leaders to be able to do that work, I believe is very meaningful for the employee experience across multiple industries. 

Mason Stevenson: What are some of the technology pieces related to onboarding, and then just related to the employee experience across the board? I know that's a very broad question, especially when you consider just the engagement between employees’ engagement with the employee to the company or the organization. So what are some of those, maybe one or two critical pieces of technology you that you think needs to kind of be there, or at least most companies need to look at, when they're thinking about?

Olesea Azevedo: So one of the things that we recognize is that we have an opportunity in healthcare to become closer to the consumer. As part of that work, our organization has built capabilities in creating a design center, that has expertise around design thinking empathy research for the consumer side of the business.

In human resources, as we looked at the opportunity we have with employees, and the fact that in many cases, they are consumer, they really are employees as well, we've partnered with the design center to really look at the entire life cycle and figure out where we have an opportunity to reshape that component of the employee experience.

One of the things that I’m also intrigued about is different aspects of predicting retention as part of the employee experience, and really looking at the different drivers and different aspects of the employee experience, everything from where you are within the pay range, and how long you drive in to and from work, or a vacancy that your leader has had on the team, so how those different drivers impact retention.

So we've been doing work and working towards that predictive capability. 

Mason Stevenson: Let’s end it there. Thank you so much for your time.

Olesea Azevedo: Absolutely, it was my pleasure.