The Art and Science of Serving in HR
The following is an excerpt from The 50: HR Leaders Reimagining the Filipino Organization. Authored by Emee Dy, this chapter is titled, “[The Art and Science of Serving in HR.” In it, Aimee Jane Martinez, the Human resources Director of Asian Hospital, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in improving rapport throughout employees.
Founded on a vision to provide Filipinos with top medical services across the country, Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC) focused its strategies on being preventive and curative in the ever-changing world. With a tagline of “Global Expertise. Filipino Heart.”, AHMC prioritized being able to serve different patients with different needs.
AHMC HR Director Aimee Jane T. Martinez shared several initiatives that have been developed in line with their motto. In 2017, the Labor-Management Council was established and named TAPAT: the “Tatak Asian, Pusong Asian Team" (in English, this roughly translates to “the Asian brand, the heart of the Asian team”). TAPAT is the Filipino word for honesty that shines through the lengths AHMC went to add value to patients.
TAPAT pushed for a stronger company culture through the voice of employees, driven by both the executive and staff levels within the organization. Martinez felt that although three years had passed since the team was formally established, TAPAT was still present amongst employees. The team stayed centered on finding the best way to structure the business to be most adaptive to the needs of patients.
Martinez shed light on AHMC’s other programs that have shaped the organization’s ability to continually adapt, such as its Extreme Life Incident Team (ELITE), sponsoring nurses’ oath-taking, and being a Joint Commission International (JCI)-accredited hospital.
Back in 2017, AHMC established ELITE, a team composed of individuals trained by AHMC’s Department Chair in Psychiatry, Dr. Salvador Benjamin D. Vista. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed many things into perspective, revealing the crucial role of mental health in day-to-day activities. Thus, members of ELITE had to share their expertise in debriefing employees.
Martinez also proudly shared that AHMC is the only hospital that has sponsored the oath-taking of nurses. AHMC took an event that typically occurs in the nurses’ respective schools and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) a step further.
“This is why nurses are drawn to AHMC. We put so much importance to our nurses, even at the very beginning of their journey as a nurse,” Martinez said. As a JCI-accredited hospital, nurses at AHMC would have an easier job search in the Philippines; if they chose to part ways with the organization. AHMC is particular about credentials and certifications, which has resulted in a well-trained and passionate team.
But this did not mean that Martinez and the rest of the organization have not faced challenges. In 2018, there was a global crisis in nursing recruitment. Regardless, if the hospital was private, secondary, or public, all struggled to lower the turnover of nurses. “We hired an average of 25 nurses monthly, but we also lost 23 nurses within the same month,” Martinez shared.
AHMC faced the challenge head-on. The organization was the first hospital to partner with an American outsourcing agency. Within a year, they closed a deal with them, securing a clear future for their nurses. The deal outlined that nurses would be with AHMC for two years, then would be guaranteed the chance to work in America upon the completion of the two-year period.
Coming up with these programs, Martinez and her HR team formulated innovative and forward-thinking ideas to adapt to the evolving global atmosphere. Responsible for both culture building and performance management, they know that high levels of engagement driven by the said programs had to be translated somewhere.
At AHMC, HR is in charge of creating and developing every employees’ competency development plan: from the President of the company to all of its staff members. HR identified every organizations' members' skills.
HR then monitored the competency development plan throughout the year. At the end of each year, if all goals for skills development have been exhausted, HR determined whether the employee is ready to progress to the next level.
When faced with challenges - like the COVID-19 pandemic today - the role of HR is magnified. There are times when everything seems to be going astray when people aren’t as engaged as they should be; and HR goes well beyond their respective job descriptions to ensure that all employees are engaged and that this is translated to their work.
When an employee is engaged, they come to work happy, create exceptional work, and show up on time.
“HR is a balance between being an art and being a science. It is an art because of employee engagement. The HR team needs to be creative; sharing their personal touches and applying their EQ to their work. On the other hand, HR is a science. We need to develop a sense of structure to the goals, like workforce development and reporting lines,” concluded Martinez.
To get more insights from other HR leaders like Aimee Jane Martinez, please check out the full book, available for purchase here.
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