How Can Healthcare HR Become a More Strategic Partner?

Marketing Specialist

Healthcare organizations are changing and adapting at a startling velocity. COVID-19’s rapid spread accelerated changes that were on the distant horizon at the beginning of the year throughout the U.S. As human resources professionals, much of the responsibility for helping your workforce navigate the new pace of change falls squarely on your shoulders. 

That will require shifting away from a transactional approach to HR — which is focused primarily on implementing processes requested by leadership — to a more strategic focus, in which you have a strong voice in recommending and developing HR initiatives to support the overall business.

Here’s how healthcare HR can become a more strategic partner to their organizations as we move forward in the new decade.

Align Talent Strategy With Organizational Priorities

Healthcare HR teams must align themselves with the organization’s overall strategic goals. “First and foremost, there has to be an understanding of the strategy and the priorities that support it,” says hrQ President Kathy Rapp. “Then, HR can help advance and support those priorities.” 

Your HR team has to do more than just take orders. Instead, find ways to cascade the overall business strategy set in the C-suite into HR-specific strategic initiatives. “You’re not just providing a service,” says Andrea Preisinger, Vice President, HR, at Menninger Clinic. “You have to understand why and what’s being asked.” 

Suppose one of the business’s strategic priorities is to increase revenue by offering more specialty care. In that case, you need to identify how HR can support that initiative by attracting and retaining the talent required to provide that care.

Develop HR Initiatives That Support Business Goals

You must be able to demonstrate how each HR initiative furthers the organization’s strategic goals. “If HR is pushing a program or process that has little relevance to the business, they’re frankly just in the way,” Rapp says.

Look at the big picture and consider how each project or action will affect the future. “The completion of a project in and of itself is a tactical thing,” Preisinger says. Take a reorganization project, for example. “What you have to be focused on is: What are the results of that reorganization, and how do they make the organization function better?” Preisinger says. 

For each initiative, identify measurable outcomes designed to push a specific strategic goal forward. “As HR is helping move the priorities of the business forward,” Rapp says, “they’re also driving revenue, reducing expenses, improving efficiencies and fostering an inclusive culture.” 

Prepare for the Future of Healthcare

With work changing so rapidly, healthcare organizations are continuously realigning their business goals and strategies. And HR has to play a pivotal role in this process: “HR practitioners are going to help organizations figure out how to work differently,” Preisinger says. 

HR will be an instrumental strategic partner as healthcare organizations work out new metrics for measuring remote work performance, figure out how to keep people connected in a remote environment, and implement critical diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Bring your workforce data and change-management expertise to bear in the C-suite to develop and oversee these organization-wide initiatives.

The HR function is an essential strategic player in your healthcare organization. COVID-19’s spread through the U.S. has accelerated the pace of change. HR professionals can lead strategies that support new business goals so your organization can continue moving forward

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