FOCUS OF MANAGEMENT: SELF, UNIT/TEAM, AND ORGANIZATION Effective health care management involves exercising professional judgment and skills and carrying out the aforementioned managerial functions at three levels: self, unit/team, and organization wide. First and foremost, the individual manager must be able to effectively manage himself or herself. This means managing time, information, space, and materials; being responsive and following through with peers, supervisors, and clients; maintaining a positive attitude and high motivation; and keeping a current understanding of management techniques and substantive issues of health care management. Drucker (2005) suggests that managing yourself also involves knowing your strengths, how you perform, your values, where you belong, and what you can contribute, as well as taking responsibility for your relationships. Managing yourself also means developing and applying appropriate technical, interpersonal, and conceptual skills and competencies and being comfortable with them, in order to be able to effectively move to the next level— that of supervising others.
The second focus of management is the unit/team level. The expertise of the manager at this level involves managing others in terms of effectively completing
the work. Regardless of whether you are a senior manager, mid-level manager, or supervisor, you will be “supervising” others as expected in your assigned role. This responsibility includes assigning work tasks, review and modification of assignments, monitoring and review of individual performance, and carrying out the management functions described earlier to ensure excellent delivery of services. This focal area is where the actual work gets done. Performance reflects the interaction of the manager and the employee, and it is incumbent on the manager to do what is needed to shape the performance of individual employees. The focus of management at this echelon recognizes the task interdependencies among staff and the close coordination that is needed to ensure that work gets completed efficiently and effectively.
The third management focus is at the organizational level. This focal area reflects the fact that managers must work together as part of the larger organization to ensure organization-wide performance and organizational viability. In other words, the success of the organization depends upon the success of its individual parts, and effective collaboration is needed to ensure that this occurs. The range of clinical and nonclinical activities that occur within a health care organization requires that managers who head individual units work closely with other unit managers to provide services. Sharing of information, collaboration, and communication are essential for success. The hierarchy looks to the contribution of each supervised unit as it pertains to the whole. Individual managers’ contributions to the overall performance of the organization—in terms of various performance measures such as cost, quality, satisfaction, and access—are important and measured.
ROLE OF THE MANAGER IN ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE Every organization has a distinct culture, known as the beliefs, attitudes, and behavior that are shared among organizational members. Organizational culture is commonly defined as the character, personality, and experience of organizational life i.e., what the organization really “is” (Scott, Mannion, Davies, & Marshall, 2003). Culture prescribes the way things are done, and is defined, shaped, and reinforced by the management team. All managers play a role in establishing the culture of a health care organization, and in taking the necessary leadership action to sustain, and in some cases change, the culture. Culture is
shaped by the values, mission, and vision for the organization. Values are principles the organization believes in and shape the organization’s purpose, goals, and day-to-day behaviors. Adopted values provide the foundation for the organization’s activities and include such principles as respect, quality service, and innovation. The mission of the organization is its fundamental purpose, or what the organization seeks to achieve. The vision of the organization specifies the desired future state for the organization and reflects what the organization wants to be known and recognized for in the future. Statements of values, mission, and vision result from the organizational strategic planning process. These statements are communicated widely throughout the organization and to the community and shape organizational strategic and operational actions. Increasingly, organizations are establishing codes of conduct or standards of behavior that all employees must follow (Studer, 2003). These standards of behavior align with the values, mission, and vision. The role of managers in the oversight of standards of behavior is critical in several respects: for setting expectations for staff behavior, modelling the behavior, measuring staff performance, and improving staff performance. Mid- level and lower-level managers are instrumental to organization-wide adoption and embracing of the culture as they communicate desired behaviors and reinforce culture through modelling expectations through their own behaviors. For example, a value of customer service or patient focus requires that managers ensure proper levels of service by their employees via clarifying expectations and providing internal customer service to their own staff and other managers. Furthermore, managers can measure and evaluate employee compliance with organizational values and standards of behavior by reviewing employee performance and working with staff to improve performance. Performance evaluation will be explored in a later chapter in this text.
ROLE OF THE MANAGER IN TALENT MANAGEMENT In order to effectively master the focal areas of management and carry out the required management functions, management must have the requisite number and types of highly motivated employees. From a strategic perspective, health care organizations compete for labor, and it is commonly accepted today that high- performing health care organizations are dependent upon individual human performance, as discussed further in Chapter 12. Many observers have advocated for health care organizations to view their employees as strategic assets who can
create a competitive advantage (Becker, Huselid, & Ulrich, 2001). Therefore, human resources management has been replaced in many health care organizations with talent management. The focus has shifted to securing and retaining the talent needed to do the job in the best way, rather than simply filling a role (Huselid, Beatty, & Becker, 2005). As a result, managers are now focusing on effectively managing talent and workforce issues because of the link to organizational performance (Griffith, 2009).
