‘Talent Garden’ at University Health System of San Antonio

University Health System’s (UHS) focus on its front line employees is delivering outstanding outcomes that it’s Talent Development strategy has been designed to deliver. With an 81% student/employee job advancement rate for a group of its frontline employees, UHS has created an environment that is supportive of employee growth and organizational success. Appropriately termed their “Talent Garden”, UHS has created an environment where everyone can thrive.

The Talent Garden’s recently graduated its first ECHO skill development cohort for mid-level associates who are now well on their way to achieving big career dreams and goals. And, while turnover costs make retention an obvious organizational priority, UHS’ efforts are still at the cutting edge of frontline engagement trends.

Studies show that highly engaged employees report that they experience ALL of these and more:

  • an opportunity to learn and grow,
  • are encouraged to seek development,
  • have a manager that cares about them
  • they view their job as important
  • and someone talks about their progress

The Executive Director of the Center for Learning Excellence, Jacque Burandt, provided all of these when she chose to offer the ECHO program. “We have lots of programs, not just for directors and managers, but also for the front line,” says Jacque. “We are always working on two paths, better skill development in whatever your job is, then secondly, where do you want to go in the big vision of the health system.”

According to Jacque Burandt, Executive Director of UHS’s Center for Learning Excellence, “the ECHO program supports their philosophy of promoting from within. ECHO offers a unique opportunity for the organization to fill a gap that often prevents non clinical employees from having the tools and educational foundation necessary to successfully transition to more advanced roles within the system, should they so choose.” ECHO’s delivery format is designed for the adult learner, incorporating multiple learning modalities while at the same time providing a foundation for increased confidence, academic discipline, and formal career planning.

The quotes below show some of the successes thus far and just how well participants used and appreciated the opportunity:

“I hope that UHS can continue with programs like this one, to show their employees this company cares about continuing education.” – Irma Beltran, ECHO graduate.

“I currently work in the Patient Business Services Department. The ECHO program has inspired me to go back to school. I plan to go to St. Phillips for nursing. I appreciate all you do for us.”

“The ECHO Program…was an opportunity I could not pass up. It has helped me in getting motivated to go back to school. I am enrolled with Concordia University and pursuing my Bachelors in Healthcare Administration.”

I am attending Southern Careers Institute and am working towards receiving my Medical Coding Certification. The ECHO program gave me the opportunity to see that I am not too old to go back to school and pursue my dreams.”

Looks like UHS certainly has some future leaders on their hands! Fifteen total employees were chosen to participate in ECHO, 12 of those completed the program – an 80% completion rate. ECHO was facilitated by a former School at Work program graduate, Laura Hernandez. She found her passion for helping others through that experience and has since earned a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration which she puts to good use at UHS.

Certainly outcomes are very important and the Talent Garden continues to track them for this first class. Be on the lookout for the continuation of this story as results come in!

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