The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat
poll asked healthcare leaders: What is most important when hiring staff? The majority (69%) answered “cultural fit,” while 13% responded “previous experience,” 9% specified “technical competency” and the remaining 9% reported “other.”
Respondents who answered “other” were then asked to elaborate on their choice. Healthcare leaders responded:
- “All of the above are important”
- “Character, attitude and personality”
- “The intangibles — work ethic, problem-solving, adaptability”
- “Hungry, humble, smart”
This poll was conducted on April 30, 2019, with 1,370 applicable responses.
Without quality staff, everything from patient experience to practice operations falters. For a medical practice administrator, there is a balancing act between maintaining proper staffing ratios, ensuring technical competency and assessing a potential employee’s attitude. How do we do this? First, we must determine whether we are getting the right people in the door.
Shelly Waggoner, MS, CEBS, SHRM-SCP, vice president, Human Resources, MGMA was interviewed for the MGMA Research & Analysis report, Factors of a Positive Culture, Behavior Modeling, Communication, Engagement & Empowerment
. When asked about the recruitment process, Waggoner said, “What we’re really looking for is that an individual can be self-reflective in terms of what they do well, what they can do better and what impact their work has on others. Those are all examples of their self-awareness. - employees with a strong sense of emotional intelligence are typically much easier to mentor and coach”
What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?
Susan Childs, FACMPE, president, Evolution Healthcare Consulting, describes EQ as being made up of four core skills — motivation, self-awareness, empathy and social skills — under two primary competencies, personal and social. According to Childs,
Personal competence is being aware of your emotions and managing behavior and tendencies. These skills allow you to focus on individual behavior and interpersonal interactions. They can help you to be encouraging and positive and recognize when to ask for help. Social competence is composed of social awareness and relationship management. Perceiving how you come across to others and understanding moods and behaviors can allow you to manage interactions for better outcomes.
These two competencies, when aligned, help individuals quickly adapt to changing scenarios and make better decisions based on all factors present.
What tools do we need to identify these skills?
According to Kathy Jordan, chief executive officer and founder, Jordan Search Consultants,
One of the primary tools to help identify EQ is personality testing. There’s a reason the pre-employment testing industry is currently worth $2 billion and growing by 20% annually. There are countless personality tests on the market from which an organization can choose. The three most common to the healthcare industry are the DiSC (dominance, influence, steadiness, conscientiousness) assessment, Hogan Personality Inventory and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. While they are not an exact science and should not replace traditional recruitment efforts, they can provide additional insight that will prompt additional interview questions.
There are many benefits to understanding how EQ plays into the recruitment process and during day-to-day work including: reduced turnover, higher quality of care, increased employee satisfaction and identifying leadership characteristics.
Clinical competencies are no longer enough in a time when patient experience, population health, team-based care and community initiatives are becoming more integrated into the medical practice. Identifying candidates with high EQ is one way you can build stronger teams.
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Stefan v. Jarmusz