Beyond recruitment, managers are concerned about developing and retaining those staff who are excellent performers. Many health care organizations are creating high-involvement organizations that identify and meet employee needs through their jobs and the larger organizational work setting (Becker et al., 2001). One of the critical responsibilities of managers in talent management is promoting employee engagement, which describes the motivation and commitment of staff to contribute to the organization. There are several strategies used by managers to develop and sustain employee engagement, as well as to develop and maintain excellent performers. These include formal methods such as offering training programs; providing leadership development programs; identifying employee needs and measuring employee satisfaction through engagement surveys; providing continuing education, especially for clinical and technical fields; and enabling job enrichment. In addition, managers use informal methods such as conducting periodic employee reviews, soliciting employee feedback, conducting rounds and employee huddles, offering employee suggestion programs, and other methods of managing employee relations and engagement. These topics are explored in more detail in a later chapter in this book.
ROLE OF THE MANAGER IN ENSURING HIGH PERFORMANCE At the end of the day, the role of the manager is to ensure that the unit, service, division, or organization he or she leads achieves high performance. What exactly is meant by high performance? To understand performance, one has to appreciate the value of setting and meeting goals and objectives for the unit/service and organization as a whole, in terms of the work that is being carried out. Goals and objectives are desired end points for activity and reflect strategic and operational directions for the organization. They are specific, measurable, meaningful, and time oriented. Goals and objectives for individual units should reflect the
overarching needs and expectations of the organization as a whole because, as the reader will recall, all entities are working together to achieve high levels of overall organizational performance. Studer (2003) views the organization as needing to be results oriented, with identified pillars of excellence as a framework for the specific goals of the organization. These pillars are people (employees, patients, and physicians), service, quality, finance, and growth. Griffith (2000) refers to high- performing organizations as being championship organizations—that is, they expect to perform well on different yet meaningful measures of performance. Griffith further defines the “championship processes” and the need to develop performance measures in each of the following: governance and strategic management; clinical quality, including customer satisfaction; clinical organization (caregivers); financial planning; planning and marketing; information services; human resources; and plant and supplies. For each championship process, the organization should establish measures of desired performance that will guide the organization. Examples of measures include medication errors, surgical complications, patient satisfaction, staff turnover rates, employee satisfaction, market share, profit margin, and revenue growth, among others. In turn, respective divisions, units, and services will set targets and carry out activities to address key performance processes. The manager’s job, ultimately, is to ensure these targets are met by carrying out the previously discussed management functions. A control process for managers has been advanced by Ginter, Swayne, and Duncan (2002) that describes five key steps in the performance management process: set objectives, measure performance, compare performance with objectives, determine reasons for deviation, and take corrective action. Management’s job is to ensure that performance is maintained or, if below expectations, improved.
Stakeholders, including insurers, state and federal governments, and consumer advocacy groups, are expecting, and in many cases demanding, acceptable levels of performance in health care organizations. These groups want to make sure that services are provided in a safe, convenient, low-cost, and high-quality environment. For example, The Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) has set minimum standards for health care facilities operations that ensure quality, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has set standards for measuring performance of health plans, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has established a website that compares hospital performance along a number of critical dimensions. In addition, CMS has provided incentives to health care organizations by paying for performance on measures of clinical care and not paying for care resulting from never events i.e.,
shocking health outcomes that should never occur in a health care setting such as wrong site surgery (e.g., the wrong leg) or hospital-acquired infections (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, n.d.). Health insurers also have implemented pay-for-performance programs for health care organizations based on various quality and customer service measures.
In addition to meeting the reporting requirements of the aforementioned organizations, many health care organizations today use varying methods of measuring and reporting the performance measurement process. Common methods include developing and using dashboards or balanced scorecards that allow for a quick interpretation of organizational performance across a number of key measures (Curtright, Stolp-Smith, & Edell, 2000; Pieper, 2005). Senior administration uses these methods to measure and communicate performance on the total organization to the governing board and other critical constituents. Other managers use these methods at the division, unit, or service level to profile its performance. In turn, these measures are also used to evaluate managers’ performance and are considered in decisions by the manager’s boss regarding compensation adjustments, promotions, increased or reduced responsibility, training and development, and, if necessary, termination or reassignment.