How Norton Healthcare is keeping up with a changing workforce

According to Russell Cox, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare, adapting to employee needs, investing in health equity and creating a strong career pipeline are ways to transform health systems, the Courier Journal reported Oct. 11.

The Louisville, Ky.-based health system employs more than 17,000 people and provides care at 300 locations in Kentucky and southern Indiana. With its "high value on culture," Mr. Cox spoke to the Courier Journal about how the system values its employees. 

Mr. Cox said he has observed a difference in expectations among the latest wave of people entering the healthcare industry, which he puts down to demographic shifts. The new generation of healthcare professionals value having time for exercise, philanthropy and child care. 

"We [used to have] the environment in healthcare where, 'This is the job, do you want to do it or not? We'll tell you when you're going to do it,' " he told the Courier Journal. "And that was all well and fine 25 or 30 years ago. But the world has changed. So now we, and all organizations that are successful, have to view our workforce and employees as customers and consumers and meet them where they are."

Mr. Cox is also prioritizing creating a strong career pipeline starting with middle schools and high schools. In partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools, Norton Healthcare has started an academy that provides opportunities for high school students, including career shadowing, internships and volunteering. For Mr. Cox, the key to solving future employee retention challenges is to individualize career journeys.

The organization also emphasizes health equity and is committed to ensuring equal access to healthcare. It also recently launched an Institute for Health Equity to support community-based health organizations and resources to tackle health disparities. 

"The only way that you're going to be able to sustain work for years is to understand that the needs, the wants and desires and the things that motivate and really empower a workforce are going to be different," said Mr. Cox.

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