to facilitate their talent investment strategy

Performance management can be one of the key differentiators in attracting and retaining scarce key skills. Making use of smart, flexible software solutions which matched their forward-thinking attitude has contributed to making Medihelp medical scheme an employer of choice in the healthcare insurance industry.


About Medihelp

Established in 1905, Medihelp is the third-largest open medical scheme in South Africa. The Scheme takes care of the healthcare needs of more than 236 000 South Africans.

Medihelp’s client service philosophy relies on fast and efficient claims processing. Medihelp pays on average 253 000 claims per month. Operating in a very competitive market, the internationally renowned Global Credit Rating Co.  awarded Medihelp a claims-paying ability rating of AA- (AA minus). In fact, Medihelp sets itself apart from other schemes based on its fast and efficient claims processing and an ethos that sees all its staff place the needs of their clients ahead of any other consideration. However, achieving this client altruism first requires staff members who are themselves assured that their employer  values their needs and is proactive in addressing all HR issues.


The challenge

Like many medical schemes, Medihelp was concerned with the alarming lack of specialised skills available. It found itself in a race to obtain the scarce skills that were available and to retain these precious resources once they were found.

Under the guidance of the Senior Manager: Human Resources, Kobie van Eeden, Medihelp realised that a bold approach was needed which allowed the scheme to view skills acquisition and retention in a new way.

The implementation of a revised talent management strategy required an HR management software solution that could handle the challenge of disparate databases as well as the unique requirements of Medihelp’s short- and long-term business and people requirements.


The solution

In August 2008, the Medihelp board approved a talent investment strategy which addressed the scheme’s need to attract, retain and develop the best skills in the country. Shortly thereafter, the CRS Technologies team began working with the Medihelp HR and IT departments to deliver a solution which could handle the unique requirements of the strategy.

A task team was created comprising representatives of both organisations. CRS had the advantage of already having developed advanced HR modules which could handle performance management requirements, and together with the Medihelp HR team, these systems were tweaked to meet the unique requirements placed on them.

“We had to ensure the databases were integrated and that the biographical and other data was available from a single source. Working with the Medihelp staff we were able to develop a staggered strategy which allowed business as usual during the migration to the new systems,” explains Ockert Botha, regional manager at CRS and team leader of the Medihelp account.

A significant part of the talent investment strategy is the 180 degree leadership assessments. These allow both junior and senior colleagues to rate staff leadership capabilities, where after the outcome is discussed with a rating team who assists in advising the person being evaluated on ‘start, stop, continue to do’ behaviours.

The leadership assessments were done manually in 2009, taking almost the entire year to complete. This year, using the electronic assessment system from CRS, the process was completed in two months.

The ultimate goal of the new HR strategy relies on putting Medihelp staff in charge of their own development. This empowering strategy was enabled by the CRS Do it Yourself (DIY) module, which allows employees to manage many of their own HR functions from their desktop.

As with any new system, this required training and Medihelp embarked on an intensive training schedule which included a train-the-trainer element, but did not neglect one-on-one time with staff members.

“What a quantum leap we’ve made! Thanks to the dedication from CRS and from my amazing team, HR recently conducted 87 training sessions on the 180 degree leadership assessment. There was a system glitch in only one of our training sessions – proving it robust in the toughest of environments. Today, more than 600 employees have already received the outcome of their assessments and have now taken ownership of the rest of their development process using CRS DIY,” says Kobie van Eeden.

The outcome

Medihelp has a length of service of 10 years per employee. It uses the CRS system to support career development and many other HR modules which have been designed to grow with the scheme and its needs as they change. Medihelp has been named South Africa’s seventh best medium-sized company to work for in Deloitte’s Best Company to Work For survey for 2009. Most importantly, the scheme has embraced a performance-based culture and has systems to support this.