Magazine article Workforce Management

Reduce Employee Turnover, Build Customer Loyalty

Magazine article Workforce Management

Reduce Employee Turnover, Build Customer Loyalty

Article excerpt

DISNEY INSTITUTE

On the surface, theme park entertainment and academic medicine may seem worlds apart. But the University of Chicago Hospital (UCH) found much in common with the Walt Disney World Resort. Both organizations share a commitment to service excellence and customer satisfaction. Both serve a diverse audience with high expectations. So UCH looked to Disney Institute to learn more about how Disney implemented successful change across its global organization to increase employee retention and customer loyalty.

With Disney Institute's best practices for leadership, loyalty, and quality service as their guide, UCH was able to quickly identify the multiple causes of its high turnover rate and create a custom training program to address each challenge. The cultural change initiative, in partnership with Disney Institute, resulted in a dramatic 33% reduction in employee turnover and produced a 6% increase, to 91%, in customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Identifying the Weak Spots

It was evident that organizational success such as Disney's-and bottom-line profit-could best be attained if employee pride and affiliation to UCH was so strong that it would inevitably drive patient satisfaction and loyalty.

To build a culture where employee pride and loyalty could flourish, UCH and Disney Institute created a new vision for preparing the UCH workforce for the future-a vision that required breaking away from the traditional notion of conducting one-time training events and mandating education solely for the purpose of regulatory compliance.

"We used the Disney Institute experience as a means to strategically link employee recognition with individual and team performance," explained Judy Schueler, Executive Director of the UCH Academy-a university-like setting established specifically for UCH employee training. "As such, we send staff to Disney Institute to benchmark around specific focus areas that match up with our own service challenges at the hospitals."

Learning about the Walt Disney World Resort "Casting" (hiring) experience led to an improvement program at the hospitals called "Right Person, Right Role" that focused on screening new employees for critical success factors including service orientation, critical thinking, and situational judgment. As a result, the employee attrition rate dropped from 25 percent to 16 percent in six years, thus increasing employee productivity and overall loyalty to the organization.

UCH also implemented "the ideal patient encounter," which involves every person and process the patient touches: the doorman, the clinical coordinator, nurses, and physicians. "We wanted to be certain that our processes were efficient and addressed wait times and other patient-voiced issues," said Jeff Finesilver, Vice President and Director of the Center for Advanced Medicine. …

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