Talent recruitment and retention is a growing challenge for healthcare organizations around the world because of lower overall birthrate, leading to fewer potential workers, and Baby Boomers reaching retirement.

According to US Census Bureau projections, the number of Americans who are 65 and older will double to 88.5 million between 2010 and 2050, which means a greater patient load for healthcare workers – as well as an exodus of older employees. The move toward value-based care also has critical implications for the industry as it pressures organizations to produce the best outcomes while simultaneously reducing costs.

Because of the aging population and the move to value-based care, the need to quickly find high-performing clinicians and staff members is more pressing than ever. Technology can play a major role in bridging this talent gap – namely talent science, which is a process that can create predictive models that helps organizations better select, retain, and develop the right talent across the entire employee life cycle.

The first step is the assessment, which extracts employees’ “behavioral DNA”--the measurement of 39 behavioral, cognitive and cultural traits--and analyzes it against job related performance data that has been collected separately from identified high performing current employees. Developed by a team of PhDs in behavioral science based on years of investment in big data, such traits include ambition, discipline, energy, acceptance of authority, attention to detail, flexibility, conscientiousness, and empathy.

The behavioral and performance data are combined to generate a performance profile for a specific position, providing a consistent structure and a common language for evaluation.

Once a unique profile has been created and validated, prospective candidates take a pre-employment assessment, and organizations view a report comparing the potential employee’s behavioral DNA against the ideal profile for the position. The report includes recommendation levels indicative of how well the candidate’s assessment score matches established parameters related to the open position.

Each report explains why a score was earned, and creates customized guidelines for each candidate covering best-fit scores, career path planning, interview questions, onboarding, coaching and feedback, allowing hiring managers to consider any potential disconnects, and evaluate a candidate before the first interview, resulting in better employee selection.

By comparing specific traits of existing employees to their job-related performance data like safety records, healthcare organizations can create a custom blueprint for each open position, and assign employees to departments where their traits are best suited.

For instance, a nurse who scores very high for having empathy as a personality trait may be assigned to the maternity ward, where those skills can be fully utilized, as opposed to the emergency room, where a nurse who scores high for flexibility would be best suited. As a result, employees are happier, leading to lower turnover rates and reduced costs.

Barry Chaiken, M.D., is a health information technology veteran and CMIO at business software vendor Infor Healthcare

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