Hospitals, by and large, have been proponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - mostly because fewer patients are showing up without insurance. Many are also in favor of some of the quality-focused value-base purchasing efforts. While the recent Republican repeal and replacement effort failed, it's clear that the current Administration and Republicans in Congress still hope to dismantle the ACA. The stalled American Health Care Act is probably a good indication of the types of changes they want to see.
These possible changes are making hospital leaders nervous because they fear that the number of Americans with insurance will decline, thereby reducing hospital revenue and forcing them to provide more uncompensated care. No industry likes uncertainty, and that's especially true for the healthcare industry.
Hospital leaders are likely to be cautious for the near term, especially when it comes to spending. What does this mean for your talent initiatives? Can you make the argument that your programs, initiatives, and tools are worth the investment - when funds are tight?
Be sure to remind everyone that people are your most important asset. Many organizations claim this is the case, but fewer actually function with it as a core principle. Principles are principles because you stick to them in tough times - they are that important.
Investments in technology and processes are a waste if you don't have the right leaders, physicians, nurses, and staff to implement and utilize them. It's still the case that the team with the best team wins. If a professional sports team is short on cash, they'll find ways to save money, but they rarely cut their scouting, recruiting, and development efforts. They know they can't win without talent.
Quantify your value. Do you routinely report key metrics (and their financial impact), such as time to fill, improved hiring efficiency, and turnover? Does the organization recognize that the efforts of the talent team support larger initiatives, including patient satisfaction and safety? Selection, organizational development, performance management and improvement, and succession planning don't become any less important when cash is tight. Just make sure you have a seat at the strategy table and can demonstrate the ROI of your efforts - even in areas where there is a clear line-item in the budget.
Ideally, you can show that the talent team's efforts can HELP the organization to better weather tight fiscal times. It makes sense that having innovative leaders, adaptable nurses and physicians, and constantly developing the next generation of front line managers should be a positive. Similarly, now that larger portions of revenue are dependent on patient satisfaction scores and quality measures, making cuts to the talent budget makes little sense.