Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Alegent Health Essay

Alegent Health Essay

This paper will discuss employee retention practices at Alegent Health. Suffering from high turnover and low levels of employee satisfaction, the organization decided to pay more attention to its Human Resource practices. The first step was the establishment of the Employee Retention Task Force. Not all firms to date have a dedicated function that works on the issues which affect employee retention. Putting this problem in focus allowed Alegent Health to reduce absenteeism, turnover and the number of unfilled position. This led to winning several important awards for Human Resource excellent and probably significantly affected the organization’s bottom line in a positive way.

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Thus, Alegent Health learned the hard way that it is very important that employees are offered effective training and advancement opportunities. Low levels of commitment and psychological alignment with the goals of a company can be devastating for any business. Turnover is one of the most serious Human Resource challenges companies have to grapple with. Investing into training of employees and spending significant time and effort to communicate organizational policies and values to them is a waste of valuable organizational resources if such employees spend only several months at the company. Furthermore, information leakages can occur when employees leave the company. Although high turnover rates are perceived as inevitable in healthcare sector, lowering them to below 10 per cent was a great achievement that must have enhanced Alegent’s competitive position. Now that the organization recognizes that its employees are its main asset, more avenues for success are open.

Training and development as well as possibilities for career advancement became a successful tool for both retaining and attracting competent specialists at Alegent. Availability of training opportunities is one of the voting issues for employees choosing their future place of work, together with career growth prospects. Therefore, Alegent’s broad-based approach to nursing retention was effective. The tandem and mentoring system, coupled with a learning program for high performers, evidenced a comprehensive approach to tackling the issue of nursing turnover. Furthermore, it helped enhance the overall effectiveness of the workforce as nurses gained more expertise through formal education sponsored by Alegent as well as through on-the-job learning.

Mentoring relationships have proven to be a very useful HR tool. This is a widely used method of preparing employees for assuming responsibility: more experienced employees (preferably in a decision-making position and with outstanding leadership qualities) are paired with less experienced workers in a tandem system in order to transfer knowledge and experience. Working side by side with another employee and observing the working process on a daily basis, with all the attendant difficulties and unavoidable blunders, employee will comprehend the message that they should not be afraid of making mistakes or voicing an opinion different from those of senior colleagues. In this atmosphere, employees will be more ready to accept responsibility for their own performance and overall performance of the organization. Greater responsibility and participation in decision making can, in turn, increase employees’ commitment to the job.

Given that less experienced employees treat more experienced colleagues with respect and reverence, and senior employees are offering help and advice to novices, this model can yield impressive benefits. Apart from that, training is reported to dramatically increase labor productivity.

Furthermore, if training programs are designed as a form performance appraisal, they can help to achieve two goals with one measure. At Alegent, best employees were offered a chance to complete a nursing degree at the company’s expense; taking into account that nursing education is very expensive, this step was timely and necessary. Recipients of this privilege as a form of recognition of his/her achievements serve as role models for others. At the same time, Alegent offered free training opportunities for all employees, so that nurses who wanted to become high-flyers and receive education or advance to management positions could do that by showing their individual initiative and willingness to learn. Retention programs can only be successful if rewards are competitive and tied to performance: during the current financial crisis, it was discovered that if rewards are not clearly tied to performance, they are not only unfair but also ineffective.

Therefore, it is possible to conclude that Alegent discovered that if retention, training and development of employees are largely neglected by managers, it can decrease the level of satisfaction with the job and, in extreme cases, result in employees’ leaving the company. The host of measures implemented by Alegent increased employee satisfaction, dramatically decreased turnover, and ensured better skills and greater committed among staff. Recruitment, development and retention of talented workforce are the key to success in the contemporary marketplace.
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