Meadville Medical Center Uses Performance Manager for a More Meaningful Performance Appraisal

Meadville Medical Center (MMC) in Pennsylvania serves more than 75,000 people in Crawford County and an additional 150,000 people from northwestern Pennsylvania through a state-of-the art medical center, a free-standing cancer center and rural health clinics. MMC holds certification from Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and prides itself on being the first hospital in Pennsylvania certified in ISO 9001. So when MMC received negative results in their annual employee satisfaction survey, they knew things needed to change. So what did the survey results say? Sixty-five percent of the hospital’s 1,300 employees took the survey and said that the organization was doing a poor job of recognizing achievements and holding people accountable. And performance evaluations weren’t addressing the fundamental employee concerns. “We took the results very seriously,” said Greg Maras, Vice President of Human Resources for MMC. “We were determined to fix our ineffective performance appraisal process and ultimately change the culture of our organization.”

The Old Way

Prior to engaging with HealthcareSource®, the MMC annual performance appraisal process was extremely labor-intensive for the entire HR department. They were responsible for printing out each evaluation—some as long as 18 pages—and sending them to the corresponding department via interoffice mail. HR staff members were constantly tracking down appraisals, filing paperwork and reminding managers about deadlines. “We had one employee who dedicated the majority of her time to this process and this wasn’t her only job,” Maras said. MMC was also facing a serious problem with their evaluation process. In fact, most employees considered it a joke. Evaluations weren’t relevant to job descriptions and the key performance issues were not being addressed. “We were evaluating employees on things like adhering to the dress code instead of how they performed their essential job duties,” said Maras. “We were missing out on meaningful discussions with employees about improving their knowledge and skills, and ultimately moving our organization to the next level.”

The Search for a Better Way

MMC knew they needed to move quickly to find a solution to automate and improve their performance appraisal process. They were already using HealthcareSource Position Manager® and were thrilled to hear HealthcareSource offered a performance management system. “We trusted HealthcareSource and knew they deliver a quality product tailored for the healthcare industry,” said Maras. Performance Manager also provided MMC with the tools needed to reduce the administrative burden on HR and align employee and organizational goals. Before MMC could implement Performance Manager, they had an extremely important, yet daunting task to undertake. They needed to re-work their employee evaluations to make them more meaningful. And considering the number of different job descriptions in the organization, this was easier said than done. But HealthcareSource made the process easier for MMC by providing guidance and best-practice examples from similar healthcare organizations. The resulting evaluations were a first step towards implementing a process for organizational culture change. Employees were to be rated on 10 to12 essential employee duties, including a component for rating employees on their exemplification of organizational values.

Learning a New Way

To guide MMC through the process of implementing the software, HealthcareSource provided an implementation specialist and trainer, helping to smooth over any potential bumps in the road. “Their experience was invaluable,” said Maras. “Because they’ve worked with so many similar healthcare organizations, they knew exactly what needed to be done to go live before our annual appraisal process”. Maras also teamed with the HealthcareSource trainer to educate managers on how Performance Manager could help them to improve their appraisal process by collecting feedback and regularly reviewing and adjusting employee goals throughout the year. “It was about changing the fundamental misconception that employee evaluations and discussions were a once-a-year exercise,” said Maras.

Manager and Employee Reaction

The response from MMC’s managers has been overwhelmingly positive. They are particularly excited how easy it is to pull out feedback and scan documents into the system — like letters from patients and co-workers. And they love the multi-rater feature, which allows them to easily collect feedback from others. “I’m constantly hearing how easy the software is to use and how much time they are saving,” said Maras. Maras is also hearing from employees on a regular basis, “They love it. We’ve established a whole new level of trust because we’re finally sharing evaluations.” And the fact that employees are finally being rated on what they do every day means that the appraisals are no longer considered a joke. “In very little time, Performance Manager allowed us to improve employee satisfaction, increase transparency and accountability, and move us forward on our journey to be the superior healthcare provider in our community.”

  • Manual paper-based performance appraisal process
  • Ineffective and labor-intensive performance appraisal process
  • Holding employees accountable
  • Reduced administrative burden on HR
  • Access to everything needed to process appraisals
  • More meaningful employee evaluations
  • Employees love the easy to use system
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • Increased transparency and accountability


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