June 22, 2016
Moore Mission Moments - The Watershed Group


by Patti Moore


     In hospice, your only product is service, and nothing is more important to that than proper staffing. No matter how powerful your mission statement is or how beautiful your facility, your people have to be service-oriented and fully committed to the work. Hospice doesn’t run on a nine-to-five, five-day week; it’s 24/7, and we can never be less than our best. We deal daily with the dying and the grieving, and that means that everyone, from the social worker to the nurses’ aide to the bookkeeper, has to be emotionally stable and mature enough to handle that.


     What do you look for in a potential hire? My first priority in doing executive searches for clients today is the same as it was when I was hiring as an hospice Executive Director; I look for people who have a belief in something greater than themselves. I don’t mean religion necessarily, but faith in goodness, faith in humankind, faith in the rightness of the universe. People who are comfortable with themselves, who are curious, independent, confident and flexible are best able to adapt to the challenges hospice care can throw at them, because often we find ourselves caring for people in less than ideal settings and we’ve got to be able to project calm self-confidence no matter what.


     What hiring practices should you have in place to ensure that the people you bring on board are the best possible fit for your organization? How do you support them once they’re there?

  • Start with a great hiring tool. There are many available. I like the Predictive Index (PI), a talent management system that looks at four key aspects of the applicant’s personality; dominance, extroversion, patience and formality. Incorporating analytics into your hiring process gives you a better chance of making an appropriate hire based on solid, scientific data.
  • Plan for a series of interviews with management and team members.  Interviewees need a chance to interact with those with whom they’ll be working to see if they’re a good fit.
  • Let the interviewee do the talking. Ask probing questions, then give him or her the floor. If the interviewee isn’t doing at least 60% of the talking, you need to revamp your interview process.
  • Proper on-boarding is crucial to success. Once you’ve made your choice, make sure they understand the culture, mission and expectations of your organization as thoroughly as they do their specific duties. 
  • Schedule regular performance reviews and make certain that accountability is built in. If someone’s performance isn’t up to par, they need clear and appropriate feedback on an ongoing basis.
  • Support your staff! This work is emotionally taxing, and a word or note of thanks can go a long way. Thank the individual in the way he or she likes to be thanked, whether that’s in private or at a staff meeting.


Interesting Image

Look for the helpers: As Fred Rogers’ mother memorably told him; when scary things happen, look around for the helpers. In the aftermath of the horrors visited on Orlando, we don’t have to look far to find those helpers stepping forward, as they always do, to bring comfort and support where it’s needed most.


How to hang onto great staff: What would it take to make you realize that your organization’s workplace culture is driving off the talent you need? How about one of your best and brightest handing in her resignation, saying, “I love this place, but it is not conducive to having a life”? In an emotionally demanding, high-expectations environment like hospice, work-related stress is a given. This piece offers smart solutions to make it manageable for your staff.


Preserving the most precious memories: “For photographer Sheri Kendrick, capturing images of children who have life-limiting or terminal illnesses is an experience she calls "sacred." Kendrick has been a photographer for nearly two decades, but in the last several years, has worked to start Little Light of Mine, a non-profit organization that serves the Tampa Bay area of Florida.”



Congrats and best wishes to Susan Levine, retiring as Hospice of the Valley’s executive director after 23 years this July 1, and to Debbie Shumway, senior vice president, who will assume the top leadership position.


Patti will be working with clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts this week, then is off to Kentucky to meet with other clients. She’ll be speaking in Grand Junction, Colorado at the end of July, leading into a very busy August!

The Watershed Group
Phone: 352-495-2800  |  Fax: 352-495-1810
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