After a boom in membership triggered a massive recruitment drive, SCPMG set out to ramp up the efficiency of its talent-acquisition efforts.
SCPMG transformed its recruitment by replacing manual work with a robust Oracle solution deployed by IBM, helping recruiters and hiring leaders focus on finding the right person to fill each post.
60%more candidates submit their own information through the Oracle solution
3temporary staff are no longer required for data entry, unlocking major cost savings
80% risein year-on-year physician hires thanks to higher recruiter productivity
Business challenge story
Diagnosing an acute need for efficiencyThe introduction of the Affordable Care Act sparked major change in the healthcare sector in the United States. Growing numbers of people gained health insurance, and demand for care soared. As the effects rippled across the nation, the membership of the Kaiser Permanente healthcare consortium jumped by 750,000 people in a three-year period. Consequently, the for-profit Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG), which has an exclusive agreement with Kaiser Permanente, needed to provide high-quality care for record numbers of patients.
To overcome this fresh challenge, SCPMG needed to massively ramp up its recruitment efforts, boosting the number of physicians hired from 500 to 900 in one year – an 80-percent hike. The company knew that attracting so many highly-qualified doctors would be no easy feat, so it decided to reevaluate its entire approach to talent acquisition.
Rita Essaian, Executive Administrator at SCPMG, explains: “Near-doubling our number of new hires represented a significant challenge. We began examining the way we recruited, and we soon identified multiple areas for improvement.
“For starters, each recruiter handled applicants for their specialty using their own spreadsheets, and managing them was a time-consuming and error-prone process. Second, we receive around 4,000 applicants per year, but we had no robust method for tracking them.
“Third, the documents lacked a standard format, so to give senior managers a status overview, recruiters had to manually compile and cleanse the data before producing reports. Finally, we lacked a proper strategy and employer brand to encourage doctors to join our medical group, rather than one of our competitors.”
Spurred on by its findings, SCPMG set out to overhaul its approach to talent acquisition, targeting efficiency, transparency and a better candidate experience.
Administering a healthy dose of cutting-edge technology
To kick-start its transformation, SCPMG joined forces with IBM® Services to deploy Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud, which runs in the Oracle Cloud; the HR department’s first implementation on a cloud platform.
“We were eager to get away from spreadsheets, and instead form a single digital system of record to ensure data integrity,” recalls Rita Essaian. “The Oracle solution allowed us to do exactly that, and came with a whole host of other advantages too.
“For example, Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud included pre-defined workflows for common recruitment tasks, and featured slick reporting capabilities. Critically, the Oracle tool was more intuitive than many of the other systems we considered – an important factor for our physician leaders, who run busy schedules and don’t have the time to learn to use new tools.”
The IBM team delivered pre-configured workflows and templates as they partnered with SCPMG’s recruitment subject-matter experts and technology specialists to implement the Oracle Cloud solution. Through this collaborative effort, SCPMG has reshaped its recruitment processes through the adoption of practices recommended by IBM. Notably, SCPMG also involved hiring physician leaders in the solution design, to help produce a system that would be genuinely beneficial for them. Additionally, the extensive data integration built between Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud and internal systems ensured the accuracy of candidate information, as data is automatically transferred between the systems rather than rekeyed manually.
Raymond D’Amato, HR Systems Director at Kaiser Permanente, remarks: “The IBM team was extremely thorough and worked very hard to understand our business in order to give us a solution with the best possible fit.”
Julie Tellez, Senior Systems Consultant at Kaiser Permanente, adds: “The IBM consultants demonstrated real expertise in the Oracle solution, and were able to answer all of our questions about what the system could and could not support.”
Rita Essaian continues: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with the IBM team, and we felt that we built a true partnership with them. With the first-rate support from IBM, we were able to redesign our processes and complete the implementation in a nine-month period, and the solution went live with no major issues.”
Now, candidates can submit their resumes to SCPMG via the Oracle solution, and log into the portal to view the current status of their application at any time, rather than having to contact the hiring leader. All communication between recruiters and candidates is managed via the Oracle system, so the company gains full transparency and a single source of the truth.
