September 8, 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: Why was it recently decided to require supervisors to hold mid-year conversations with each employee about job performance? Isn't the current annual job review process enough? With everything that's going on, how will managers find time to do more?

Answer: The new requirement is a modest step to help VUMC retain its best employees and give all employees an improved understanding of their role within our organization.

In 1999, with the introduction of the performance development program, VUMC strengthened and standardized the annual job evaluation cycle. Ever since then, we've tried to make it clear that one conversation per year about job performance simply isn't enough: there needs to be an ongoing conversation.

We find that our best managers are already in the habit of regularly sitting down with their employees to discuss job performance.

Providing feedback to employees is one of the most important responsibilities of the supervisor. I'm responsible for evaluating the job performance of various members of the VUMC leadership team, so I know that it takes some time and effort to hold these conversations. There's simply no substitute. Organizations can't reach their potential until the performance of each individual is tightly linked with the goals of the work group and the broader organization.

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