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How Healthcare Hiring Has Changed - Thoughts From Kurt Stillwagon

April 6, 2016

healthcare-employees.jpgOur blog post this week is a brief interview with Kurt Stillwagon, Director, Recruitment and Talent Acquisition, Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine. Kurt has a long history in recruitment, including holding a similar role, previously, at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, of UPMC.

The focus of our discussion is how talent acquisition in healthcare has changed. Progressive leaders, like Kurt, recognize that their organizations are facing new challenges and that talent strategies will play a critical role in helping to successfully face those challenges. HR needs to continue to evolve from an administrative and transactional role to a strategic and visionary one.

1) What has changed the most about talent acquisition in healthcare over the past 10 years?

I think one of the more significant changes was the focus on behaviors vs. clinical skills. With the nature of a majority of healthcare positions, candidates come to the table with the clinical skills. They are tested on these skills when they get their certification or license. Sometimes managers focus so much on the clinical skills, they miss what really sets top performing employees apart: their behaviors. As healthcare has evolved to focus on patient satisfaction, healthcare organizations are realizing that it is an employee’s behavior that can really help to impact these scores.

2) How has the role of HR changed in healthcare organizations?

10 years ago the change in HR was to defined teams—Recruitment, Employee Relations, Benefits, etc. This helped create centers of excellence for Healthcare organizations. As technology began to evolve around this structure, HR roles became less transactional and more strategic. The combination of technology and the strategic HR expert, gives organizations real-time data to not only help make decisions, but also to benchmark against themselves. This helps with transparency, efficiency, and creating a lean organization.

3) How do you ensure that candidates come to you with a good understanding of the Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine mission, and what it means to join your team?

Overall, I think that patients and candidates alike understand what LG Health/Penn Medicine is about. The key is helping the candidate see how the position they are interviewing for impacts the overall mission of the organization. One way candidates learn about this is through the screening process. Our website provides candidates with a great overview of LG Health/Penn Medicine and our mission. As a candidate progresses through the screening process with the assessment and interview with a recruiter, they begin to understand the importance of the role and how it impacts the organization.

4) How do you improve the candidate experience to ensure you can attract top talent?

I think the best candidate experience is one where expectations are clearly defined. The initial experiences from when a candidate visits our website to apply or is contacted by a recruiter about a position should give them a good introduction to the organization and the position. The screening process with the Select International pre-employment assessment and interview with the Recruiter should help set the expectation of what is required for the position—from a skill and behavior standpoint. The onsite interview with the manager should then create expectations of what the day to day position would be like. The entire process should create a clear expectation of the mission of the organization and how the position helps to impact it.

5) Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine is recognized as providing outstanding, high-quality services, and as taking a progressive approach to the health of your community. What makes the system so unique?

I think one of the unique things about LG Health/Penn Medicine is the understanding of the responsibility it has with the health of the community it serves. This means that the organization works hard to understand the needs of the community and then follows through with answering those needs. A lot of this is because LG Health/Penn Medicine is made up of a talented, diverse group of employees from within the community. This community mindset helps employees understand that every patient is a friend, family member, or neighbor.

To learn more about Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine, visit their website.

Download our whitepaper to learn more about how talent strategies can support a patient-center culture

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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.