Improved Communication the Pathway to Top Performance, Job Satisfaction

When it comes to doing our best, communication is key, and Alameda Health System (AHS) is taking its commitment to excellence to new heights with an exciting lineup of training opportunities for leaders and managers.

In the works for more than two years, the AHS Organizational Learning Department’s programmatic approach to learning exposes leaders to the communication skills needed to perform at optimal levels, with an eye on how they can best manage their careers and support their staff’s career development needs.

The development programs are largely selected to address themes gleaned from our employee engagement surveys, which show a consistent desire to improve communication, specifically in the areas of sharing vision, setting expectations and supporting career development. You responded, and we listened!

The training calendars for the first two quarters of 2017 are focused on “moving the engagement needle”.  For example, there are three half-day sessions designed to teach managers best practices for building the partnerships needed to accomplish AHS’s shared goals and deliver on our mission and vision. Here’s what these workshops explore:

  • Listening in a Hectic World – Leaders learn to balance the demands of getting the information they need with the awareness that every interaction provides an opportunity to cement solid work relationships.
  • Giving Needs Based Feedback – Leaders learn to give feedback that supports employees’ internal motivation to deliver organizational results.
  • Shaping a Motivational Workforce – Leaders learn to create an environment that inspires high performance by helping employees satisfy their basic psychological needs for competence, relatedness and autonomy.

The classes, designed by consultant AchieveForum, are open to AHS leaders, physician leaders, directors, managers and supervisors and are held in the Education Center Classroom on the San Leandro Hospital campus. The program is conducted by Ronnie Gravino, AHS Learning and Development Manager, and Roger Kirton, Learning and Development Specialist.

“We want to promote a culture of learning,” Ronnie says. “A big part of what our leaders do is to serve as role models for other leaders and staff, and to support their learning and development on every step of the career path.”

One essential benefit of the program is the opportunity for peer managers to network, both in and out of the classroom. The New Leader On-Boarding (NLO) program hosted a December networking event devoted strictly to peer networking that was wildly successful and drew an overflow crowd.

Class participants “get a better and bigger understanding of how important peer relationships are. They’re learning to call a colleague for help on a particular issue, for example,” Ronnie says. “A big part of the feedback we get is hearing about the benefits of being coached by their peers.”

Participants also freshen their skills in follow-up practice labs, and Ronnie and Roger field calls and emails to provide ongoing coaching. A leadership certification program is under consideration as a possible expansion. Chief Operating Officer Luis Fonseca is the program’s executive advocate.

Ronnie is glad to see the effort taking hold.

“These are focused classes aimed at opening communication, setting priorities, and clarifying expectations,” she says. “They combine to improve performance through employee engagement.”