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Better Hiring Practices Helped Save This Health System $3 Million

By Philip Betbeze  
   March 09, 2017

The HR department at Health First creates value by coaching senior leaders on identifying candidates with high potential and by raising retention rates.

Paula Just sees her health system's HR department's role as less of a traditional personnel operation and more of an in-house consulting agency, one that helps executives make the right hires by pinpointing their needs and taking mundane hiring practices off their worry list.

Just came to Health First, a four-hospital integrated delivery system in Rockledge, on Florida's Space Coast, three years ago from SSM Health in St. Louis.

She believes the HR team shouldn't just put new hires in front of training videos and get them to fill out the right paperwork.

Instead, the department should fill a key role in executive satisfaction by helping leaders more easily select the right hires by better defining roles, improving interviewing skills, and providing more time for evaluation of candidates.

"When we hire the wrong person, it creates enormous waste," she says. "There are lots of resources dedicated to onboarding, training, and administrative work that goes with bringing a new hire into the organization, and if they're here with us a short time, we ultimately lose that huge investment."

Looking for Value Creation
In charge of talent acquisition for almost every position besides physicians, Just and her team manage the onboarding process for every hire from pharmacists to housekeeping staff.

But the HR department creates value not in onboarding, but by helping senior leaders focus on the important elements of the open roles on their teams.

To improve the candidate and hiring leader experience, Health First brought in Cielo Healthcare, a vendor that applies technology and research to talent acquisition, resources a system the size of Health First couldn't develop in-house, says Just.

"As an integrated delivery network with 8,000 employees, that's not a resource we would have on our own," she says.

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

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