Never underestimate the power of a Green Bay Packer game, for it was at a game that conversations between colleagues developed into a strategic partnership between Goodwill and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare called Project PRISM. As with all of our Workforce Development sector-based training, it is through strategic partnerships that Goodwill is able to truly model its value propositions and transform lives through the Power of Work.
In 2010, Wheaton was looking for an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution for acquiring and keeping the best and brightest talent. The desire was for a sustainable and trained pool of individuals that are not only technically competent but who would also serve as strong patient advocates. For Goodwill, this partnership allowed us to expand our mission by providing training and work opportunities with long-term career paths in the healthcare industry.
The solution was a new, jointly created model to recruit and train the individuals that would become successful Wheaton employees and strong patient advocates, thereby enhancing patient satisfaction, providing associate career opportunities, and ultimately improving Wheaton’s financial performance. From Goodwill’s broad applicant pool, Goodwill TalentBridge (our full service talent acquisition firm) identifies the best candidates with an attitude and aptitude for patient advocacy. Goodwill’s Workforce Development team facilitates a comprehensive three day Project PRISM training that focuses on customer service and work and life skills, while also integrating Wheaton’s mission, vision, and values. Wheaton’s Education team then provides one to two weeks of technical training on the specific medical systems and processes, followed by work experience at a Wheaton facility, supported by Goodwill TalentBridge. At the conclusion of the work experience, associates who meet the expectations of the job are hired permanently by Wheaton.
Embracing the New Culture
While the early focus was on finding new talent, Wheaton leadership quickly realized they needed equal, if not more, support and tools for existing managers, supervisors, and associates for them to embrace the new culture that was emerging. Wheaton made a significant investment in their existing associates by having them experience Project PRISM training alongside new associates. As one associate noted, “in a difficult economic time when many companies are pulling back on training, it’s great to see Wheaton investing in their employees.”
Our first Project PRISM class started in July 2011. Since then we have expanded into new markets and positions throughout Wheaton’s eight major medical facilities, over 50 Medical Group clinics, and into the Central Business Office. Results have exceeded our expectations.
- By the end of 2014, Goodwill will have trained over 1,000 new and existing Wheaton associates across Wheaton’s network of Milwaukee and Racine hospitals and clinics.
- Wheaton has permanently hired almost 200 Goodwill TalentBridge associates in Patient Access and Medical Assistant roles, starting at wages of $13.50 or above. The Patient Access role was unique as Wheaton removed the hiring requirement of prior medical experience and invested in training these individuals to be successful. This removed a significant barrier to employment, including for one associate who applied 12 times to Wheaton never to have a chance until identified by Goodwill TalentBridge through Project PRISM.
- Employee satisfaction is up, turnover is down, and Wheaton’s overall patient experience has significantly improved.
In order to sustain this focus on the patient experience, Wheaton integrated their Patient and Family Experience team to work with the Project PRISM team. Both collaborated to define a list of ‘Always Behaviors.’ Wheaton developed a standard set of observation tools and processes for their managers and supervisors to support the ongoing development of associates, and keep the focus on the patient experience.
As one Wheaton manager explained, “The feeling/morale in the department has changed in the past two years to be very positive. A lot of factors play into that, but I believe Project PRISM and the associates Goodwill has provided have made a positive impact to the overall feeling.”
Another sign of program success is our impact on the lives of those we serve. After completing Project PRISM training this year, a Project PRISM trainee stated, “Project PRISM helped me realize that I have the ability to be more considerate, helpful, open-minded, careful, and understanding of those I work with and those coming to be helped.”
In 2013, the strength and innovative nature of this partnership was exemplified once again. Wheaton had recently selected STATE Collection Service, Inc. for their new Extended Business Office (EBO) solutions. As part of the agreement with STATE Collection Services, Wheaton required any new associates hired by STATE Collection Services to service the Wheaton account had to be recruited by Goodwill TalentBridge and trained through Project PRISM. Doing this ensured that the Wheaton experience of exceptional customer service was consistent throughout the entire patient journey. This not only extended the Project PRISM reach to a new area of Wheaton, but to another partnering organization. Wheaton has been very pleased with the impact that STATE Collection Service has had on their patient satisfaction.
It is a testament to the commitment and capabilities of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and Goodwill that Project PRISM has been successful. If you are interested in learning more about the possibility of partnering with Goodwill, please contact Dan Depies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Katie Podmokly. Katie has been with Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin for over 4 years and is a Manager in our Project Management Office. While at Goodwill, Katie has supported many large workforce development initiatives including Project PRISM. In her role with Project PRISM, she served as a training facilitator, career coach, and overall project manager. Katie’s background is in management consulting and she has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Marquette University. Katie is a recent graduate of the Marquette University Future Milwaukee Leadership Program and currently serves as an alumni mentor.