Tomah Memorial Hospital Realizes Tremendous Value with the Full Suite of Talent Management Solutions from HealthcareSource

To support its mission of providing superior healthcare services, Tomah Memorial Hospital—a small critical access hospital in Wisconsin with a lean human resource department—uses the most appropriate technology supported by highly skilled staff. To that end, the hospital has deployed the full suite of talent management solutions from HealthcareSource. By doing so, it has gained efficiencies in its human resource department and throughout the hospital—and been empowered to recruit and retain the best workforce for its needs.

Seeking a Better Way to Manage Job Applicants and Employee Performance

In 2005, Tomah Memorial Hospital needed to find a way to better manage job applications and employee performance after signing a contract with the local Veteran’s Administration, which meant the hospital was then governed by Affirmative Action policies and requirements. When a routine Affirmative Action audit was triggered, Brenda Reinert, Human Resource Director for Tomah Memorial Hospital, worked many weekends at home compiling data by hand to prepare for the audit. “After that tedious process, it became clear that we needed a solution that made this data readily available to us,” says Reinert. The hospital engaged its website design firm to create a basic online application system, but this failed to meet the hospital’s needs. According to Reinert, “HR and the hospital’s managers found the system difficult to use, with numerous issues that created small irritants. We still didn’t have data available at our fingertips.”

Once Reinert became aware of Position Manager®, the applicant tracking solution from HealthcareSource, she saw the potential. “The solution was simple for anyone to use and housed all information in one location. Plus, we wanted to engage with a vendor that could grow with our talent management needs, and HealthcareSource clearly could with its range of solutions, such as Performance Manager®,” explains Reinert. Before making a purchase, Reinert set up online demos of Position Manager and Performance Manager. Everyone was so impressed with the intuitive nature of the solutions that the hospital decided to deploy both.

The fact that the solutions are cloud-based is valuable, according to Britnie Rewey, Human Resource Generalist for Tomah Memorial Hospital. “We can easily make the systems available to managers and employees working remotely. Moreover, it alleviates IT concerns—such as storage and maintenance—that can slow HR-focused projects.”

Rewey also appreciates that HealthcareSource solutions are developed specifically for the healthcare industry. Moreover, she and Reinert were impressed with the ability to easily tailor the solutions to suit the hospital’s specific requirements. According to Reinert, implementation was a breeze. “The client services team at HealthcareSource is extremely knowledgeable and responsive to customers’ needs. That—combined with them having their finger on the pulse of healthcare HR—allowed us to quickly and efficiently get the products up and running.” 

Streamlining the Application Process with Position Manager

Through Position Manager, Rewey and Reinert visit a single screen to view all applicant details, including the number of new applications, who’s in process, recent applications viewed, and requisitions and postings. Then with a single click, they can access details about a specific applicant. It’s also easy for HR staff to notify applicants when they’ve been eliminated from consideration. According to Reinert, staff had to previously type and send a letter or postcard whenever they received an application and then again to let applicants know how they had fared in the first round of review. Now they simply send an email, leading to fewer phone calls from applicants.

Both HR and job seekers appreciate the Job Agent feature within Position Manager. Applicants can indicate that they are interested in certain types of jobs. Then instead of revisiting the Tomah website, applicants wait to receive an email notifying them about available positions of interest. “Because the system proactively notifies candidates, we receive applications quite soon after we post a position,” says Rewey.

Improving the Employee Appraisal Process with Performance Manager

With Performance Manager in place, the hospital has been able to automate numerous processes, such as sending reminders to managers when they are due to meet with employees for reviews. The system has also made it easy to track annual and interim appraisals along with competencies and training. At the same time, the HR department has been able to convert all HR-related documents—such as the employee handbook and policies—to electronic files. “We can now easily run reports to see the status of reviews and other tasks, rather than tracking these details in a spreadsheet,” explains Reinert.

Managers and employees also appreciate being able to access Performance Manager when working remotely. It has simplified things for managers when dealing with per diem staff in particular. With access to all necessary information via Performance Manager, they can conduct a performance appraisal over the phone with an employee. Similarly, HR can keep processes moving forward with employees who don’t come in regularly, and employees can log in from home to complete necessary training. “The fact that the solution is adaptable and flexible has expanded our horizons,” continues Reinert.

