March 18, 2015 – by Jeroen Geelhoed & Otie Hauser &samhoud consultancy
Care organizations are facing major challenges. The demand for elderly care is increasing significantly, at least in Europe. More and more medical possibilities exist and critical care customers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable. At the same time this growth potential is impeded by two factors: a tight labour market and pressure on the healthcare budget.
Creating customer value, employee value and financial value is a major task. Icare, a home-care organization that provides nursing and care, is in the middle of this playing field and therefore had a major challenge. The organization managed to turn the tide and created and constantly improved sustainable value. With the help of &samhoud, Icare initiated the ‘Constantly Better’ programme to ensure better results for customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and finance.
What they did
The approach comprised three main components. The first involved developing a common vision and strategy. Two hundred people assisted with the development thereof. The strategy was translated into team plans together with various managers. Because of that everyone in the organization, from the management team to people on the workfloor, know where the organization wishes to go and how they can contribute to this in day-to-day activities.
The second main component was leadership development. The management team was assisted in the development of inspirational and disciplinary leadership. In addition to various courses, managers also received coaching on the job and feedback about their exemplary behaviour. In a very practical manner, they acquired skills in time management, operational management, disciplining, giving and receiving feedback, communicating and improving the effectiveness of a team.
The vision and strategy were also translated into managers’ personal development plans. Vision and strategy on the one hand and leadership development on the other are prerequisites for the third main component: embed operational management and the Lean method within the organization so that the vision and strategy can also truly be realized. Each team is assisted with continuous improvement and operational management. The customer’s voice was constantly brought within the organization and each team discussed the progress and results of employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and financial values during weekly stand ups (performance dialogues).
Different processes are simplified and improved significantly in line with this. The planning process was simplified. Teams now draw up their own schedule. The schedule is therefore more stable and customers complain less. The customer intake process has improved considerably. Capacity management has also changed in order to harmonise actual customer demand more effectively with team composition. In addition, Icare employees were trained to implement operational management and Lean practices within the organization. Districts nurses notice the effect: ‘’ As care providers we are actually always customer-focused. We do our utmost to ensure this. But now we are also more aware of why it is important to focus on employee value and financial value as well.’’
Because of the ‘Constantly Better’ programme, Icare created lasting value for customers, stakeholders and employees. Customer satisfaction was alreadyhigh (a score of 8.2, scale 1 to 10), but has now even risen to 8.4.This is largely due to greater focus on customers and the elimination ofadministrative wastage to an extent. A dictrict nurse notice: ‘’A lot has changed. Take our administrative work processes, for example. These have become significantly leaner. In other words, they comprise fewer steps. It now costs me considerably less time every day.’’ Furthermore, customers notice that more time isdevoted to them and indicate this during dialogues with district nurses andin customer arenas. There have also been a number of financialdevelopments as return on investment has increased substantially.
Employee value has also grown. Employee satisfaction is 7.2 and 7.5 respectively. Personnel who used to complain in the past are now in good spirits again. Employees are increasingly proud of themselves in their work, their team and the club in which they work. Backpacks bearing the Icare logo are now a popular item. And employees are also putting Icare stickers on their cars!