Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Senior Care HR Executive Summit (SHINE) at the Loews Hotel in Chicago. While the Senior Care industry is experiencing growth rates we have not yet seen in the health care industry, along come new opportunities and challenges. The annual SHINE Conference provides an outstanding and timely platform for HR leaders in Senior Care to network with peers, deep dive into real-world scenarios and learn of actionable items to bring back to their organizations.

Of the numerous topics discussed, ’d like to share my takeaways from this year’s conference as you begin to address pressing HR challenges in senior care.

Cultural Transformation

As Baby Boomers begin to need long-term care, the industry is experiencing rapid levels of growth. With growth comes change and pushing for cultural transformation was at the heart of conversations this year. Marcus Mossberger, Senior Director at Healthcare HCM Strategy, explains that cultural transformation needs to start in Human Resources (HR). Mossberger shared that the days of fearing HR should be over and they need to start moving from referee to coach.

Arthur Woods, Co-Founder at Imperative, touched on how this can be accomplished. He challenges the industry to hire people who have purpose and people who will ultimately focus on the patient and/or resident. HR can be that ambassador of purpose and this year’s conference featured a handful of organizations with the tools to help identify those people – people who view providing care as their calling, not just their job.

Digitize HR

Workforce demographics are changing in a unique fashion as millennials are now entering the workforce and, on the flip side, baby boomers are staying in the workforce longer. Technology has been the elephant in the room as the current workforce, from top to bottom, have mixed feelings toward adopting new tools. Jeff Mike, Vice President & Leader of HR Research Practice at Bersin by Deloitte, explains that “standing at the intersection between people, organizations and work, HR is uniquely positioned to lead the digital revolution.”

Mike strongly encouraged us to bite the bullet and start to digitize things in HR before expecting the rest of the organization to follow. He offered a few ideas and core functions new platforms need to offer the workforce in order to be effectively implemented.

  • The Pull Function: The tools we give workers should be ones they want to use and pull them into the work. New technologies should make work easier, not harder.
  • The Facilitate Function: New tools should make it easy for employees to connect and communicate in a productive exchange. Mike used the example of Slack, which makes it easy for employees to communicate and stay engaged.
  • The Match Function: Use information from the platform to bring people together in mutually rewarding ways. Business decisions can be made by analyzing data we may have not had access to before.

Attracting Talent

One of the more prominent conversations this year involved various ways of attract talent into your organization – sourcing new and innovative ways to find talented employees. Lotus Yon, Senior Director HR & Learning at Northwest Community Healthcare, shed light on the ways social media has come into the talent arena. She says that “we have to connect with them where they are and engage. It’s hard but we have to be present on all of these platforms.” Jeff Jasnoff, Senior Vice President HR at Kindred Healthcare, agrees with Yon but also encourages us to make sure we make it easy on candidates to enter our respected organizations. Jasnoff explains that low tech still works - let’s not totally throw “walk-in Wednesdays” and “talk-to-me Tuesdays” to the wayside.

Yon and Jasnoff heartily agree that the candidate experience should be at the forefront of our recruiting efforts. Jasnoff highlighted the “need to understand how people experience your message,” while Yon touched on the fact that your message needs to be targeted and personalized based upon the platform/audience you’re trying to reach. For example, millennials are sticking to social media and often aren’t even visiting career sites.

As I reflect on my time in Chicago last week, it was an engaging conference. Let’s keep the conversation going. Comment back with your thoughts or takeaways you may have had from this year’s SHINE Conference, and if there’s any way Talent Plus can be of help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

+ Cole Gade, Health Care Talent Consultant, 402-489-2000, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Cole Gade is a Talent Plus business consultant helping organizations in the health care industry identify and overcome challenges through the selection, development and retention tools we know drive results. To learn more about Talent Plus and how we can help you drive results like better retention, more productivity, greater patient satisfaction scores or higher engagement through a scientific look at your people, contact him today.

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