Here Come the Millennials and CHROs in Healthcare: Trends for 2017

Healthcare executives are moving beyond a decade that was consumed by CMS mandates and are now fixing their sights on what it will take to succeed in the healthcare marketplace of the future. Leaders are shifting their attention from unnecessary readmissions and hospital-acquired conditions to addressing staffing shortages, improving revenue cycle management, developing the infrastructure needed to support value-based healthcare, and anticipating likely changes from the new Trump administration. As we look forward into 2017, here are two of the many new trends you can expect to see.

Millennials will start to bring change and technological innovation to the healthcare workplace

For the first time in history, we have five generations in the same workplace. These individuals span nearly a century of life experience, ranging from the Traditionalists (born 1922-1945) of the World War II generation to the tech-savvy Generation Z (born 1995-present) who are just entering the workforce.

Expect big changes over the next few years as Millennials (born 1979-1994) become more than 50% of the workforce by 2025. This generation has an abundance of self confidence, is much more adept with technology than the Baby Boomers they will be replacing, and is driven to change the companies they work for.

Despite the challenges, Linda Knodel, SVP and CNO of Mercy Health in Chesterfield, MO, is optimistic about the new energy Millennials will bring to the healthcare industry. “In my generation, you had time to earn your stripes. This new generation is going to have to adapt very quickly. I have three Millennial daughters, all in healthcare. They are sponges because they want to learn. They are much smarter than we are, and they will be doing things differently. I think we are going to be in great hands.”

The industry will search for CHROs with strong business backgrounds

Outside the healthcare industry, there is high turnover among Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs).Over the past several years, CHRO turnover in Fortune 100 companies has reached 39%, and many of these roles have been filled with leaders from outside of HR—executives from marketing, finance, operations, or lines of business (Chakrabarti, 2015). According to the consulting firm Deloitte, organizations are looking for bold, data-savvy CHROs who can be “proactive in identifying trouble spots and creating talent initiatives in response” (Chakrabarti, 2015).

Within healthcare, we can expect to see a similar evolution of the role of the CHRO as this position increasingly oversees functions that directly impact organizational revenue. The CHRO of the future will need to play both a strategic and financial role in addressing bottom-line issues such as:

  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • Maintaining adequate staffing levels to ensure al beds are filled
  • Replacing retiring Baby Boomers
  • Adjusting executive compensation to reflect the industry move to value-based care
  • Managing executive turnover (currently around 20% per year)
  • Keeping succession planning at the forefront of organizational initiatives
  • Recruiting clinicians to be part of the executive team
  • Boosting workforce engagement
  • Preventing staff burnout

April 1, 2021