October 15, 2006 11:30 ET

New Employee Opinion Study Shows U.S. Healthcare Companies Stumble in Providing Strong Leadership and Employee Supervision

NASHVILLE, TN -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 15, 2006 -- ASHHRA CONFERENCE -- Leading global employee research and consulting firm ISR today announced the findings of an employee opinion study revealing that U.S. healthcare companies are facing the need to drastically improve leadership and employee supervision.

The findings reveal that healthcare companies may be responsible for an increasingly poor work-life balance for employees, even as sectors of the U.S. healthcare market face shortfalls in talent. Through June 2006, the health services sector has the highest job openings rate among all major U.S. industries at 3.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The study results come from an analysis of ISR's U.S. Healthcare Norm, ISR's U.S. National Norm, and ISR's Global High Performance Companies Norm, which collectively comprise survey scores gathered from more than 200,000 U.S. employees.

When comparing the strength of U.S. healthcare companies' leadership and staff supervision to both the U.S. National Norm, and to ISR's Global High Performance Companies Norm (which comprises survey scores from companies that both perform financially at the highest levels for their industry and demonstrate excellent people practices), there was a statistically significant decline.

Leadership effectiveness was rated 12 percent lower at U.S. healthcare companies, at 57 percent, than ISR's Global High Performance Companies Norm at 69 percent, and four percent lower than the U.S. National Norm at 61 percent. Also, ISR's Global High Performance Companies scored eight percent higher in staff supervision, with 76 percent vs. 68 percent favorable for healthcare companies.

"Strong leadership is a critical success factor for the healthcare market, affecting everything from financial performance to patient care," said ISR Executive Director Soni Basi. "In order to achieve sustained success, leadership teams must address problematic communication gaps between mid- and senior-level managers that will help maintain quality while improving employee satisfaction."

"Senior healthcare leaders responsible for establishing strategic directions and overseeing operations need to focus on building cultures that support all employees," said ISR Senior Project Manager Kelly Harkcom. "And mid-level managers need assistance, perhaps facilitated by an impartial outsider, in order to help them to understand how to best manage the cultural disconnects that exist between managers and healthcare providers."

According to Basi, who has worked with many of the top healthcare organizations in North America, today's healthcare industry leaders can improve retention rates, which can help minimize labor shortages, by addressing a number of issues for current employees, such as standardizing management practices, ensuring clear job roles and creating patient-centered environments.

Renewed attention to these management practices will help the healthcare market stem current labor needs and better manage the growing demand for talent, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the healthcare industry will grow at a rate of 25.5 percent through 2010 and will add 1.3 million new jobs.

About ISR

ISR is a global HR research and consulting firm founded in 1974. ISR has designed and implemented employee, management, and customer surveys for 35 million employees from more than 3,000 companies in 106 countries. Visit ISR online at

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