Ruth-Ann Clurman, Director Of Learning And O.D., Ascension Information Services
Why Is Collaboration Such An Important Part Of Your Learning And Development Business?
It is not only an organizational goal for our parent organization — Ascension, the nation’s largest nonprofit and Catholic health system — it is the foundation upon which we build our plans for growth and innovation. Ascension Information Services CEO Mark Barner considers learning and development a necessity — there are no shortcuts — and this thinking permeates the organization at all levels. He often speaks about how he considers AIS a “learning organization.” This is consistent with all of Ascension, which places great emphasis on learning and development.
How Do You Achieve Collaboration Successfully?
Our social learning tool leverages the knowledge of those who know our national health ministry best: our associates. They understand what is important to achieving our organizational objectives. We also have a chief executive who — along with the other senior leaders on our Ascension Information Services Executive Council — not only endorses but expects collaboration and innovation. The tool allows us to deliver on those expectations. Organizations frequently tend to engage in one-way communication (leadership to associates), meaning they don’t always benefit from the full capabilities of the professionals they hire. But within Ascension Information Services, a variety of two-way communication practices engenders conversation, learning and organizational and personal growth.
How Do You Use Your Social Learning Tool To Increase Collaboration?
The 70% Advantage tool has helped our associates feel more connected to the organization and its leadership. Our previous engagement survey revealed our associates had a desire to know our senior leaders better and understand the reasons our leaders make certain decisions. Through the tool, we now have a direct yet simple way for leadership to communicate organizational objectives. Our associates can use it to learn more about virtually any business or organizational topic, then engage in discussions with colleagues and leadership alike to further their understanding. We also ensure compliance dates for learning requirements appear as a banner on the tool’s home page to alert associates to upcoming course deadlines.
How Have You Measured The Effectiveness And Usage Of What You’re Doing?
We measure usage each quarter. Not long after the tool was introduced, 50 percent of our associates were using it. As of the third quarter of our current fiscal year, though, we recorded a 99.6 percent usage rate, which is exceptional. We drive traffic to 70% Advantage by linking mandatory associate courses to the tool and offering items of interest such as TED Talks and subsites focused on team collaboration. In the busy world of health care information technology, we understand the value of taking time out to listen to an inspirational message, something perfectly aligned with our faith-based culture, so we also include those types of messages on the tool. Our associates visit it frequently. Many internal teams use it for collaboration and conversation, increasing its role as a gathering place for our associates. When large group meetings take place, associates can visit 70% Advantage to view photographs of meeting participants, which creates a sense of connection with their colleagues because associates can see their colleagues’ faces. We continue to develop content enhancements and make improvements to keep the tool fresh, interesting and useful.