Vishal Bhalla is the VP & Chief Experience Officer at Parkland Health & Hospital System. Similar to my guest Shawn Smith in my last interview, Vishal also transitioned into healthcare from hospitality, after nearly 20 years in the industry. After a personal encounter spending a few days each month in a hospital for two years, Vishal realized he wanted to serve in healthcare. In today’s episode, Vishal and I discuss how he is managing the transformation of the culture and employee experience at Parkland in order to fundamentally improve the hospital’s customer experience. Vishal shares a lot of great tactical advice in this episode, so I encourage you to give it a full listen!
Embed the Employee Experience
After spending some time as Parkland’s director of talent acquisition, Vishal understood how important the employee experience is to the overall organizational experience. As the CXO, his goal was to embed the employee experience as CX at Parkland. CX and culture are foundational to a positive customer patient experience and their families.
Since this role previously existed but in a different capacity, Vishal needed to first understand what has and hasn’t worked in the past regarding employee experience. He shadowed frontline employees on the floor and interviewed people face to face to get first-hand accounts of their experiences.
A new process for employee surveys: employee surveys previously garnered over 1300+ action items based off the various departments and silos within the team. There were too many priorities and agendas, not all departments could execute solutions to their problems. Vishal and his team decided to field the top 3 concerns among the various hospital work units in order to achieve convergence among the group.
Sorting through independent and dependent variables: A survey question asking “Would you recommend this hospital?” is based on a dependent variable since the recommendation relies on many other factors; this makes it harder to determine an action item. Vishal decided to focus on the independent variables and whose control they were in. For example, as a result of the internal surveys, 98% of responses indicated people wanted their teams to work well together; this is something that is in every individual’s control. With the focus to improve this desire, all teams decided on action items they could create to help the teams work well together.
Supervisor action item: what do I need to support my team?
Manager action item: what do I need to support my subordinates?
To help motivate and keep teams on track, Vishal designed a poster with the objective as the headline of it, “My Team Works Well Together,” and the top 3 action items to achieve that goal. There’s a percentage of completion number next to each action item, and every month they check-in and update the percentage of completion. Simplicity is key!
Uniting the C-Suite and Various Departments for Organizational Goals
According to Vishal, the CEO and Chief Strategy officers are visionaries who want to lead both the employee and customer experience. He continuously updates the C-Suite with data regarding how they’ve been simplifying the process along the way, while also sharing quick wins to give them hope and show how progress is advancing. Vishal and I chat about the importance of level-setting and re-establishing baseline metrics, especially after coming into a role, reevaluating the situation and changing the process.
Vishal shared that he was completely engaged with stakeholders along the way. He looked at all of the data, determined what changes needed to be made, and where they want the new direction to go. Since data is so contextual and circumstantial, it was important that they begin this new system of analyzation and level-setting.
Although he’s still uniting leaders in terms of using the same language to communicate the customer experience journey, they’re currently focusing on the foundation of the Parkland CX, led by 3 independent variables: friendliness of workers, providers, and responsiveness to calls. Metrics regarding these variables are shared each month, and everyone’s definition of success is the same.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
- I did not spend enough time with the “why” [of employee and customer experience]. Initially, I thought I spent enough time, doing this, but I didn’t think. There’s a push to get started on the work, but it’s important that everyone understands why this is truly happening.
There’s a push to get started on the #CX work, but it's important that everyone understands internally, why this is truly happening. - Vishal Bhalla CXO @Parkland #CustExp Click To Tweet
- When it comes to being tactical vs. strategic, there’s a lot of managing expectations, especially when it comes to score building. But leadership needs alignment around the priorities of delivering now and the slow progress of building something meaningful and effective for the long-term.
Leadership needs alignment around the priorities of delivering now and the slow progress of building something meaningful and effective for the long-term. - Vishal Bhalla CXO @Parkland Click To Tweet
- It’s critical that you understand the organizational culture and start cultivating it, leading to the customer experience.
It's critical that you understand the organizational culture and start cultivating it, leading to the customer experience. -Vishal Bhalla CXO @Parkland Click To Tweet
About Vishal Bhalla
Vishal Bhalla joined Parkland in August 2016 and soon moved into the role of Vice President and Chief Experience Officer (CXO), focusing on the experience of employees, patients, families and providers.
Transitioning to healthcare from a successful career in hospitality, Vishal completed his Master of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) along with a Healthcare Certificate from the joint Harvard-MIT “Initiative for Health Systems Innovation”. Vishal also serves as the Chair of the Workforce Collaborative at the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council. Vishal is passionate about leveraging his Quant and System Science skills, along with his hospitality experience, to enable meaningful employee and patient experiences.