Humber River’s Organizational Development Team: Effectively leading HRRH into the future

Organizational development is at the forefront of planning for Toronto’s Humber River Regional Hospital, and talent management is therefore a high priority for this multi-site acute care hospital. “As we prepare to build Ontario’s first digital hospital – a state-of-the-art lean and green facility – we must have the right people in the right positions at all levels,” notes Rueben Devlin, HRRH President & CEO. “It’s our people, as a team, who will help our organization improve on the service that we already provide to our patients and families, and make Humber River a leading-edge provider of care.”

For Greg Shaw, recently appointed as HRRH’s Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness, and his team, professional development is the key to moving Humber River to a new level. Working closely with the hospital’s senior management team, they’re also refining Humber River’s systems and processes as the hospital gets ready to build one of the largest regional acute care centres.

“It’s about culture, and developing the people who are a part of that culture, especially in an organization as complex as ours,” explains Shaw. “While I was initially drawn to Humber River because of its exciting redevelopment plans, I was equally inspired by Rueben Devlin’s commitment to the ongoing development of Humber’s people, its’ processes and talent management practices. Rueben firmly believes that the Human Resources components are as important as the new hospital building itself. One concept we both value very highly – it’s about our people, not the bricks and mortar.”

1) In December, Shaw shared some insights into their proposed human capital leadership techniques model, and explained how the Human Resources team is supporting the Hospital’s efforts in preparing for Humber River’s hospital of the future.

What are your goals in helping to redefine the culture at Humber River Regional Hospital?

First and foremost, determining the Human Resources needs of our organization, and structuring and delivering programs and services to meet these needs.

We are also looking at several of our systems and processes and intend to align these systems in advance of our move to the new Humber River Regional Hospital in 2014. This will not only assist in making the transition as seamless as possible, but also make our new facility even more enticing to the best medical talent out there.

We’re also creating a leadership and organizational development function for the purpose of aligning the organization as we begin to shift toward a single, unified culture.

2) How are you planning to execute these goals?

In addition to the creation of a new Labour Relations approach and philosophy, we are implementing a new human capital leadership model, using a competency-based approach which encompasses all key aspects of talent management, such as workforce requirements, recruitment and selection, learning and development, and reward and recognition. We’ve also been very fortunate in retaining the services of Franca Hoda as our Director of Leadership and Organizational Development. Franca was involved in launching the foundational work required to create Ontario’s first provincial leadership institute for health care, and is an expert in leadership models and talent management programs. We are lucky to have Franca on our team and I know our organization is already benefiting greatly from her experience and expertise. In the coming months Franca and I will be working closely with our Senior Management Team to develop, roll out and ultimately sustain this leadership model, which will improve the organizational performance while we begin the shift to a unified culture at Humber River.

3) How do you envision the future culture at Humber River?

Ideally, our hospital culture would be defined as every individual contributing their fullest towards achieving Humber River’s strategy and goals. Elements of that culture would include following:

• Nuturing trust

• Encouraging reflection

• Demonstrating the value

of learning

• Enabling knowledge sharing

• Empowering employees

• Formalizing learning as a


• Acquiring and applying

knowledge and skills

A learning culture is business relevant and not academic. It enables organizations to identify the problems in their products/services and fix them quickly, to out-innovate others, and simultaneously improve service quality while driving costs down.

4) What do these goals look like in practical terms?

Embedded in the leadership model are multiple process changes that our team will work to implement over the next several months. They include talent management and succession planning to better understand our workforce requirements and to begin to build our internal talent pipeline. Also included are behavior-based interviewing, incorporating competencies into our interviewing and selection processes; performance management processes and tools to align individual goals/objectives with HRRH’s corporate goals and strategic plan; coaching and mentoring services and leadership development programs to enhance our leadership and workforce capabilities. The common – and integrating – thread in each of these areas will be our competency models.

HRRH’s staff performance review processes will be aligned to the organizational strategy, thereby driving organizational performance and creating a consistent approach to evaluating our employees. This will be a tool to be used for staff development purposes.

Overall, we are very excited about the new leadership and organizational development strategies we are working to implement at Humber River. We look forward to a strong focus on succession planning and on equipping our staff with the consistent training and development they need to reach their personal goals. If we do that, we will reach the goals of our hospital as well. Together, and in all areas, we remain committed to providing our patients and community with high quality care today and in the future.