Here's How Intermountain Healthcare Fosters New Levels of HR Communication

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Most people are willing to acknowledge that good relationships are built on a solid bedrock of open and honest communication. Why is it, then, that we so rarely see that same outlook being brought into the workplace?

57% of employees feel like they are left without clear instructions from their managers and, on the other side of the coin, 69% of managers don't feel comfortable communicating with their employees. Organizations that improve employee communications may increase their productivity by 20 to 25%, and it's thought that small companies with 100 employees lose $420,000 every year. Companies with 100,000 employees lose an astonishing $62.4 million annually due to poor communication within the company.

Intermountain Healthcare is one organization that attaches a huge amount of significance to communication — especially when it comes to acquiring the very best medical talent that's out there.


When finding and employing new talent, the recruitment process has many different facets to it. Whether it's advertising, sorting through applications, arranging interviews, onboarding or more, those responsible for the process have a lot of plates to keep spinning.

However, the whole thing relies on a foundation of creating and maintaining a strong relationship between hiring managers and recruiters. If these elements of the team can't work and communicate with one another effectively, the whole recruitment process can become a wasteful and costly time and money sink.

In fact, the number one reason hiring managers and recruiters hit walls is because they haven't effectively communicated what one expects of the other. This can quickly lead to confusion, frustration, and disappointment. Furthermore, once a pattern of miscommunication has manifested, it can be extremely difficult to resolve it.

"Hiring managers must be clear and open with recruiters about what they expect in both procedure and results," says HR Daily Advisor. "They should also expect to play an active role in the process. This includes tapping into their own networks, actively engaging with applicants, and providing timely feedback. It's up to recruiters to let hiring managers know about any factors that are keeping them from meeting expectations. Providing feedback is one of those tasks people often say they're too busy for or that they feel isn't taken seriously. But it is essential for success. Without it, no one knows what to expect or why expectations aren't being met."

Hiring leaders and recruiters must make sure their goals are aligned to make sure that the nitty-gritty of recruitment is made clear and both can get on with the critical task of finding the best talent.

Intermountain Healthcare

As a significant employer of people, Intermountain Healthcare has run up against this problem more than once and desperately needed a way to make sure the same communication-related bottlenecks didn't keep occurring.

It found the answer in an innovative technique it dubbed "intake conversations." These intake conversations are designed so that, prior to embarking on a talent search, all parties come together to build relationships with one another and clearly establish what they're looking for in the latest round of recruitment.

"At Intermountain Healthcare, the most impactful practice we use to ensure we have the best talent is conducting thorough and effective intake conversations," said Assistant Vice President of Talent for Intermountain Healthcare, Luke Morris. "Intake conversations help the talent team member build a relationship with the hiring leader to identify what they are really looking for in a candidate. It's critical that healthcare leaders have a true partner who understands the demands placed upon them and their unit."

Through this technique, Intermountain Health has found that the communication bottlenecks it had previously been experiencing have all but disappeared.

"Because of this, Intermountain's talent team places a high priority on frequently connecting in person, or over the phone, with our hiring leaders before they start a position search," continued Morris. "These regular conversations allow the leader to identify what success looks like in the role, what skills, knowledge, and abilities they are searching for, and how the role impacts the organizational mission. With these important aspects defined, the talent team member has the ability and background to source, attract and hire the best talent."

Final Thoughts

Communication is indeed the bedrock of a healthy relationship between all elements of your hiring team and it's great that Intermountain Healthcare has so elegantly demonstrated how a simple innovation — such as getting together and having conversations — can create an entirely new outlook and results.

You can hear Intermountain Healthcare's Assistant Vice President of HR Operations, Tiffiny Lipscomb, speak at HR Healthcare 2020, taking place in June at the Hyatt Regency Austin, TX.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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