Strategies for CHROs in Healthcare: Individualized Employee Care


Shannon Libbert

Associate Client Partner

Korn Ferry

March 15, 2018

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“Care” as a noun is defined as the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something. As a verb it is “generally feel concern or interest; attach importance to something, look after and provide for the needs of” (Google).


This week is Health Care Human Resources week and if you are like me, you’ve seen the social media activity ramping up and the reminder from ASHHRA. It is an exciting time in our industry indeed. 


I love working in healthcare and I’ve spent most of my career in and around HR focusing on selection, engagement and retention. Often, I am asked about the biggest challenges facing people leaders in our industry. In conjunction with an upcoming event for CHROs that we are sponsoring, we are furthering our research on this very topic.  


One of my first visits regarding the subject recently was with one of my favorite leaders in healthcare, the Chief People Officer for a health system in California. When I asked her about the greatest opportunity we have in healthcare she shared that defining the workforce of the future in tandem with the workplace of the future were paramount. How do we keep nurses (as an example – it applies to other key groups as well) engaged? How do we identify the array of needs of our populations? Engagement may look different for a 25-year-old nurse than it does for a 55-year-old nurse who are at very different places in their respective careers. 


Our role as leaders is to create and maintain an environment wherein we consider the needs of the individual(s). In a system with thousands of employees, discovering what matters most to each person may seem daunting. However, as human resources executives a key function is to take care of the organizations’ most precious asset, its people. Sure, leaders and especially front-line leaders have a profound influence on this and should be trained appropriately. HR is crucial in all aspects, from talent acquisition and management, leadership development, succession planning and the day-to-day advising and supporting of the organization. Culture is key and it’s about way more than just moving the needle slightly on an annual survey. Daily we should be monitoring the pulse of the organization in as many ways as possible.


People in all industries, most especially in healthcare, need to feel that their organization cares for them as individuals. When I reference “people” I mean ALL people: physicians, nurses, leaders, front line staff, valets, finance clerks, etc. The American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association have both raised alarms regarding staggering burnout rates, this too should be top of mind for CHROs. One size fits all does not work, we need to be thoughtful and inclusive of the unique needs of people in different roles, various genders, backgrounds, ethnicities, ages and more. The more we can link the individuals purpose to the organizations mission, the more connected folks will be. That’s where we win.