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Leadership Recruiting and Development 2009

HealthLeaders Magazine, August 13, 2009
Canales: Sometimes, the older generation folks don?t want to take on that leadership role, so we?re sticking a lot of generation X-ers into management jobs. We haven?t done enough training on managing within those five generations and that it is causing conflict. We haven?t trained them to use personality dynamics to communicate openly and honestly with each generation in order to get things done. If the communications are not workable, a lot of new managers will leave. Then it?s a revolving door. You need the right fit?someone who can learn from those five generations and capitalize on everything everybody brings to the table.

Smith: Theoretically, the closer one gets to retirement the more conservative they are with their savings. However, I don?t think that was happening, and many baby boomers lost 30%, 40%, and 50% of their portfolio and pushed retirement out another three to five years. For the system overall, it will prove a blessing, as we are not ready for the boomers to leave. When the market bounces back, there will be an exodus of historic proportions, and it will happen quickly.

Marshall: We?re not only seeing more senior employees delaying retirement because of the uncertainty of the economy, but we are also receiving applications from quite a few nurses who want to come back to the specialty areas they left 15 years ago. While we are excited to see this additional RN resource pool open, bringing them back also means investing in education to get them back up to speed. Coming into an OR after being gone for 15 to 20 years is like Star Wars, and we are finding that the orientation is longer for them than it is for the new grad.

White: I was the director of nursing for a freestanding ambulatory surgery center, and the OR staff, to my delight and surprise, consisted of nurses that I had been a staff nurse with many years before. They were senior-level nurses and clearly becoming exhausted by the heavy work. We created an ?equipment tech? position and that person was responsible for moving all of the heavy equipment in the department, so the nursing staff was not pushing 2,000-lb. OR tables all day. The OR nurses had such a skill and experience level that we definitely wanted to keep them.

HealthLeaders: If someone postpones retirement, does an up-and-coming leader who?s ready to take on more responsibility and take over that role then leave?

Marshall: Once those individuals are ready to step up to the next level, many organizations are finding that delayed retirements, if not processed into the strategy, could cause erosion of new talent. We have developed expanded roles, which includes mentoring to new leaders. This not only helps with the on-boarding of new talent, but also maximizes the capacity and value of both the up-and-coming leader and the senior leader, creating a win-win.

Canales: In some cases, it?s meant creating a whole new service line. We?ve leveraged special assignments where we?ve seen growth, process improvement opportunities, even advocacy?being a voice with legislation. At the heart of the matter is creativity. When you think about the holy grail of human resources, people want to have a voice at the table. It may mean bringing a successor that?s in an interim role and that leader having oversight as part of a bridge for a year until that appointment is made.

White: How good would it be for a new person to have an excellent leader with knowledge of how the organization works to be there for a significant overlap?several months, not weeks? The organization stands to benefit by matching those two with their skills, accomplishments, and experience.

HealthLeaders: What strategies can organizations use today to get the right talent in the door?

White: Will the physicians?especially surgeons?support the position? What politics have been problematic in the past? How easy is it for a new person at that level to jump in with both feet? Yes, housing helps, transportation helps, but those will go away after a while. A new person is still left at the organization trying to solve difficult issues. The work is infinitely more difficult if physician support is not present.

Marshall: The key thing is transparency, because transparency can be used to gain competitive advantages. Being able to demonstrate a clear vision of what the purpose and values of the organization are and creating a matrix to measure what talents and skills are mandatory to accomplish those goals. Capitalizing on transparency is one of the best tools that any organization has to go out and hire the right talent.

Canales: You have to be strong in the top five around compensation, benefits, vacation, perks, and supervisor. We?ve instituted guiding behaviors that help drive our value statements, because it?s what continues to engage people. We?ve changed our recruitment approach and offer leaders and their families and prospective candidates to come for a weekend and see what it?s like. There is an additional expense, but it more than pays off as part of that commitment from that leader for the long term.

Smith: Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter has changed the recruitment industry. Employers have to represent themselves well online. If not, they are less than competitive for job seekers. You must impress and gain interest quickly.

HealthLeaders: Aside from a competitive salary, what other strategies are you seeing hospitals use to close the deal and get that top leader into the organization?

Marshall: Being very flexible with relocation packages. Look at what you?re offering and ask, ?What would it take?other than competitive compensation?to get you to come here?? Education and training is now being added. Most organizations have found that nursing sign-on bonuses do relatively little to keep people there. We?re finding the same thing with the executives.

Canales: I?m also seeing a big shift in the continued support of executive coaching relationships, especially for senior leaders. Maybe it?s a mission assignment where you?re going to help with the launch of a new hospital. Or it?s honoring board commitments people may have. As you look at what keeps them there, it?s freedom and autonomy.

Smith: This recession has taught us all something. It is not all about the money. People want to join and be associated with an organization they are proud to have their name associated with. Yes, they want to be paid competitively, but if the two are a great fit, rarely is compensation the deciding factor.

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