The COVID-19 pandemic led to many hospital workforce and labor market challenges. As these issues continue to persist today, children's hospitals are looking for innovative solutions to help balance organizational needs with those of their employees.
In 2017, Children's Hospital Colorado launched its Analytic Resource Center to help the organization build the strategies and resources needed to create a high-performing, data-driven culture. During the pandemic, the organization was positioned to leverage this team to tackle emerging challenges. Kerri Webster, vice president and chief analytics officer at Children’s Colorado, and her team led the development. “I believe fundamentally that putting data in the hands of the data consumers is very powerful,” says Webster.
The need for workforce data became more urgent during the pandemic. With a shrinking labor market and a need to shift the organization’s recruitment strategy, Webster’s team partnered with Betsy Rodriguez, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and the human resources team to develop a new data analytics interactive dashboard and toolkit.
“We needed a new labor strategy, but we wanted it to be based on data and analytics to understand where we were getting people from, where we weren't getting people from, why they were coming, why they weren't coming. We didn't have any of that information,” says Rodriguez.
A new approach to data
To find the information they needed and create a resource that was reliable and comprehensive, the teams took a new approach—they started with the problem instead of the data.
Webster and her team challenged leaders to help define the issues they were seeking to address. They considered:
- What are we going to do with the data?
- How are we thinking about it?
- What are the problems we’re trying to solve?
Resources for leadership
Through this collaborative effort, Webster and Rodriguez were able to develop an HR analytics dashboard and a self-service data tool for leaders—the People Analytics App.
Built through Microsoft Power BI, the People Analytics App gives leaders immediate access to workforce data—including demographics, staffing numbers, engagement scores, recruitment metrics and turnover rates.
“You used to have to wait for a report and maybe it took a week, or it might take a month. But now it's literally at their fingertips,” says Rodriguez.
Access to this data has helped hospital leadership identify and address workforce issues such as retention rates among nurses, culture shifts following COVID-19, and the impact of new leaders. They were even able to use heat map data to identify and support staff members who were impacted by the Marshall Fire, the most destructive grass fire in Colorado history.
While there has been some pushback to adopting a data-driven culture, Rodriguez says leaders have come to trust the data the dashboard provides. Webster and Rodriguez intend to continue to develop the People Analytics App—including incorporating predictive analytics, which would allow them to track workforce trends before they happen.
“This is a partnership that grows as the needs of the organization grow. I don't want to be done. I want this to evolve as our workforce and our organization does,” says Webster.