How Expertship helped global healthcare provider GenesisCare drive an innovative new strategic approach to health care.

Written by Grant Heinrich 20 Dec 2021

The challenge

Within a single year, GenesisCare more than doubled in size. How could its People and Culture Team strengthen its technical leadership bench, and ensure 5,500+ healthcare professionals are empowered to challenge cancer and heart disease?

The solution

Expertship programs and coaching have created a cohort of “business ready” technical specialists, who have what it takes to succeed in a wide range of challenging strategic roles.

How it happened.

GenesisCare’s core mission is to find new and innovative ways to tackle the two biggest health burdens globally – cancer and heart disease. With a network of more than 5,500 highly trained physicians, healthcare professionals and support staff, it is now a global healthcare company and one of the largest integrated oncology organisations in the world.

Every year, GenesisCare clinical teams see more than 400,000 people at more than 440 locations across Australia, the United States, United Kingdom and Spain. The organisation is world’s largest provider of radiotherapy – a vital treatment option for cancer patients – and provides patients with access to diagnostics, medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiotherapy and novel therapies, alongside the ability to participate in the latest clinical trials.

And across 2020 and 2021, GenesisCare more than doubled its global footprint. This posed a myriad of opportunities and challenges for its People and Culture Team.

How do innovative companies segment development programs?

Suzanne Davies, from GenesisCare’s Talent and Capability team, explains “New ideas, approaches, skills and goals are essential to GenesisCare, and everyone is encouraged to take the initiative and be brave to think outside the box. We need our people to be successful in their individual roles as this directly impacts the quality of care and patient experience we are providing.”

“Traditional talent development is very much focused on developing better people leaders. But for highly technical companies like GenesisCare, where our competitive advantage resides in our ability to innovate, an additional form of leadership must be developed.

“Our development planning now draws a distinction between leadership - traditional coaching and training for people leaders - and expertship, which is development for GenesisCare technical specialists including doctors, radiation therapists, cardio physiologists, physicists, engineers, and more.”

GenesisCare worked with Expertunity to co-author two Expertship program, Impact for subject matter experts such as physicists, and Exceed for leaders of clinical medical practices. “The programs have now created a core cohort of 85 skilled experts in Australia and the UK who understand how to drive change in both domains,” said Ms Davies.

Why do medical and health specialists need different training to traditional leaders?

“We hire experts for their technical knowledge,” Davies says. “But they don’t all arrive at GenesisCare knowing how to lead an innovation project, or how to sell the benefits of complex and transformational ideas to their managers, boards and CEOs. Or how to ensure that their technical expertise is leveraged across the organisation to benefit everyone.”

By developing experts to have a wide range of business skills, GenesisCare has improved its ability to achieve strategic targets.

“Expertship is core to our future-facing strategy,” says Davies. “We want to ensure patients receive timely access to affordable high quality care and the latest treatment innovations and clinical trials. This strategic approach gives GenesisCare the adaptability we need to be a key player in a market as dynamic as health.

“The strategy relies partly on new technology and processes, and partly on change to culture, healthcare practices, and patient service”

How People and Culture can help reduce time to market for new initiatives

“By mapping Expertship alumni to our implementation strategy, we have a pool of Impact alumni ready for to take on the most critical strategic roles. Because we can now staff key strategic initiatives from internal candidates, we reduce the risk and delay inherent in hiring for critical roles, which then reduces our time to market.”

“We now have a cohort of engaged, energised experts, motivated to add more value to GenesisCare and be a positive force for change in their teams. The power of this large network lets the group drive change quickly, decisively, and collaboratively – all critical to the execution of complex strategy.”

In a recent internal survey, she adds, “One hundred percent of managers of participants agree their team members now exhibit higher levels of contribution to the team and GenesisCare overall. Overall, managers say that Expertship and Impact has improved the consulting skills, levels of contribution and motivation among the cohort.”

How People and Culture can improve hiring and retention

Finally, Davies says, “Impact has significantly enhanced our ability to hire and retain the best staff who will deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients. The opportunity to participate in this style of program is attractive to exactly the kind of technical and medical expert we prefer to hire - that is, a new hire who values the challenge to continuously improve.

“We face stiff competition to retain hyper-competitive staff such as physicists, and Expertship and Impact are an inducement to stay that few want to resist. Employees see our investment in Impact as proof that GenesisCare values its expert employees more than our competitors do.

“Impact and Exceed are incredibly popular. I’m always astounded by the number of nominations we get for each program. One of my favourite things is telling people that they’re on the program – it’s great to see how delighted our specialists are to hear they’ve been accepted.”

What tips does GenesisCare offer to others thinking about training technical specialists?

It’s far more productive to invest in an Expertship program than have to continually hire new experts in.

“But if you want to get your executive team to buy into Expertship, it helps to understand where it is most urgent and useful? What roles have high turnover? How easy is it to hire those roles?”

Experts like virtual and remote training.

“We moved to remote workshops during Covid, and we now know that they prefer an online presentation to the in-person training we ran before Covid. Online coaching gives you time to think. Experts appreciate that. From our perspective, it’s excellent – we can now offer places to participants in any location.”

In any new development program, there’s steps you should take to make sure the first few cohorts are successful.

“Brief managers early about the results they will should expect by nominating one of their team for an Expertship program. (We start briefing managers four months before a program begins.)”

Make sure your briefing outlines responsibilities as well as goals. That briefing needs to make clear the criteria of who should be nominated, and also make the manager’s responsibility clear.

“Manager support is critical – they provide the opportunities for their nominees to practice and embed new Expertship skills during and after a program. Our Expertship programs run six months, with manager and coach checkouts through the program, and we’ve recently introduced a graduation ceremony to make sure everyone celebrates what an achievement it is to complete the program.”

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