Well, that’s exactly what Rick Kennedy, senior human resources business partner for Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Fla., did to select candidates for the facility’s new, still-under-construction, children’s hospital in Central Florida. He set up a Family Advisory Council to meet with candidates and ask them the kinds of questions customers — i.e., patients and their families — care about.
Kennedy’s stroke of genius is so little-publicized, it’s not even out there on the web yet. I learned of it through this emailed write-up by Kennedy himself (pasted below) and I was so fascinated with the beauty of the idea, I decided to simply share his entire piece with you here.
Got me thinking: Could this be translated into other industries? Would there be industries where this simply wouldn’t work? (I couldn’t think of any. Maybe you can.) Would there be drawbacks to such an innovative hiring practice? (Couldn’t think of any there either.) Could this, in fact, open up a whole new chapter in recruiting and help reduce turnover by leaps and bounds? (Would love to hear your thoughts.)
Families Interview Candidates for New Hospital
Innovative Strategy Ensures Superior Recruitment and Builds Trust with Consumers
By Rick Kennedy, senior human resources partner for Nemours Children’s Hospital
As Human Resources professionals, we are continuously searching for ways to enhance our ability to recruit superior employees for our organizations. It’s an ongoing challenge within every industry we serve and requires us to consider how each candidate will impact our organization’s effective operation and leadership. Recently, I was challenged to examine recruitment from a new perspective. How would our customers – patients and their families – select candidates to work at our new children’s hospital inCentral Florida?
Recruitment has traditionally focused on internal stakeholders. We evaluate a candidate’s skills and experience, as well as behavioral qualities to ensure the candidate is both technically qualified and a fit for our organization’s culture. Is the candidate willing to perform services in a way that we think is best for the patient? Sure. But, it’s almost never asked if the candidate is willing to perform services in a way that the customer feels is best for themselves or their child. Nemours Children’s Hospital tasked its human resources team to challenge the status quo and create a new method for the recruitment and selection process that would forge a direct partnership between our customers and the hospital.
The Family Advisory Council (FAC) is comprised of diverse individuals whose experiences in pediatric health care are helping to shape the design and operation of Nemours Children’s Hospital. It was a challenge to prepare our FAC members with various interview skills that would help them ask the right questions to assess physicians and executive leadership candidates. First, we partnered with the FAC to structure appropriate questions. We then trained them to use behavioral interviewing techniques. While there was some initial trepidation, I was impressed by the professionalism of the FAC during each interview.
Feedback from FAC interviews has proved invaluable in the selection of the finest physicians and associates to manage our hospital. We have effectively avoided the potential pitfall of hiring a physician or administrative leader who may have met our organizational needs, but wasn’t a fit for the customer. We even selected one of our senior executive leaders over another candidate based on feedback from the FAC interview. Nemours Children’s Hospital will offer a unique family-centered care model that emphasizes open communication between caregivers and families. The family-centered care model can only be successful if we recruit physicians and clinicians who believe in the model and see the value of partnering with families to ensure the highest-level of patient care. After all, you can have the best physician or clinician on your staff, but it won’t help anyone if the patients and their families are not comfortable under their care.
The FAC was recognized with innovation awards from the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and Florida Hospital Association for its success and creativity in diversifying health care. Such recognition has generated high-quality prospects for our organization; thereby enhancing the human resource department’s contributions to our organization’s goals.
I look forward to seeing more organizations involve their consumers and stakeholders in the recruitment process. Imagine if you had a say in the educators who will teach your children in school, or what if you had an opportunity to meet financial planners your bank is considering to manage accounts like your own. Human resources professionals are now empowered to build a new level of trust between customers and organizations with recruitment strategies that ensure top-notch new hires who will undoubtedly cultivate loyalty to our organizations.
Rick Kennedy is senior human resources partner for Nemours Children’s Hospital opening this October in Orlando, Florida.
(Oh and full disclosure: that photo up top is stock art, not from Nemours.)