Why are so many hospitals focused on improving their hiring and promotion systems? It’s primarily about reducing costs and enhancing quality. Hospitals need to reduce the costs associated with turnover and work-related injuries. They need to eliminate applicants who are likely to commit medical errors while improving patient satisfaction scores. They need a workforce that is service focused and able to thrive in a ‘lean’ environment. Just as important, but not as often their first thought – reducing legal risk. There is heightened scrutiny of hospitals by the OFCCP and EEOC. Over 15,000 Federal employment discrimination suits are filed each year. Nearly 100,000 EEOC claims result in recoveries of almost $400 Million.Hospitals saw an 18.6% rise in EEOC bias claims in 2010, and the healthcare industry as a whole saw a 21.7% increase. (HealthLeaders Media's article EEOC Healthcare Bias Complaints on the Rise.)
Progressive healthcare institutions are discovering that organization-wide, hiring systems leveraging valid assessment tools and processes are extremely low risk and embraced by knowledgeable employment law attorneys. Consider the following risk variables when evaluating your current selection processes:
Consistency: Employers get into trouble when they apply hiring practices differently across the organization.
Competency documentation: Solid documentation of the relationship between hiring tools (interview, background check, application, screening tests) and the job is key to legal defensibility.
Validity: While “test validity” is important, it is more appropriate to consider ‘system’ validity. How valid is the entire hiring system? Does the system comply with the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, used by both the OFCCP and EEOC?
As you are discussing your hiring system, testing and interviews, give sufficient attention to legal defensibility. Whether you choose to use formal assessments or not, be aware that every decision point in the hiring process is considered a 'test' under the Uniform Guidelines. You can significantly reduce the threat to the hospital’s valuable assets by taking a deliberate approach that will not only enhance the quality of the workforce, but also improve the defensibility of every hiring or promotion decision.
Is your hospital subject to OFCCP jurisdiction? The OFCCP believes that many are.