Your hospital transformation
starts with a conversation.
Each year, healthcare companies spend tens of thousands of dollars recruiting competitive talent and prospective candidates from all across the country. To match rapidly changing demographics and to increase the diversity of minority populations, including candidates with disabilities, people of color, women, veterans, members of the LGBTQ+ community and more, hiring managers and hospital leaders are performing top-to-bottom audits of their hiring processes and recruitment strategies.
Kevin Hardy, director of interim and executive recruiting at HealthTech, says taking a critical look at and identifying possible barriers or systematic hurdles is an essential step for providers committed to increasing diversity in the workplace.
“There are so many underrepresented minorities that aren’t on hospital boards, in healthcare systems or in the C-suite,” Hardy says. “Of course, recruiting and hiring diverse candidates isn’t just about hiring for those higher positions, but who you choose to fill those leadership positions should reflect the values and principles of your organization.”
Hardy says leaders must also consider how a lack of diversity could prove detrimental to the health of their organization.
“On the patient side, it’s been shown consistently that if you don’t have diversity among your healthcare providers, then it will have an adverse effect on the minorities within your patient population,” Hardy explains. “For instance, if you look at the patient populations who were most impacted by COVID-19 in terms of death, it was overwhelmingly minorities. Organizations have to do more and be intentional about building a more diverse workplace to build trust between patients and providers.”
Hardy reveals that one common hiring misstep he sees comes down to sourcing.
“A lot of hospitals exclusively source on platforms that are disproportionately overrepresented by the same group of candidates,” Hardy says. “By sourcing from only a few major universities, you are automatically excluding candidates from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) who would be tremendous assets.”
Hardy also says that if hospitals are serious about making strategic changes to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces, then hiring managers and decision-makers need to step outside their comfort zone.
“People need to start being uncomfortable if they want to be successful,” Hardy says. “Minority candidates experience situations when they’re uncomfortable all the time. Hiring managers and leadership have to be intentional about embarking on this process or it won’t be successful. Being intentional about something you may already feel uncomfortable with can be challenging.”
Luckily, Hardy has tried-and-true strategies for rural hospitals to follow when building effective roadmaps that are authentic to their organization’s mission and patient population. Specific steps include best practices for what should or should not happen at the beginning stages—when sourcing or interviewing candidates— and the later stages—when extending offers to negotiating salaries and onboarding.
Hardy says another fundamental consideration must be centered around employee retention, which is why diversity and inclusion must be a stated priority across the entire organization. How managers and leadership not only keep those diverse candidates, but also promote and utilize them is essential.
“If you show passion and you step out of your comfort zone because you believe in committing to diversity initiatives, then people tend to follow you,” Hardy says. “To attract passionate and committed talent, hospitals need to take the lead and show their own passion and commitment first.”
Resilience has become a buzzword among healthcare leaders over recent years, and it’s easy to see why. With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, showing resilience in the face of upheaval has taken on new significance. Wellness—both physical and mental—also has grown in importance for healthcare leaders, as the logistical challenges of treating scores of COVID-19 patients continues to take a toll on healthcare workers. See below for five leader-specific recommendations for fostering resilience and helping
your healthcare teams thrive.
1. Build a great team and let it succeed.
Resilience is only likely to take hold if team members have confidence in one another, so make sure your team is capable, reliable and inclusive.
Keep in mind, a team is only as great as its leader’s willingness to delegate. Trusting your team members to do what they do is key to instilling
confidence (which happens to be key to instilling resilience).
2. Have a plan but stay flexible.
Leaders are defined by the ability to plan, and the most effective leaders have a way of establishing a clear pathway from a plan’s early stages
through its completion. Part of good planning is anticipating what could go wrong. Identifying these potential pain points and how to overcome
them—conducting a pre-mortem, for example—often necessitates feedback from team members. Seeking this feedback not only helps to avoid
setbacks, it empowers your team members with knowledge of the company’s long-term goals. Knowledge is power—and a key ingredient for
creating a culture of resilience.
3. Lead by example.
Most effective leaders share two key characteristics: optimism and focus. Optimism equips them with the ability to stay upbeat and energetic,
and focus keeps them calm and solution-driven. And what is resilience if not optimism plus focus? Best of all, optimism and focus can be
contagious. When leadership exemplifies these characteristics, the team is more likely to internalize and reflect them, staying motivated through
4. Know their limits (and your own).
It’s no secret that the healthcare industry has long been plagued by burnout—that harmful combination of physical exhaustion, cynicism and inefficiency
that results from long-term job-related stress. And with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic ravaging hospitals over the past year, the situation has grown dire.
A healthy work-life balance helps employees stay within their limitations. Out-of-office activities like exercise, pursuing hobbies, and spending time with
family allows team members to recharge and recognize there is life outside of work. Encourage this freely, as this can lead to better overall job performance,
a clearer perspective and a renewal of optimism.
5. Consider a Chief Wellness Officer.
While a number of measures—onsite counseling for staff, scheduling social activities outside the workplace, the allowance of flexible hours—have been
shown to work in improving employee morale, leaders interested in proactively mitigating workplace stress might consider hiring a Chief Wellness Officer.
If a new position is out of the question, you could also assign a fractional role to a wellness champion already in the organization. This CWO would be
responsible for maintaining a culture that prioritizes wellness (and destigmatizes mental health disorders) by promoting and supporting staff well-being.
Duties include working with mental health professionals and department heads to improve awareness of mental health disorders and keeping tabs on
employees’ professional fulfillment. In order to do their jobs well, healthcare leaders themselves must be resilient and healthy, inside and out. Creating a
culture of resilience and wellness starts with you.