This year’s ASHHRA Conference was hosted in the beautiful city of Seattle. I was excited to listen to the speakers, connect with passionate leaders and learn more about putting the human back in health care.  In this ever-changing technology and science-driven industry, conversations revolved around how to build teams and leaders, how to drive organizational change and how to select for those that will succeed in this type of environment.

Building Teams and Leaders

Cy Wakeman provided an excellent start to the conference. Not only is technology required to change, science pressed to adapt, but leadership strategies are forced to advance as well. She stressed that continuing down the same road will simply not yield the results leaders are hoping for. New times call for new leadership styles and, for her, it is Reality-Based Leadership. Engagement, development and results are driven through leadership and a lack of focus on reality is damaging.


The Advisory Board put on a great session relating to driving organizational change. Many leaders are required to implement 5-15 new initiatives throughout the year on top of an already hectic schedule. Audience members offered great suggestions:

  • Empowering staff members to identify and lead new initiatives
  • Better allocating materials to support management and create more time
  • Prioritize impact so management doesn’t get lost in the logistical initiatives. Focus on ways to decrease turnover, impact culture or improve the patient experience

At Talent Plus ®, we know that using data and analytics to make more informed decisions drives growth.

Selecting the Humans in Health Care

Without a doubt, the most talked about topic at ASHHRA this year was, as one would imagine, selecting humans in health care. Sessions covered the entire gamut of recruitment: how to build a marketing strategy to hire world-class applicants, shifting from ‘employer-centric’ to ‘candidate-centric’ recruitment, physician employment initiatives and collaboration, and leadership selection. My 5 main takeaways from several of these sessions include:

  • Identify competencies or characteristics that embody your ideal candidate and stick to them.
  • Provide staff with tools and materials to make evidence-based decisions (behavior assessments, skill surveys, leadership potential tests...etc.).
  • Market your team and organization to be someone candidates want to apply for – highlight your culture, patient experience stories and community outreach.
  • Employ a team so that it reflects the diversity of your community. This will lead to new ideas, higher staff and community engagement, and ultimately better patient care.
  • Invest and develop potential leaders at all levels to better combat the retirement wave.

I’d love to hear your takeaways and additional thoughts from this year’s ASHHRA conference, so please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or shoot me an email. Don’t let your post-conference excitement die out, pick one action item and get it done!

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

Jessica Reiser 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 her today.