ASHHRA Survey Details HR's Strategic Priorities

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , July 25, 2011

A couple of months back I noted in this column that the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration was conducting its 2011 Healthcare HR Initiatives Survey to discern the priorities of healthcare human resources executives.

The results are in and they mostly confirm what we already know: Healthcare HR executives are focused on retaining talent, and improving employee engagement as a means to enhance safety and patient satisfaction. These executives are doing all of this with an eye toward healthcare reform, and its impact on care delivery and reimbursement.

To me, even more telling is the nature of the questions themselves. They demonstrate that HR executives at successful healthcare organizations are still involved in the critical daily tactical operations that make complex healthcare organizations function. But the questions also show that those same executives have made the leap from tactical tasking to strategic thinking.

More than any other area of healthcare leadership, HR straddles a unique position between the strategic long view, and the rubber-hits-the-road tactical implementation. At the strategic level, it's about matching the employee with the mission. At the tactical level, it's about giving the employees the tools, training, and support they need to prosper.

Before we go on, let's look at some of the findings from the ASHHRA survey.  Respondents were asked:

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