To fill each vacancy, recruiters can rapidly search through applicants to identify top candidates, and send their profiles to the relevant hiring physician leader. Physician leaders enjoy swift, automated reporting available at the touch of a button. Because the Oracle solution acts as a single source of the truth, decision-makers can trust the figures.
Getting recruitment back to glowing healthBy transforming its talent acquisition and moving from cumbersome spreadsheets and physical files towards automation, digitization and standardization, SCPMG has unlocked major time savings for its recruiters.
Rita Essaian elaborates: “In the past, recruiters had to devote a lot of time and effort to staying on top of paperwork and spreadsheets – particularly during peak seasons, when physicians come out of their residency programs and begin looking for work opportunities. As a result, recruiters had limited time to liaise with physician hiring leaders to better understand their priorities.
“Now that this work is automated, recruiters can spend more quality time with their physician leaders to develop greater awareness of their needs, which in turn enables them to better match candidates to vacancies. Many of our physician hires become partners after three years with us, so it’s important that we find the right fit and attract people who will be personally and professionally invested in our organization.
“The increased efficiency enabled us to manage 283 candidates per recruiter between April and July, compared to 108.2 in the same period last year – although part of this increase is attributed to requesting existing candidates to create their profiles when we went live with Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud.”
Robert Hamilton, Head of Recruitment at SCPMG, adds: “One of the big wins for us has been introducing enhanced self-service capabilities for candidates. For example, in the past, around 75 percent of candidates sent their resume to us via email, and our employees keyed the relevant information into our back-end systems. As the Affordable Care Act came into force and application volumes spiked, we had to employ temporary staff to enter the data into our systems.
“Now, around 60 percent more applicants submit their own data directly to the Oracle tool, and candidates can create their own profiles to show us what type of work they are looking for. By easing the burden of data entry, we have lifted efficiency. In fact, we’ve been able to avoid taking back on three temporary staff who previously handled data entry work for us, achieving substantial cost savings. In addition, our permanent employees can work more productively, hiring 80 percent more physicians year-on-year.”
Rapid, automated reporting in the Oracle Cloud solution delivers deeper insight into recruitment, helping SCPMG understand volumes of applicants, vacancies, top-tier candidates and more. With granular information concerning recruitment needs in each specialty, the company can ensure adequate staffing levels in each hiring team.
As part of its efforts to improve the candidate experience, SCPMG has standardized and streamlined many key aspects of talent acquisition, including pre-screening questions.
Rita Essaian adds: “Previously, recruiters sent a list of 20 pre-screening questions to each candidate, to help them identify the most-qualified people. Discouraged by the long list of questions, around 60 to 70 percent of applicants dropped out of the process at that stage. By focusing only on the most important information, we shrunk the list to seven questions and slashed the drop-out rate.
“Not only are we providing a better candidate experience; we are also saving recruiters valuable time, because the questions are sent automatically. And because we have a standard list of questions across all specialties, it is easier for recruiters to cover for each other during vacations or periods of illness.”
The recruitment overhaul feeds into a broader transformation at SCPMG. For example, the company is redesigning processes and deploying state-of-the-art technology in its HR department, the back-office team supporting medical staff, and the provider enrollment team that works with programs such as Medicare. The aim is to gain competitive advantage by boosting efficiency.
Robert Hamilton notes: “We are developing a robust recruitment strategy and building a strong employer brand to help us attract more top talent. In particular, we are encouraging existing physicians to talk about why they came to SCPMG, and what makes our organization a great place to practice medicine.”
Rita Essaian concludes: “The Oracle solution implemented by IBM has enabled us to transform our approach to talent acquisition. With greater efficiency and time savings, we can sharpen our focus on finding the right doctor to fill each vacancy, fostering a happy work environment for physicians and staff, and better care for patients.”
About Southern California Permanente Medical Group
The Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) is a for-profit organization of more than 8,000 doctors who serve the 4.2 million members of Kaiser Permanente's Southern California regional health care network, offering general practice and specialist care services. In total, SCPMG employs 69,000 people, operates 14 hospitals and 217 medical offices, and has more than 60 years of experience in delivering high-quality and innovative care.
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