Since Performance Manager has been in place, the hospital is seeing more timely appraisals and better documentation from managers. In the past, HR saw on average 10 appraisals overdue for three months or more, which is excessive in a small organization. Now the hospital averages closer to three outstanding appraisals. According to Reinert, “Our employees and managers are using the system without complaint. When things work smoothly and you get positive feedback, that’s the ROI that matters to me.”

Boosting the Quality of Hires

With the success of using Position Manager and Performance Manager, Tomah Memorial Hospital was eager to take advantage of Staff AssessmentSM, Leadership AssessmentSM, and Reference AssessmentSM from HealthcareSource. And they’ve been equally pleased with the results. According to Reinert, the use of these behavioral assessment solutions has enabled the hospital to make better hiring decisions, leading to a significant and noticeable improvement in the quality of the candidates the hospital hires. As proof of this, turnover in the first 6-12 months after hire has decreased. Reinert explains just how the solutions make this possible. “These tools—specifically Staff Assessment—allow us to better pinpoint areas that could be problematic for potential new hires. We can then delve into those issues in interviews.” At the same time, Leadership Assessment helps the hospital know where to focus so it can further develop its managers and identify strong managers who would make strong mentors.

Rewey says she would be lost without Reference Assessment as the traditional method of reference checking is incredibly time consuming and unproductive. Previously, Rewey would try to reach candidate’s references by phone when a manager expressed interest in the person. In addition to playing lots of phone tag, Rewey often heard nothing but glowing references. “Of course personal references are going to provide positive feedback,” she explains. In addition, it could take weeks to secure two acceptable references. Using Reference Assessment, the applicants themselves can invite their references to complete a brief anonymous survey online, which ranks factors such as punctuality, teamwork and other high-performance behaviors. The HR staff has visibility into the number of references invited and can monitor the completion status online. Reference Assessment scores the results to predict the fit of the candidate for the job. This helps the HR staff narrow down candidates before the first interview. In addition, the survey results help managers ask pointed questions during interviews. And when managers are ready to hire someone, the references are already completed—shortening the entire hiring process. According to Rewey, “With Reference Assessment, we have seen a marked improvement in the candidness of reference responses. This helps us identify higher quality applicants—we can weed out those that look good on paper and interview well, but aren’t good on the job.”

All of this saves the HR staff considerable time, energy, and money. “We’re not wasting time on the phone and sending emails to references—we send one link and the applicants do the work. And we send one reminder for applicants to finish their references and if they don’t respond, we move on,” says Rewey.

Gaining Another HR Resource and Looking Forward to Additional Value

Overall, the suite of talent management solutions from HealthcareSource has made a tremendous impact on the hospital. Processes and daily tasks run more smoothly and are finished more quickly. In addition to streamlining the hiring and performance review processes, surveys by The Joint Commission go much more smoothly now. “Previously I had to slog through thick paper files when we got audited. Now we just view my screen. Every surveyor has been incredibly impressed with the HealthcareSource solutions,” says Reinert.

“Nothing gets easier in healthcare HR—we are continually dealing with more paperwork, notifications, and training requirements. When you put all the HealthcareSource solutions together, it feels like you’ve gained another HR person that works for you 24x7. As a result, we can focus on other things headed our way,” says Reinert.

Next the hospital plans to deploy NetLearning®, the online learning management system from HealthcareSource along with NetCompetency®. “We want education to be fun and interesting, and NetLearning offers so many features that will enable us to achieve that goal. We expect to be handling all our mandatory training through NetLearning by the end of the year,” concludes Reinert.

Tomah Memorial Hospital

  • Find a way to efficiently manage job applications
  • Needed to improve the employee performance process
  • Partner with a vendor who could grow with their talent management needs
  • Simplified all HR processes saving time, energy, and costs
  • Ability to view all applicant details in a single screen
  • Easy access to information for remote employees
  • On-time performance appraisals and better documentation from managers
  • Improved the quality of hires
  • Decreased turnover in the first 6-12 months
  • Improvement in the candidness of reference responses
  • Easily comply with The Joint Commission


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