Of all the competency libraries we considered, we felt that the IBM solution was by far the most comprehensive.

Wendy Radeka, Director of Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and eLearning, Orlando Health

Business Challenge story

To drive talent development and retention in a fast-changing clinical environment, Orlando Health looked for a rapid, cost-effective way to manage competencies for thousands of healthcare employees.

The US healthcare industry is changing faster than ever. In addition to new and more stringent waves of regulatory reporting requirements in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, clinical practices are becoming more intricate and specialized.

Wendy Radeka, director of talent acquisition, talent management and eLearning at Orlando Health, takes up the story: “The healthcare industry is going through a number of major shifts at the national level, and those changes have an impact on the way our clinicians provide patient care.”

Cindy Brewer, manager of talent systems at Orlando Health, continues: “One key example is nursing. Over the last 10 years, the introduction of new specialized technologies has driven dramatic improvements in care outcomes. However, these technologies demand additional training and qualifications for healthcare personnel, which increases the risk of skills shortages in important areas.

“In the past, we relied heavily on paper records to manage competencies across the organization. As a result, making incremental changes to job descriptions or equipment training requirements was a time-consuming manual process, and it was very difficult to ensure our records were up to date, something that our regulators demand.”

To meet these new challenges, Orlando Health is continually looking for ways to improve its ability to attract, retain and develop talent.

Wendy Radeka says: “One question that we are always asking is: ‘how do we best support our talent in a changing industry?’ We see that the best way to achieve this goal is to empower our people and their mentors with the information they need to find meaningful work, and to learn and grow in their roles. To help people find where they are going on their career path, we first need to know where they are today, which means an accurate record of their competencies is vital.”

As a first step toward gaining deeper insight into talent across the organization, Orlando Health deployed a learning management system (LMS) from Cornerstone OnDemand.

“As a teaching hospital, we knew that having a robust competency framework was crucial to obtain maximum benefit from our new LMS,” says Cindy Brewer. “The challenge we faced was that creating a new competency framework would have been an enormous project. In fact, we estimated it would take at least six years to write the competencies ourselves. To better manage the skills, qualifications and career goals for more than 15,000 employees across the organization, we looked for a faster, more cost-effective approach.”


After reviewing solutions from a number of different vendors, Orlando Health selected IBM Kenexa Talent Frameworks software, a comprehensive competency library with ready-to-use job descriptions, proficiency-based behavioral statements, development goals, and more. To provide advanced performance management capabilities, the organization also selected IBM Kenexa Competency Manager on Cloud software, helping it to better manage and updated its competency data to support its people.

“Of all the competency libraries we considered, we felt that the IBM solution was by far the most comprehensive,” recalls Wendy Radeka. “One of the most valuable aspects of the solution was the IBM team: they were extremely knowledgeable, patient, and always willing to work with us to find the best way to meet our specific organizational requirements. The team really took the time to understand the problems we were trying to solve, and that input was a big factor in our decision making process.”

Wendy Radeka continues: “We realized that by combining IBM Kenexa Talent Frameworks with IBM Kenexa Competency Manager [solutions], we would gain the ability to easily search and manage our competency items. This functionality was important both to streamline our integration with our Cornerstone OnDemand LMS, and to ensure that there were no duplications or omissions in the new library.”

Working together with a team from IBM, Orlando Health is creating a customized feed between its Cornerstone OnDemand LMS and IBM Kenexa Talent Frameworks solution, enabling it to populate the LMS with the latest competencies for each role. By following a best-practice approach, Orlando Health ensures that all new competency items are fully validated by the organization’s leadership, helping to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Cindy Brewer says: “We expect our new competency library to go live shortly, and our strong working relationships with the IBM and Cornerstone OnDemand teams are an important factor in the success of the project.”


With a single, centrally managed competency library at the heart of its talent management process, Orlando Health will be better placed than ever to attract, retain and develop talent across the organization.

“In the past, updating each employee’s competencies was only feasible when our managers ran annual reviews for their reports, which meant it was di cult to track employees’ progress toward new qualifications throughout the year,” explains Cindy Brewer. “In the future, our managers will be able to see each person’s competencies, goals and progress toward new qualifications via a single dashboard in our LMS.

“As well as empowering our managers to have more productive discussions around career development, we will be able to gain near-real time insight into skills across the organization, helping us to plan ahead to avoid skills shortages.”

Orlando Health is confident that its new approach to competency management will reduce the cost and complexity of complying with ever-changing regulatory requirements.

Cindy Brewer adds: “The healthcare regulatory environment is becoming more complex than ever, and providing our regulators with the documents they need currently involves laborious copying and faxing hard copies of our documents. When we switch to our electronic solution, we’ll be able to run detailed reports in minutes, facilitating our compliance and reducing our costs.”

Orlando Health predicts that the solution will improve its ability to attract and retain the best applicants for each position.

Cindy Brewer comments: “Working with competency records on paper makes it difficult to compare a new applicant’s skills sets with the competencies required for front-line care roles. With a robust competency framework, we believe that it will be far easier to identify the candidates who have the skills we need, and to more accurately assess their potential for future career growth. Equipped with this information, we expect to improve our 90-day retention metric substantially.”

Wendy Radeka concludes: “Competency management projects can seem overwhelming, particularly for large organizations, but our advice would be to get started! Collaborating with IBM has been a great experience, and we are extremely pleased with the progress we have made in such a short time.”

Solution Category

  • Talent Solutions
  • Solution Components