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As healthcare begins its long journey of reform, it is clear that the human capital component will become more important than ever. Healthcare providers who do not place human capital as their number one priority cannot succeed in improving care, reducing costs, and enhancing service.

One can focus on the patient and the bottom line all day long, but without exceptional people who are passionately motivated to deliver on those goals every hour of every day, healthcare providers cannot sustain the type of tough change that will be required to survive in a new operating climate where reimbursement will certainly decline even as consumers demand more.  With thinner margins, bad practices that result in higher costs must be changed.

Today, one of the biggest problems in healthcare is the cost of talent acquisition — from recruiting to turnover.  This is one of a healthcare organization's biggest costs and is almost never reported in a consolidated manner in a hospital financial statement. 

One large investor-owned hospital management company has such a high annual rate of CEO and CFO turnover at the local hospital level that it costs their investors more than $20 million a year in profit potential using even the most conservative calculations.

At the corporate office, they hardly worry.  Their margins are healthy and investors, for the most part, seem pleased.  So why do they tolerate this very expensive train wreck year after year? Their corporate reasoning seems to be why invest in enhancing the quality of the talent acquisition process and reducing CEO turnover when things are fine and dandy just the way they are?  

Comprehensive Onboarding, which could save this company millions and millions of dollars in potential profits, is not part of the organization's corporate culture or business model.  What is true is that its hospital CEOs are more often than not the excuse — the sacrificial lamb — when a corporate or regional management decision goes bad, and the senior executives are looking for someone to blame. After a while, one has to wonder why any good hospital CEO or CFO would want to work for an organization that makes so many hiring mistakes or chews up so many leaders.

It is remarkable irony that so many investor-owned hospital executives, especially in this company, look with disdain on their not-for-profit counterparts as being woefully lacking in business acumen when in fact these particular titans of the healthcare industry seem to epitomize the definition of bad leadership:  A Tragedy.   

It is hard to succeed in that type of environment.  

Here is some important career advice for current or future hospital CEOs.  When a recruiter calls, a candidate's first consideration must be  the organization's culture and its track record with human capital, not the size or location of the hospital or even the compensation package.   If what you see is a high rate of turnover, then ask yourself, Why am I any different — any better — than the hundreds of hospital CEOs before me who arrived with high hopes and got canned or quit in frustration, frequently in less than two years.  If what you are being told sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  

If you can get by that rather large stumbling block, then consider Onboarding expert George Bradt's thoughts on other key considerations for job selection.

Read more:

Competence, Confidence, and Caring in Onboarding.

Competence, Confidence, and Caring in Onboarding

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