Almost two years ago I wrote, “In executive offices and administrative suites of hospitals all across America, there are some really good people toiling away who will lose their jobs through no fault of their own…”

be prepared for layoffsThat prediction was not mine but that of a respected system Dallas CEO who will be retiring at the end of this month.  He was right.

I added:  “This talent carnage is a sign of the times.  The new healthcare economy, driven by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the need to reduce Medicare spending as a function of deficit reduction, will drive system consolidation, job realignment, strategy diversification and renewed efforts to lower costs.”  And I was right.

A lot has happened since I wrote that prediction.  A lot has changed — we have elected a new apparently business-friendly President who vows to reduce the regulatory burden on companies small and large — but if you take a couple of steps back and take another look, not a lot has changed.  Our healthcare costs are still high, which impacts everyone’s pocketbook  — yours, mine, and the federal government’s, owing to their spending on Medicare — and the uncertainty that was born of ACA will continue since the new party in power apparently does not have a definite idea as to how to replace it despite having at least six years to come up with a plan.

Health systems and other healthcare providers will continue to feel pressures to reduce the cost of delivering patient care.  The Medicare program as we know it today is not sustainable and businesses, glad to have a businessman in the White House, are worried that protectionist trade policies might impact their earnings internationally and they will be looking for ways to reduce costs at home.  One of their biggest targets will be the cost of healthcare through their employee benefit programs.

In other words, a new President is waiting in the wings, but the impetus for healthcare reform are still in place and the drivers to transform how we deliver and price healthcare is still on the tracks.

So while there is excitement in the air, there are also reasons for caution.  Executives and managers should not rest on their laurels in terms of performance.  Mediocre performers will be the first to be downsized, transitioning into a market where there is no room for mediocrity in leadership or management.

So from blog post in  January of 2014, consider these points:

  • Keep your resume updated, on your home computer. Storing a resume on a company computer at the office is unwise
  • Understand your value proposition and be sure that your resume reflects that — skills matched by quantifiable accomplishments. Employers are demanding the best talent, not a qualified body, from their recruiters. If you cannot demonstrate that you are a top-tier performer on your resume, add 8 months to a year to your job search, at a minimum
  • Move your contacts to your home computer
  • Do not use your office email to communicate with recruiters if you are conducting a preemptory search because you see the layoff writing on the wall. You have no expectation of privacy when you use corporate resources
  • Do not use a work telephone number in your resume. Use your cell phone or your home phone. Executive assistants or friends who answer your phone may not be as friendly or supportive as you think they are
  • Do not cancel professional association dues in order to scale back personal expenses. You cannot afford to lose access to their valuable membership database. Keep your membership profile up to date
  • Enhance your LinkedIn profile now. Be sure it reflects the value presented in your resume. Get a great head and shoulders photo taken. LinkedIn is one of the hottest plans for professional networking and for executive recruiters who are trolling for talent. More info on this topics: Candidates Must Master Social Media, Brand Management
  • Line up a sufficient number of references to use on two or three concurrent searches so that you do not wear them out. Talk to them in advance, find out if they are comfortable with supporting your candidacy, and make sure they can speak about your significant accomplishments, how you can add value to prospective employers. You might even share a copy of your resume with your references. Do not take anything for granted, especially in this important function of the search. Remember, clients are becoming increasingly demanding about the quality of the candidates and their vetting. More info on this topic: Managing Your References During The Job Search
  • Constantly build your network with people who can help you transition to a new job, not your friends and family. The bigger your contact base, the faster your transition search will go. More info on this topic: Lost Your Job + A Limited Network = Oops!
  • If you are offered transition coaching, ALWAYS take it. Most executives need more help than they want to admit. Insist that the outplacement firm or coach has healthcare or relevant industry experience. Be sure they grasp that the job market is changing and they have a deep understanding of how to use social media to connect to job search sources of information. More info this topic: Terminated? Ask for Help

Times change, but this advice is forever.