Critical Elements of a Healthcare Human Capital Strategy

What elements should be included in a healthcare human capital strategy? How can that healthcare strategy be aligned with the business strategy? What are the implications for the workforce? Axiom Consulting Partners’ Susanna Mlot, Partner and Co-Founder, shares her perspectives on what every healthcare organization should be keeping an eye on to ensure alignment.

Today, healthcare organizations come in all varieties – small, standalone community hospitals, large complex multi-billion-dollar healthcare systems, academic medical centers – so many different forms of healthcare organizations. Many believe they have business strategies in place, but, in reality, they do not. Rather, they have great operating plans. They know what they need to deliver in terms of margin in a given year. They know what their census projections are likely to look like quarter to quarter.

Taking those operating strategies and translating them into a business strategy sometimes is less than it needs to be. A business strategy says: “This is how we are going to be different and need to be different and position ourselves differently relative to the competition we face both in our locale, our region or in a particular set of specialties.” The biggest gap between those strategies is the distance between that set of decisions and choices and positioning and how that translates into a human capital strategy. Too often organizations lose sight of the need for tight alignment between the two.

For the next five years or so in healthcare, every human capital plan for every healthcare organization should contain several elements, recognizing that each organization will have its own nuance, focus and flavor.

One element, given the rate of change in the industry, is becoming transformation masters. There isn’t any aspect of any healthcare organization that isn’t undergoing some kind of change.  There are many models and frameworks, but it’s rare that organizations are able to  translate those into a playbook that brings the right stakeholders together, helps leaders deliver the right kind of messaging, and helps an organization migrate through a change in a very planful, methodical way, and measure the effects of that change. The organizations we’ve served and the clients we talk to are struggling with these challenges.

Another element is understanding what the workforce of the future will look like. There will be jobs in healthcare that people can’t conceive of yet. HR needs to facilitate those conversations, think about the impact of technology, and work closely with the IT and Innovation functions to understand: what the impact on work will be, what the impacts on licensing changes and requirements will be in different kinds of specialties and so forth. Those are just two examples of the elements that every healthcare organization should keep their eye on and build into a human capital strategy.

Transcript edited for clarity.

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