Setting Performance Goals in a Hospital Environment

Goal setting concept - many uses in management seminars and training

A hospital is made up of many different departments, often including thousands of workers. With this in mind, it can be difficult to keep everyone on the same page and working towards common goals.

It goes without saying that every hospital is concerned with efficiency and cost savings.Unfortunately, these things don’t come easy. However, with a focus on performance goals, it’s possible to improve across the board.

Although it sounds easy to create performance goals, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Taking the right first step is critical and this entails the creation of a roadmap so all members of the team are working in the same direction.

According to a 2015 study conducted by Gallup, hospital performance management must be improved as soon as possible. Some of the key takeaways from this study include:

  • Current performance management strategies are not meeting expectations.
  • Hospitals need to do a better job selecting the right employees.
  • The implementation of a strengths-based approach often yields the result results.

With this in mind, it’s time to think about the future. It’s time to set performance goals with the idea of generating results in the near term.

Here are three steps for doing so:

1. Set goals that are clear and concise. It’s one thing to set goals. It’s another thing entirely to set goals that employees can understand. For example, it’s important to set goals during the on-boarding process. This gives new employees a better idea of what is expected and how progress is measured.

2. Track, track, and track some more. Many hospitals talk about setting goals. They believe this is a great way to keep employees motivated and to push the facility to new heights with each passing year.

But here’s the problem: they don’t take the time to track the results. Setting goals is the easy part. Tracking goals and making adjustments on the fly is much more difficult. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re going to set goals you need a system for tracking results. Without both, you’ll never experience the results you are hoping for.

3. Focus on communication. There’s no denying the fact that you set goals with the idea of saving money, generating more revenue, and preventing mistakes. But did you know this is also a good way to improve communication?

For example, the use of performance management software can help keep managers and employees on the same page at all times. Furthermore, it can be used to set and track goals, which allows all parties to communicate in a more efficient manner. Communication has long been a key to business success, and this definitely holds true in regards to all aspects of performance goals.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Now that we’ve discussed how to set performance goals, it’s time to consider something else: common mistakes that many hospitals have made (and continue to make) in this area.

1. Setting goals without discussing them with employees. Managers should be in charge of setting goals, but they need to do so with input from employees to ensure that both parties are working collectively to achieve success.

2. Confusing goals with expectations. This is a common mistake that can greatly hinder performance and efficiency in a hospital setting. There is a big difference between goals and expectations.

For example, adhering to all OSHA regulations is an expectation. This is not a goal, as falling short is simply not an option. It’s essential to be clear as to what’s a goal and what’s an expectation, as confusing the two can have a long reaching negative impact on the hospital as a whole.

3. Leaders who fail to accept responsibility for goals they are directly responsible for. When a leader has direct control over a goal, he or she should take all responsibility for ensuring that everything possible is done to reach the desired result.

Hiding from departmental goals and hoping that somebody else steps in to take the lead is a mistake that an effective leader never makes.

4. Choosing the easiest goals as opposed to those that are most important. Some managers choose the goals they know they can meet, as this puts them in a good light with their boss or supervisor.

However, this brings to the forefront an important question:is the goal important in the overall scheme of the organization? Reaching easy goals instead of focusing on those that are most important is not a cause for celebration. It’s an issue that should be addressed and resolved as soon as possible.

5. Chasing rewards, not the outcome. Attaching prizes to a goal will provide incentive for every team member to work harder. But here’s the problem with this scenario: many people will begin to chase the reward as opposed to the outcome itself. It’s important for senior leadership and their staff to set goals, often with a reward at the end of the tunnel.

However, if this becomes more important than the outcome itself, the work along the way may not be up to par. Wouldn’t it be nice if setting performance goals in a hospital environment was as simple as one, two, three?

With this article, you should now have a better idea of how to set goals, which mistakes to avoid, and how to ensure that every employee is working together for the greater good of the organization. With the right approach, setting performance goals can help any hospital achieve greater success.

About the Author:

Erik brings a wealth of experience with an outstanding track record as an executive who has held a wide range of operational and strategic roles. Throughout his career Erik has helped organizations identify, evaluate and capitalize on market opportunities.