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Talent is the heart and soul of any successful business.   

It is remarkable, then, that we seem to tolerate talent acquisition methods that produce, at best, hit-or-miss results.

Several research studies show that the success rate – known in the industry as the “stick” rate – is only about 40 percent when candidates are brought in from outside the organization. There are those recruiters whose success is considerably below this rather disturbing 40% number, which one CEO of a mainstream search firm describes as “the industry’s dirty little secret.”  

The stick rate from candidates promoted from within is much higher, which begs the question why healthcare organizations do not commit more resources to talent development that is an important foundational component of retention.

Some firms have higher rates of success.  At JohnMarch Partners, I am proud to report that we are four times better than the national average.  In C-suite assignments, more than 95 percent of JohnMarch recommended candidates remain beyond the 36-month placement guarantee.

Another remarkable research finding is that a significant number of CEOs and other senior executives who engage recruiters do not hold those recruiters accountable for the quality of their work or the success of the candidate they select.  So much of a leader’s success is dependent on the quality of the talent they have and the talent they recruit.  Executives who fail to perform and newly recruited executives who fail to succeed destroy net worth.  

Conversely, there is evidence that when a candidate fails, many recruiters feel no responsibility at all. They seem to take the position that ‘we were paid to identify candidates and the client made the selection.’ 

Aside from the cost of search fees and declining reimbursement in a recessionary economy, more accountability – ownership of the result — is one reason an increasing number of larger health systems are evaluating expanding existing internal recruiting resources to handle executive search.  However, before a health system, hospital or other provider can successfully implement an internal executive search function, they must develop clear strategies with performance benchmarks. 

Here are some additional issues to consider in developing an internal executive search function.

  1. Do you understand why some people succeed in your organization and others, who are well trained with excellent credentials, do not?
  2. Do you definitively know the strengths, weaknesses, and bench strength of your executive and management team – division by division, department by department — in the event of a sudden change?
  3. How many management and executive level searches do you conduct in a year?  Can you justify the cost of creating internal executive recruitment?
  4. How will you design the search process to ensure you produce better results than an executive search firm?
  5. Can you be transparent and forthcoming with your position descriptions?  The most commonly cited reasons candidates leave an organization after only a short time is that they were surprised by the culture, the performance expectations were unrealistic or their ability to solve the real problems were blocked.  Preventing this requires creating a Position Prospectus that is brutally honest.
  6. Does your organization use an integrated onboarding program in concert with all of your recruiting efforts?
  7. How will you define success? 

Through our advisory services, we show clients how to maximize the effectiveness of their investment in developing internal executive and management recruitment programs.  We can translate an organization’s vision for success in talent acquisition through custom program design that will position them among the top performers in finding, acquiring and keeping top performers.

Finding and keeping top performers will be the single most important factor in determining an organization’s success through the changes occurring during healthcare reform.