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3 Trends in Healthcare Hiring

December 17, 2015


Changes in healthcare hiring are starting to keep pace with the transformation of our healthcare system. The changes to the nature of the services and patient/consumer expectations have forced human resources professionals to play a larger role in, and to re-think how they contribute to, organizational success. Three trends are particularly interesting:

1. A New Focus on Behavioral Competencies

Hospitals are realizing that talent is the competeitive differentiator, but they've been enamored with credentials and technical skills. They are discovering that "performance" today is about creating a patient-centered culture, about adapting to change, and about new levels of collaboratio. None of these have anything to do with what's on the CV. Accordingly, healthcare is learning from other industries and incorporating methods to evaluate behavioral competencies, into the hiring process.

2. Quality Over Quantity

For decades, HR filled a purely healthcare help wanted resized 600administrative role - to fill vacant positions with people who have the requisite skills and experience, as quickly as possible. Time to fill was all that mattered. This has led to selection based on gut-feel, an over-emphasis on technical skills, and higher turnover than other industries. HR is now seen as central to identifying the predictors of performance and building a selection system that is more efficient, and targets the right candidates - right for the culture, and more likely to fit for the long term and help meet the hospital's overall goals. We've even seen hospitals keep a position open rather than hire the wrong person - unheard of in healthcare just a few years ago.

3. Developing and Selecting Leaders

Hospitals have figured out that the great nurse does NOT necessarily make the best nurse-manager, and the highly productive, clinically skilled physician does NOT necessarily have the leadership skills we need today. More organizations are defining what is necessary to lead and targeting individuals with the right skills, and implementing programs to develop those with potential.

Just as healthcare is borrowing proven strategies from other industries (like LEAN), it is now taking a more progressive approach to hiring, including the use of assessments. Surveys show that as many as 80% of mid-size to large companies use behavioral assessments, with the highest usage (66% of companies) for professional positions. Healthcare is just starting to adopt these tools. A recent Harvard Business Review article noted that 61% of new employees at companies using behavioral assessments become top performers within 14 months, compared to 7% for those not using employee assessments.

Progressive hiring strategies work. And healthcare organizations need every advantage they can get.

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Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.