As a healthcare organization, it's important to ensure your institution can effectively manage change. This involves introducing new methods for success while maintaining the same or better standard of service. If you want to ensure a smooth transition, there are several things to keep in mind. Consider these five things to know about a support services transition to help navigate your hospital through this process without compromising patient or associate experience.
Leadership engagement is a non-negotiable for a successful transition. In a support services transition, hospital leadership needs to play an active role for a couple reasons. First, when leadership is actively engaged, their participation sets an example for other people who are involved and can inspire them to follow suit. In addition, leadership has the ability to set the tone and motivate others whose involvement is also critical to transition’s success.
- Leadership engagement is essential
Hospital leaders who stay close to the transition process can help ensure the right resources are identified and the right people have a seat at the table. When leadership stays involved in the transition process from start to finish, they can also help mitigate risks. Since they know their organization inside and out, they also have the ability to step in quickly and identify solutions when needed.
- Keep communication strategic and tailored
In the same way that effective communication helps build healthy relationships, communication during a support services transition can help build the foundation for a healthy partnership. Support service transitions require communication that is both strategic and customized.
Strategic communication ensures that everyone who is involved in the transition will receive the right information at the right time. Because hospitals have a wide range of audiences – from hospital leadership, to managers, nurses, frontline staff and more – tailored messages to each group ensures each everyone feels seen and fully understands all expectations. A frontline foodservice worker, for example has different communication needs than a nurse at your hospital. Both parties are impacted by the transition, but in different ways.
When Compass One transitions hospitals to our services, we bring in a team dedicated to communication; collaboration between our communications team and our new client’s communication team helps to keep messaging clear, tight, and in line with the culture of each transitioning facility.
- Allocate dedicated Human Resources support
Another area that requires a special focus during a transition is Human Resources (HR). Transitioning to a new support services partner isn’t just about transitioning a service, it’s about transitioning people. Associates who are impacted by transitions understandably have many questions about their role, pay, benefits, scheduling and more.
Make sure HR resources are available to answer all questions and also help walk transitioning associates through any paperwork. On-site benefits meetings are another great way to build rapport, and are one of several HR transition best practices we use with our clients.
- Utilize a single point of contact to drive the transition
Transitions have a lot of moving pieces, and people. Even though everyone is working toward the same goal, simply having everyone aiming for the same outcome isn’t enough. Make sure a there is a single point of contact from each side who can help drive the transition. This person’s job is to help hold internal and external stakeholders accountable, communicate progress updates, and identify and mitigate risk.
Compass One dedicates a Project Manager for transitions which takes the burden of daily transition tasks off the operational leads and so they can be more hands-on at the transitioning hospital. The Project Manager can also function as the liaison between our support teams and the client’s team to ensure a more streamlined communication approach. Often referred to by our teams as “air traffic control,” the project manager role is a crucial member of the transition leadership team.
- Create a plan and follow the plan
Compass Group transitions about one billion dollars in new business each year. As part of Compass Group, Compass One has proven processes, templates, tools, and best practices refined from extensive healthcare transition experience. We’ve learned that using a standardized plan ensures we stick to our proven processes, while also leaving room to customize to our client’s needs. Here are a few elements we recommend having in your transition plan:
- Create a team of dedicated subject matter experts to help capture all critical tasks related to each discipline
- Outline a communication and governance structure to streamline information sharing and decision making
- Map out each transition phase with appropriate lead times so that Go Live day is on time, and as smooth as possible
- Highlight key milestones, deliverables and potential obstacles in advance
- Identify key components, like Information Technology, which impact other pieces of the transition and could create delays if not properly addressed
While change can be intimidating, there are steps your hospital hospitals can take as you approach a transition to ensure success. Engage leadership from the beginning, and clearly communicate throughout the entire process. Make sure you have dedicated HR resources from both the incoming support services provider, and your hospital ready. Simplify everything by streamlining communication through a single point of contact and follow your plan.