Turnover killer #1: define and cultivate differentiators

 In Organizational Leadership

A key way top performing companies reduce turnover is by differentiating themselves from the rest of the pack. These companies know what sets them apart and they actively cultivate those attributes across all aspects of their organization. This means that two organizations in the same industry would NOT have similar names, advertising, onboarding, development practices, referrer communications or service models. Top performers are distinct in who they are and how they perform … and it shows in the metrics.

So, how are you different from everyone else in your market? Do you know what you do really well, possibly better than anyone else? If your answer includes “really caring,” supporting “life on their terms” or a particular tax status, you’re missing the mark. Your competitors would likely say the same thing. Let’s reframe …

Think about a favorite referral source. Why do they value you? What emotional, factual or otherwise compelling benefits do you provide to them that keep them sending patients and families your way? Perhaps your liaisons make their life easier or they communicate really well. Or, maybe your rehospitalization rate is below anyone else in your area.

Next, think about the best HH/CAHPS survey results or thank you notes you’ve received. Any consistent themes? Maybe your organization consistently does an excellent job with pain and symptom management for cancer patients or reducing ER visits for those with CHF.

What about your best employees? What specifically makes them so great? Maybe your care team does an excellent job communicating with patients and their families. Or, they coach and develop other team members really well. Perhaps you’ve cultivated new methods of effective and engaging communications with families where they feel that you’re anticipating their questions. Perhaps you have a liaison who does an excellent job demonstrating for referral sources the specific impact of your care on their practice

Keep working through your various “bests” and look for clusters or patterns. We’ve developed a very simple analysis tool you can use to visualize your findings.

Once you uncover true differentiators, name them and claim them. Infuse them in your brand, your vision, your values, your hiring and evaluation practices. Talk with your team about how you more fully live your differentiators across all aspects of your service model from admissions to team member performance assessments to volunteer communications.

Also, take a look at your competitors. Are you truly differentiated or are you using the same language (or maybe even a very similar name) to someone else in the area? Could your team member easily jump from your organization to a competitor? Are your missions, processes, development approaches similar? Because if all things are fairly similar, salary can become the only differentiator and that’s not a healthy place to be.

When you’re ready to take the next step to identify your differentiators and build true competitive advantage, we’ve got a First Steps framework to help you construct your unique roadmap.

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