The HR agenda: What 3 leaders at top US hospitals are starting, stopping

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hospital and health system human resources leaders to rethink their approach to staffing shortages and other workforce challenges. This means not only starting something new, but also re-evaluating whether to stop an approach that has been in place but could be tweaked.

Becker's asked human resources leaders at organizations with hospitals on U.S. News' 2022-23 Best Hospitals Honor Roll to share the systems and processes they are starting or stopping. Below are their answers:

Carole Hackett, BSN, RN. Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Houston Methodist: The past few years drastically changed the expectations of work and life in general. Work is a subset of life, so we are focused on all aspects of our employees' lives, not just their work. Our new approach focuses on:

1. Enhancing connectiveness with the organization and each other

2. Increasing flexibility not only in where we work but how and when we work

3. Focusing on career development for all

4. Enhancing holistic well-being, especially mental well-being resources

5. Realigning employees to our culture, helping them realize their sense of purpose

For example, we are planning to implement a pilot to standardize a mobile-enabled self-scheduling system starting with registered nurses. This scheduling system will allow four, six, eight, 10, 12-hour shifts to meet the needs of the hospitals as well as allow flexibility to the registered nurses. This will eventually eliminate only offering 12-hour shifts to registered nurses.

Rosemary Sheehan. Chief Human Resources Officer of Mass General Brigham (Boston): At Mass General Brigham, everything we do is with the patient at the center. Our priority is to ensure that we are staffed appropriately for our patient care roles and, given the widespread workforce challenges, we have implemented the direct hire model, which allows our recruiters to interview and hire staff directly. This allows more time for managers to spend onboarding new employees instead of spending that time on interviewing, and ultimately reduces the time to fill the role. This is being done successfully, without negative impact on hiring or turnover. Because of our priority and focus on our clinical workforce, this may lead to the stopping or slowing down of specific programs that do not otherwise impact our ability to support patient care.

Jackie Tischler. Chief People Officer of BJC HealthCare (St. Louis): BJC HealthCare has dug deeper into workforce diversity. We have enhanced employee benefits in support of our LGBTQ+ team members, St. Louis Children's Hospital Transgender Clinic and LGBTQ+ Friendly provider directory all contributing to our Health Equality Index Leader status. We have also been educating and preparing our workforce to be culturally aware and deliver high quality care in a respectful and equitable way, including a financial lit series and community-based employment efforts in partnership with key social support agencies.

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