How Eliminating Silos is Helping Christus Health Build a Winning Culture

June 10, 2019

See how Christus is building a culture of learning with LinkedIn Learning – and retaining great talent.

Christus Health has a goal many organizations share: build a culture that attracts, retains and develops the best talent. What makes them unique is how they are doing it – by abolishing silos.

The not-for-profit healthcare company is nothing if not sprawling, with 600 health centers and 45,000 employees across the United States, Mexico and South America. Christus knows the only way to provide great service across all of those locations is by attracting great people and putting them in a culture where they can thrive.

What’s interesting is how they are doing it. Christus takes a holistic approach to HR, which Christus Vice President of Talent Acquisition Ron Croy embodies. He is part of the 100+-member talent team, but he is also involved in learning and development.

Why? Because Croy, as well as Christus, knows that to build a winning culture, you need to have all parts of the talent ecosystem working together.

“We’ve learned that when each little silo owns their little piece, they’re not thinking broad enough on how things can connect and how they can better influence the rest of the business,” Croy said.

The Challenge: Bringing in Top Talent is Great, But How Do You Keep Them?

As far as attracting talent, Christus was already investing in LinkedIn Talent Solutions to bring in the best people – and seeing great results. But hiring the right people is one thing; having them stay is another.

“In healthcare, turnover is so high,” Croy said, “especially those people who are in clinical roles that are patient-facing. There’s a shortage of those types of folks, so they have their pick of where they want to go.

“So for our organization to stay on top as far as being an employer of choice, we have to offer them access to development, to career planning, to provide a great engagement experience, and also have a brand that they are proud of,” Croy added. “All of that together will decrease our turnover.”

The challenge then comes down to investing in the right tools to create that experience. First off, to understand how people were feeling and to create a culture where staff feel included, Christus invested in Glint (a LinkedIn company) to measure employee satisfaction and engagement.

But there was still an outstanding issue – Christus also needed a tool that could foster development, something employees have consistently asked for.

The company was already using Lynda.com in some capacity, and so when LinkedIn acquired that platform and then rolled out LinkedIn Learning, Croy said, “I saw the potential. I knew if we could fully integrate LinkedIn Learning not only with our internal associates but also with our potential candidates, that to me is really exciting. Because it’s one of the areas where we can start just being different in the healthcare space.”

And because of Christus’s long association with LinkedIn partners for job recruitment and advertising, it was natural for Croy to turn immediately to LinkedIn Learning when he knew he needed to add all-encompassing learning to his team’s tool box.

“Everyone (at LinkedIn) who works on our account, they come up with really great ideas,” Croy said. “So when we want to try something new, LinkedIn has done all of the homework from a technology standpoint, so we get the benefit from that. It allows us to make the right investments and get the best use of the LinkedIn universe.”

The Solution: Investing in LinkedIn Learning to Foster a Growth Mindset Among Employees

Part of Croy’s talent acquisition and retention strategy is to show that Christus is an innovator. Providing access to LinkedIn Learning to the full company is a key part of that strategy. He knew that the vast array of courses offered within the platform and the ease of use with both the desktop and the mobile app would lead employees to high usage rates.

“My goal early on was I want people to go to LinkedIn Learning in our organization like people go to YouTube,” Croy said. “I want it to be top of mind. And I didn’t care what it was. You want to learn how to bake a cake? I’m sure there’s a LinkedIn course there.”

One challenge for him, he said, was that others on the talent management team wanted to limit access to courses having only to do with healthcare.

“I had a fit,” he said. “I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no. We want people to go there for whatever they are looking for, so that when we have a mandatory training, they’re going to go! I explained to my bosses, ‘We want this to be a place where people are going for all their learning needs, so that when we push something out, they’re going to go, because they’ve already had really good experiences on the platform.”

His point – encourage people to learn, regardless of the topic. That’ll lead to adopting a growth mindset, which will carry over to work – and make the employee feel supported.

“A lot of organizations hear ‘The organization isn’t doing anything for my development’,” Croy said. “Well, we are all responsible for our own development, but if we can provide a nudge, if we can just say, ‘Hey, here’s a course that I think will really be meaningful to you,’ that shows we’ve invested in this platform for you, and we’ve invested in you.”

The Result: Immediate Employee Buy-In of Learning to Further Cement a Winning Culture

Christus Health upgraded to LinkedIn Learning from Lynda.com on Feb. 8, 2019 by investing in 30,000 licenses company-wide. As of the start of May, they are already at 19% activation of the platform, which is 10 points above the high benchmark for companies of that size.

A big driver of the impressive activation numbers – Croy worked with LinkedIn Learning team members to create marketing to “sell” the platform to Christus employees after roll-out. Together they created a digital ad on LinkedIn targeted to their employees that reminded them every time someone logged in that they had access to the learning platform.

“And then we had people logging in left and right,” Croy said. “Then we had enough people consistently using it so when it came time for contract renewal I said let’s open it up to everyone. I said if we did that, it would go. And we’ve had consistently higher logins every month.”

LinkedIn Learning hasn’t been a huge tax on the Christus team, either. They are trusting the platform and seeing good results.

“The cool thing about this is, we don’t have to sit here and build learning libraries,” Croy said. “It’s all there. My trust in LinkedIn is that I know you guys get real creative. So what may not be there today, I know from working with LinkedIn in the past is that if there’s a way to make something pretty cool and dynamic, you’ll do it.”

“What I’m hearing now, especially with new hires, is ‘Hey, I had a tough time on Excel doing this and I went to LinkedIn Learning and I got it figured out real quick’,” Croy added. “They just searched LinkedIn Learning for it, did a quick course on it, and went on from there.”

What’s making Croy the most excited though is not just the success of LinkedIn Learning, but also how it can tie into Glint and offerings from LinkedIn Talent Solutions to create a truly dynamic culture.

“How cool would it be for a leader to get back his engagement scores and then have a list of courses that he could take lined up for him?” he said. “Or a new hire, we give them a Glint survey and then we can say ‘Hey, here’s some courses you might want to take’.”

Bigger picture, Christus’s HR team constantly seeks to be as collaborative as possible, Croy said. And that gives them an edge.

“I don’t think a lot of healthcare organizations are doing what we’re doing,” he said. “And if we are early adopters, then we benefit from that. Peers, they aren’t opening up to the full (LinkedIn) platform. I think people focus on, ‘Oh we just want to post jobs’ or we just want to use Recruiter to search. But I wanted to look at it holistically and say, ‘How can we get involved across the sphere?’ That’s how you get the absolute most out of each.”

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