INTERVIEW | Mary Thompson, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP

INTERVIEW | Mary Thompson, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP

Mary Broday Thompson is a seasoned and skilled Human Resource professional. She has 25 years of holding senior HR positions with Fortune 50 companies like General Electric and Union Pacific, as well as with startup, small, and medium-sized organizations.

She is also the president of MBT Consulting LLC, a company that provides HR consulting services for all size organizations, domestic and global.

Today Mary will be sharing with us her knowledge about the Healthcare Industry and giving some advice to HR departments.

MEDIjobs: What made you choose a Human Resources career in healthcare?

Mary: As an HR professional, you must have asked health care candidates this question often. Now we are interested to know your answer.  I have found Healthcare one of the top industries for many reasons. It is critical for all people, and there have not been enough healthcare providers and/or facilities in many areas. So guiding Healthcare businesses on hiring, inspiring, and retaining great employees is my company’s top goal.

MEDIjobs: You’ve been working in HR for more than 30 years. What do you consider to be the most challenging part of your job? 

That is a tough question to provide only one top challenge! The most challenging part is convincing Healthcare industry businesses that they need strong HR because just one EEOC complaint can literally close their doors. 

MEDIjobs: What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part is seeing the eyes of owners, leaders, and employees when the Healthcare business is thriving after my company has provided HR guidance and updates that make them not just survive but to thrive!

MEDIjobs: Healthcare became the biggest employer of the economy in 2018; still, it’s also the employment sector with 2nd highest employee turnover rate. What solutions do office managers have to find and retain talent in this context?

It depends on multiple factors, including but not limited to hiring well by utilizing best practices, where to source candidates, offer sign-on bonuses (with restrictions). For retention, managers must be good ones, the old saying goes “employees leave managers, not their jobs.”

MEDIjobs: From your experience with your clients, tell us what are top 2-3 tactics to retain talent long term?  

  1. Have well-trained managers on how to treat and lead employees
  2. Ask employees for their opinions on the office/practice and what they want
  3. Build-in variety of incentives, from retention bonuses and bonuses based on the business success to free healthcare of that office (i.e. if an Ophthalmologist office, free eye exams, discount surgery, discounts on glasses/contacts for family)

MEDIjobs: Performance reviews are a must in any organization, no matter the industry. In healthcare, this proved to be more difficult to address since nurses and doctors deal with patients and every case is different. What is your view on performance review and KPIs in healthcare organizations? 

Performance reviews can take many shapes. I recommend to my clients that they have 3 types: constant/consistent, short term, and long term.

  1. Consistent means that managers should teach, correct, inform, complement, and praise as a constant standard. Instant feedback has proven to correct inaccurate performance better than anything delayed and a pat on the back for a job well done, right as it is happening is much more valuable than weeks or months later during a review.
  2. Short term can mean a verbal conversation (as opposed to a full-blown 3-page performance appraisal) or a one-page quick review. I recommend these so that a manager can keep their hand on the pulse of the employee quickly if correction is needed, instead of weeks/months later. Plus praise can be given on good work, and excessive, yet appropriate, praise can make the difference of that employee staying or leaving.
  3. Long term is typically a formal, annual process. It is a useful tool, it can give a higher-level view of the employee’s future with the office, long term training plan, and development course of action. When there is an evaluation of the monthly/quarterly number of patients, a review of EBITDA, etc. a monthly or quarterly review cannot fully assess where the employee has improved or declined for quarterly reports.

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