Restructuring Healthcare HR for Success

Marketing Director

Healthcare organizations are facing a wide variety of challenges as the healthcare landscape evolves. As a result, healthcare HR is approaching a crossroads: With the fast-moving changes in how care is provided and paid for, healthcare HR leaders should consider restructuring the work they do to help their organizations succeed.

Healthcare HR departments have the opportunity to serve their organizations more strategically — but only if they change. “The history of healthcare delivery has been one focused on compliance,” says Larry Stybel, Co-Founder of Stybel Peabody & Associates, an executive search firm that works with healthcare organizations. “We are moving into a new era where healthcare delivery systems must be compliant and innovative at the same time.”

Here are some suggestions for restructuring healthcare HR for success.

Consider New Positions

One of the biggest challenges facing healthcare organizations is managing talent — attracting, hiring, developing and keeping people on board. Retention in particular is a big concern, says Cara Silletto, President of Crescendo Strategies, which works with organizations to reduce turnover. “Overburdened HR departments cannot handle taking on today's necessary projects of revamping onboarding, building and conducting new management training programs, gathering candid employee feedback regularly and rotating fresh appreciation initiatives,” she says.

She recommends HR departments add positions that are dedicated to these issues. “More organizations are creating retention director and retention specialist positions to drive these conversations, collect relevant data for decision making and implement new initiatives to reduce employee turnover,” she says.

Focus on the Right HR Data

HR often serves as the repository for data, and that data can be useful as you look for ways to play a strategic role in the organization. But you’ll need to invest in the kinds of analytical tools that can dig for insights to help you improve outcomes across the board.

“HR leaders are going to need to adapt to employee engagement versus transactional and tactical metrics,” says Lindsay Mustain, a talent-acquisition expert. “It will no longer be about how quickly you can process the claim, how many patients you can touch or how many prescriptions you can fill.” Machine learning and artificial intelligence will perform those transactional tasks, while HR leaders will need to focus on data that will tell them how to engage and delight employees rather than measuring incremental performance.

Foster Innovation Through Learning

Continuing education will be key for healthcare HR leaders and healthcare employees alike as they work together to meet new challenges in the workplace. “Healthcare HR leaders can embrace innovation and turn disruption into opportunity by creating a culture of learning in their department and throughout the organization,” says Maria Vihtkari, CHRO at Arcusys, a digital learning company. A learning strategy that engages employees will help them grow their skills as the world of work changes, preparing them to meet new situations and tackle new problems you haven’t identified yet.

Making changes in an HR department is not easy. But as new opportunities emerge as technology advances and the way we work changes, healthcare HR leaders must do what they’ve always done — manage people — in ways that better serve the organization. “The biggest revolution that we will face in this is that those who are tactical leaders will need to become transformational leaders, focused on driving results through people and not by actions,” Mustain says.

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