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Indiana University Health Transforms its Hiring Process with HealthcareSource

Learn how IU Health has transformed its hiring process, reduced its time to fill, and lowered first year turnover rate by using the combination of Position Manager and HealthcareSource Staff and Leadership Assessments.


As health care systems make the shift to becoming accountable care organizations, how can they ensure the highest HCAHPS ratings and reimbursement for services provided? A growing number of health care organizations are shifting their focus so that they are hiring not only the most highly skilled nurses but those who also have the best customer service characteristics and behavioral competencies.

Each year,  the Nursing and Patient Care Services Recruitment staff at Indiana University Health (IU Health) Academic Health Center, hires approximately 2,000 nurses to satisfy the growing demands of their central Indiana facilities. When Lydia Ostermeier joined as the Director of Nursing and Patient Care Services Recruitment in 2002, she recognized the need to update IU Health’s applicant tracking system.

Seeking to transform hiring
In 2002, IU Health took as long as 80-100 days to fill RN positions.  After investigating the situation, Ostermeier concluded that the organization’s antiquated applicant tracking system led to lost applications, lack of follow-up with candidates, and failure to notify recruiters about candidates who were interested in IU Health. “Recruiters, managers and candidates were unhappy with our hiring process,” explains Ostermeier.

Ostermeier implemented a newer applicant tracking system in 2003, but still wasn’t happy with the return on investment. “Though the system was expensive, it didn’t satisfy all our needs,” continues Ostermeier. In fact, IU Health had to call the vendor for custom reports and the turnaround could take weeks.

A proven and affordable solution After hearing about the capabilities of HealthcareSource Position Manager® – including their reporting capabilities, the ability to customize screening questions, and the automatic notification of recruiters when candidates applied – Ostermeier was impressed. “It seemed too good to be true, especially when we learned it cost one third of what we were paying for our current system and we could quickly and easily be up and running,” recalls Ostermeier.

After talking to many satisfied HealthcareSource clients, Ostermeier and a colleague presented the business case to their executive board. “It was easy for our executives to see that Position Manager was a smart choice,” says Ostermeier.

Quickly realizing ROI Within a few months, IU Health was using Position Manager. Now, even in a highly competitive job market, IU Health is able to fill its RN positions within 30 - 40 days. Just as important, recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates are much happier with the process. At the same time, Ostermeier and other HR directors can track any data they choose. “With all metrics at our fingertips, it’s simple to produce reports for our executives,” continues Ostermeier. Ostermeier sees so much value in Position Manager that she recommends that every healthcare facility in the IU Health System use it. “It’s best practice for us,” continues Ostermeier.

Extending the value
After the implementation of Position Manager, IU Health still lacked a definitive way to ensure that new hires possess the behaviors relating to favorable patient satisfaction results. The need for a behavioral assessment was directly related to accomplishing its long-term service excellence and new-hire retention initiatives.

Fully satisfied with Position Manager, IU Health decided to deploy HealthcareSource Staff AssessmentSM, formerly known as TestSource HSI and HealthcareSource Leadership AssessmentSM, formerly known as TestSource HLI.

Staff Assessment is a behavioral-based, pre-employment assessment that evaluates critical HCAHPS competencies such as, service excellence, compassion, teamwork, and increases new-hire retention. Leadership Assessment is a behavioral assessment used to select potential leaders and develop current leaders within the organization, by evaluating ten healthcare leadership competencies, including critical thinking.

Because these assessments integrate with Position Manager, candidates are automatically linked to the Staff Assessment or Leadership Assessment as part of the application process. With Staff Assessment and Leadership Assessment, IU Health can now identify the very best applicants and leaders in terms of customer service, retention and job performance. “Our leadership team won’t interview candidates that haven’t gone through the assessment,” explains Ostermeier. Hiring managers appreciate the fact that the assessment provides custom, behavioral interview questions to delve into areas where a candidate’s behavior is in question because of a low score.

These assessments help screen-in top performing candidates, providing IU Health with a service-oriented candidate pool and a lower first-year turnover. For RN hires, IU Health has reduced first-year churn from 33% to 17% — a tremendous ROI. Plus, because Position Manager, Staff Assessment and Leadership Assessment are integrated, it’s easy to pull system-wide metrics to determine vacancy or turnover rates.

Taking hiring to the next level
Combined, these solutions have enabled IU Health to improve its hiring process. “Once candidates appear in our inboxes, we know they meet our qualifications,” says Ostermeier. As a result, IU Health minimizes the wrong hiring decisions – and increases the chances of attracting high-caliber talent. “Our hiring process is one of the first experiences that candidates have with IU Health. Now candidates walk away with a very favorable impression of us as an employer of choice,” says Ostermeier.

In addition, IU Health can be more strategic in its hiring.  “As we work on more workforce development projections, we need to anticipate the needs of our hiring managers and collaborate with recruiters. All our tools and processes must be preeminent in order for our organization to move to the next level. With Position Manager, Staff Assessment and Leadership Assessment, we are poised for success,” concludes Ostermeier.