August 25, 2006

elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: Regarding employee satisfaction results, how will we hold low performing managers accountable?

Answer: Employee satisfaction is the engine for elevate, so we want to be sure that managers and faculty leaders give appropriate attention to all issues known to affect employee attitudes at VUMC.

Employee satisfaction, measured in various ways, figures significantly in annual job performance reviews for all VUMC managers. In addition, some 300 managers are entered in a bonus compensation plan that includes incentives for meeting employee satisfaction targets.

We've asked managers to document their participation in elevate through ways such as employee “rounding,” sending thank you notes to employees in recognition of good work, communicating organizational progress to work groups, and so on.

Should we choose, this documentation gives us the ability to audit these management activities. As the elevate steering committee prepared to set priorities for the coming year, I asked the committee members for their suggestions, and I've found that nearly everyone in the group thinks it's time to set up added manager accountability for organizational goals, including our goals for employee satisfaction and retention.

Though it's too soon to say where this consensus about accountability might lead us, I look forward to pursuing this theme with the steering committee in the coming months.

— Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs