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Making The Case: Designing your Talent Strategy to Support your Organizational Priorities

by TLD Group

As the world of work changes, organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain optimal talent. In response, healthcare organizations are reviewing — and in some cases, overhauling — their talent strategies to validate leadership competencies and prepare leaders to meet current and future challenges. 

One organization working to revamp its talent strategy is OSF Healthcare, an integrated health system headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, that was recently named one of Fortune’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023. OSF has more than 24,000 employees, who are called “Mission Partners,” in 350 locations. The revamp started with a critical decision to add the role of Chief Human Resources (HR) Officer to the Ministry's Executive Cabinet. The transformation of its HR structure and strategy followed, including talent acquisition, role design, assessment, development, and succession management. 

In this  “Making the Case” blog, we explore how OSF partnered with TLD Group to design its talent strategy to support its strategic priorities. You’ll hear insights from OSF executives on the importance of defining, assessing and developing leaders using a customized competency framework.   

A High-Potential Leadership Development Strategy

Led by the new CHRO, executives at OSF committed to creating a strategy and process that could validate high potentials for all levels of leaders. The most pressing need was for leaders at the vice president level and above, who represented several distinct roles within OSF. 

The team at TLD Group worked collaboratively with system leadership to form OSF’s executive leadership development strategy to align to the organization’s overall business strategy. Our work with OSF included six phases: 

    1. Needs Assessment: Review strategic documents and conduct interviews with key leaders at OSF. 
    2. Develop the Executive Leadership Success Model: Identify what a successful leader looks like today and in 3-5 years. 
    3. Create OSF’s Executive Leadership Development Strategy: Using the Executive Leadership Success Model and interview results, define actions needed to retain and develop executive-level leaders and develop the leadership skills consistent with the business strategy. 
    4. Create OSF’s Executive Leadership Development Resource Guide: Design a customized leadership development guide mapped to the Executive Leadership Success Model that informs creation of individualized development plans. 
    5. Assessment and Development Planning for High Potentials: Individual assessment and development for each high potential successor against the Executive Leadership Success Model. Individual gaps were then identified, allowing for a customized development plan for each leader. 
    6. Bring in the Executive Cabinet: Create and deliver a workshop for managers of high potentials and the Executive Cabinet to increase their understanding of how leaders develop and reinforce their role as owners of the high potential talent pool.

Using the Success Model, TLD Group and OSF leaders worked together to define actions needed to develop executive-level leaders consistent with the business strategy. A customized leadership development guide was created for the Success Model to use as a guide for creating individualized plans for each high potential successor. Additionally, managers of high potentials participated in training to learn how to assess leaders and develop and reinforce their role as owners of the high potential talent pool. 

Insights from OSF Healthcare Executives

We asked Shelley Nguyen, CHRO at OSF Healthcare, and Tiffany Nieman, OSF Healthcare’s Organizational Development (OD) Director, to share why they decided to invest in talent and leadership as a way to accelerate their overall organizational strategy. 

What challenges have you faced following the pandemic, specifically around recruiting and retaining talent? 

The pandemic made many people question their desire to serve in the healthcare sector, causing some to retire early, change career paths, or even just leave the workforce altogether due to other commitments. Many of our facilities serve rural communities, causing unique challenges in talent acquisition. We knew there were short-term things that we could do, including sign-on bonuses, retention bonuses, etc., but that this would not solve the long-term problems or address the labor projections that healthcare is facing. 

We saw an opportunity to create a stronger value proposition around our mission, culture, flexible benefits, and the continued development of our existing Mission Partners to support our Ministry’s most pressing talent needs. 

To what extent was the creation of the new role of Chief Human Resources Officer a result of your focus on developing talent as a strategic priority for OSF?

OSF has always realized that our Mission Partners are centric on our ability to serve our communities — that’s why we call them "Mission Partners" and not employees. We believe they are called to serve the mission of OSF with their various gifts and talents. The pandemic highlighted the need to help the organization navigate the ongoing disruption and external change drivers impacting the workforce and the organization at the highest level, which is why we created the CHRO role. 

Why do you believe that it’s important to strategically assess and develop leadership competencies at all levels of the organization, and specifically executive leadership?

The pandemic highlighted gaps in leadership competencies, including resiliency and the unprecedented need for change management (including the “people” parts of change). Furthermore, leaders are being asked to think differently relative to the changing world and collaborate on a larger scale with more diverse partners. 

This includes improving upon and embracing new models of care and innovation at all levels. We wanted to ensure that our leaders at the highest level were well equipped to lead and execute new models of care and innovation and to lead our organization into the future while building upon our strong history and mission.  

Why did you decide to engage with TLD Group now to develop and execute your leadership and talent development strategy? 

There has never been a more critical time to invest in the development of our leaders and Mission Partners. We wanted to ensure our leadership development strategy was future-oriented and relevant to the fast-changing healthcare sector, and we wanted to demonstrate the return on these investments for OSF Healthcare. 

Have you seen any impacts in the first phases of the work, and if so, what are those impacts?

We just had an SVP announce their retirement, and having the Executive Leadership Success Model helped easily articulate the development opportunities for our high-potential talent. In partnership with the Executive Cabinet member who leads the role, the OD team created a development plan around one of the competencies that helped prepare this individual for the growth opportunity into the SVP role. Knowing your strategy and development can support these types of transitions at a time when this division is leading critical work is essential to limit disruption in an already complex environment. 

How do you think OSF’s investment in leadership development will help lead to success in the complex, changing healthcare ecosystem?

The leadership skills and competencies that got OSF to this point are not the same as will be needed to succeed in this "new normal." No one is coming to save healthcare organizations from the current and projected workforce shortages, evolving regulatory requirements, and rising costs. 

We must develop our leaders to meet these current and future challenges in a way that preserves our proud history and mission. Many organizations are experiencing leadership attrition due to the change and complexity, and we want to ensure our leaders are well-equipped to lead their teams in a way that brings the OSF Mission to life in the communities we serve, even with the growing complexity and challenges in the healthcare sector. 

Key Takeaways for Aligning Talent and Organizational Strategies

Here are a few of our recommendations for creating a talent strategy that aligns with your organization’s broader goals and supports success in the complex, changing health ecosystem. 

  • Integrate your talent strategy into your organizational strategy: To ensure that your organization has the right talent in place to meet its present and future needs, start by assessing your current talent structure and identifying the competencies needed to achieve your strategic goals.
  • Develop a customized competency framework: Design a framework that defines what success looks like at all levels and within all roles of the organization. Use this framework to assess, develop, and retain talent, and to create individualized development plans for high-potential employees.
  • Invest in leadership development: Leadership development should be a key part of your talent strategy, with a focus on developing the skills that individual leaders will need to support your strategic goals. This includes creating a leadership development program for high-potential employees, and providing training for managers to assess, develop, and retain high-potential talent.
  • Emphasize the value proposition of your organization: To attract and retain top talent, you need a strong value proposition that emphasizes your organization's mission, culture, flexible benefits, and opportunities for career development. By investing in the development of your existing talent pool and promoting a strong organizational culture, you can position your organization as an attractive place to work and a leader in the industry.

To learn more about how to align your talent strategy to your organization’s strategic priorities, visit our website.

Topics: Leadership Development, Healthcare Ecosystem, HELM Interviews, Case Studies

TLD Group

Written by TLD Group