As a leader of a healthcare organization, a key part of your role is ensuring that your institution can effectively manage change. This involves introducing new methods for success while maintaining the same or better standard of service, even as circumstances change.
To ensure smooth contracted service transitions, specifically for foodservice and support services there are several factors that must come together. When they do, they can support businesses to run as usual despite ongoing changes, and ultimately enhance performance. Keep these five considerations in mind to navigate the process without compromising patient or associate experience.
Best Practices for Contracted Service Transitions: Five Things You Need To Know
Engage Hospital Leadership in Contracted Service Transitions
Leadership engagement is non-negotiable for a successful transition. When leadership is actively involved in this process, their participation sets an example for other stakeholders and can inspire them to follow suit.
Hospital leaders who stay close to the transition process can help ensure the right resources are identified and the right people have a seat at the table. They can also help mitigate risks. Since they know their organization inside and out, healthcare administrators or other leaders can step in quickly and identify solutions when needed.
Create Strategic, Tailored Communications
In the same way that effective communication helps build healthy relationships, communication during a support services transition can help build the foundation for a healthy partnership. Support service transitions require strategic communication tailored to the audience, the situation, and the objectives of the transition. Strategic communication ensures that everyone involved in the transition will receive the right information at the right time. Hospitals have a wide range of audiences, including hospital leadership, managers, nurses, frontline staff, patients, community members, and countless others. Tailored messages to each group ensure everyone feels seen and fully understands all expectations. A frontline food service worker, for example, has different information needs than a nurse at your hospital. Both parties are impacted by the transition but in different ways.
When Compass One transitions hospitals to our services, we bring in a team dedicated to communication; this collaboration between our communications team and our new client's communication team helps to keep messaging clear, tight, and in line with the culture of each transitioning facility.
Allocate Dedicated Human Resource Support
Transitioning to a new support services partner isn't just changing service providers. It requires team members on both sides to adjust to a new way of doing things. Associates who are impacted by transitions understandably have many questions about their role, pay, benefits, scheduling, and ongoing expectations.
When planning contracted service transitions, have HR personnel on hand as you communicate these changes. They can answer employee questions and help them complete the necessary paperwork. On-site benefits meetings are another great way to build rapport and are one of several HR transition best practices we use with our clients.
Maintain a Single Point of Contact
Transitions have a lot of moving pieces and people. Even though everyone works toward the same goal, striving for the same outcome isn't enough. A single point of contact from each side who can help drive the transition and ensure that all stakeholders remain on the same page. This person's job is to help hold internal and external stakeholders accountable, communicate progress updates, and identify and mitigate risk. At Compass One, we assign a dedicated project manager for transitions, which removes the burden of daily transition tasks from the operational leads so they can be more hands-on at the transitioning hospital. The project manager also functions as the liaison between our support teams and the client's team to ensure a more streamlined communication approach. Often referred to by our teams as “air traffic control,” the project manager role is a crucial member of the transition leadership team.
Make a Plan and See It Through
Compass Group transitions about one billion dollars in new business each year. As part of Compass Group, Compass One has proven processes, templates, tools, and best practices refined from extensive healthcare transition experience. We've learned that using a standardized plan ensures we stick to our proven processes, while also leaving room to customize to our client's needs. Here are a few elements we recommend having in your transition plan:
- A team of dedicated subject matter experts to capture all critical tasks for each discipline.
- A communication and governance structure to streamline information-sharing and decision-making.
- A full transition schedule with enough lead time for a smooth and prompt Go Day.
- Key milestones, deliverables, and potential obstacles.
- Key components that can impact other parts of the support services transition, such as information technology.
While change can be intimidating, taking these five steps as your company approaches a transition can help ensure success. Engage leadership from the beginning, and clearly communicate throughout the entire process. Make sure you have dedicated HR resources from both the incoming support services provider. Simplify everything by streamlining communication through a single point of contact and follow your plan to completion.