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Three Lessons from the Becker’s Hospital Review Annual Meeting

December 17, 2015


We were at the Becker’s Hospital Review annual conference in Chicago this month, along with 1,000 attendees – mostly hospital and system senior leaders. As always an impressive list of speakers and attendees including some of the most well-known and respected industry leaders – people who are truly changing the way healthcare is delivered. Although these events aren’t regularly attended by HR professionals or healthcare recruiters, they should be.

Most of the conference sessions were on high level business and operational topics including hospital financial performance, quality initiatives, and Accountable Care Organizations. There was a trend; however, that I picked up on that might not have been obvious to everyone: People matter. Behaviors matter. Success in this new world of healthcare reform will depend, to a large degree, on how you think about talent and culture, and what you do about them.
Three concepts/comments, in particular got my attention:

1. At the Cleveland Clinic – they categorize everyone in the organization as a “caregiver”
This is consistent with our message and efforts on front line employees. Even the EVS and dietary associate impact the patient experience. When a patient walks in the door, everyone in the building has some role in their care. To learn more, see our free white paper on the impact of front line staff.

2. “Weak management teams will not survive,” and “Hospital leaders are struggling and are in desperate need of a more deliberate approach to leadership development.”
A few years ago, hospitals came to us looking for tools to help select and develop nurses, allied health and front line staff. In recent years, they are looking at progressive, deliberate, approaches to improve performance of senior leaders.

3. “The Quality Department does not drive quality. Culture drives quality.” Absolutely, but how do you drive culture? What we’ve found is that culture is nothing more than the cumulative individual behaviors of people in your organization. There is no broad “cultural” intervention that works without attention to individual behaviors. To learn more, see our white paper on the topic.

Human resources professionals need to continue to push the transition from an administrative task to a key role in executing the strategies which allow hospitals to meet today’s challenges. It would be great to see more presentations and discussions at these events about the role of talent – including selection and development, at all levels.


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.