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SCALE CEO Leadership Series Vol. 13

10 Best Practice Recommendations in Strategic HR and Talent Recruiting: An interview with Alan Cooper

Below is an excerpt of the full interview conducted with Alan Cooper.  Listen now for the full discussion.

About Alan Cooper, PhD and MBA

Alan Cooper has over 25 years of experience in the area of strategic organizational transformation, with a specific focus on organization development (OD), leadership development, customer experience, change management, teambuilding/collaboration, organizational capacity, and human capital/HR.  Dr. Cooper has had extensive experience working with numerous healthcare organizations ranging in size from single practitioner offices to large health systems providing consulting services.  His work is consistently aligned with an overarching emphasis on the achievement of an organization’s strategic mission.

Dr. Cooper is the former Chief People and Performance Officer at White Plains Hospital in New York. In this role he was responsible for the overall talent strategy of the organization and the development of programs that attracted, retained, motivated and developed the talent needed to drive a performance based culture and ensure the hospital had the capabilities to accomplish its mission and strategic goals.

Dr. Cooper spent the first 21 years of his career with the North Shore – LIJ Health System in New York (now Northwell Health).  As Vice President for Learning and Innovation he developed and ran the health system’s “corporate university”, the largest of its kind in healthcare, serving over 43,000 employees.  Some notable accomplishments included; redesign of the employee orientation process to align with the organizations strategy, resulting in significant cost savings and an increase in employee satisfaction; implementation of a Lean/Six Sigma initiative that resulted in over $2,000,000 in cost savings and enhanced revenue within two years; design and launch of numerous customer satisfaction programs that resulted in significant increases in patient and employee satisfaction; implementation of a system-wide senior leadership coaching and succession planning program employing 3600 evaluations, resulting in a  decrease in leadership turnover and a reduction in the necessity for external recruitment of senior leaders.

Dr. Cooper holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology and an MBA (with distinction) in management from Adelphi University. Additionally, he holds a master’s degree in education and a certificate in medical education from the University of Cincinnati.  He has also earned several certificates in leadership and management from Cornell University, University of Michigan, and the University of Notre Dame.  He is a nationally recognized speaker in the areas of process improvement, customer satisfaction, leadership development, and corporate learning.  He has published several articles and book chapters including chapters on leadership development and corporate education.  Dr. Cooper has also held the positions of Associate Dean for Knowledge Management at the Hofstra North Shore – LIJ School of Medicine, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University, and Associate Dean and Clinical Professor for the Willumstad School of Business at Adelphi University.

Key Takeaways

  1. Transactional HR vs. Strategic HR
  • Transactional HR: the traditional personnel department focused on problems and administration – Hires, On-boarding, Reviews, Benefits, Compliance
  • Strategic HR: the Chief HR Officer should be considered as one of the Company Chiefs that works with C-Suite leadership to develop HR strategy every year – how/where will we hire, retain, what amount of the right talent to help the company differentiate itself in performance. Are we asking, planning for, and addressing the bigger questions?
  1. A smaller practice/business should engage in these Strategic HR activities, no different to a multi-billion organization, the only difference being the size of the program.

  2. A key measure of success in sourcing – Do you have talent pools? Locations where you know you can find good fits time and time again vs. shot-gun approach of always looking everywhere every time you need someone.

  3. A key measure of success in training – Compliance related training shouldn’t be confused with an employee active/growth orientated learning program which should be job specific. Does every employee in your organization have a multi-year career plan?

  4. A key measure of success in performance reviews – annual reviews provide close to no value.

  5. Today’s cloud-based HR solutions bundle too many HR functions into one on-line platform that for example mix compliance and benefits with key strategic items like training. And performance reviews This confuses the message and is counter-productive. Not all HR tasks are the same nor should be viewed the same. A bad process with technology is simply a bad process on steroids.

  6. Too many personnel reviews are one on one when the review should also be on the team. Employee evaluations should simply be tools to facilitate improvement instead of determinants of annual bonuses. Disney as an example provides staff with daily observed performance tips.

  7. HR leadership should document and promote across the organization annual improvements in time/efficiency with all the tasks they request of the employee base. Show the employee base that HR is aligned and cares about the scarcity of time faced by staff.

  8. HR has historically been a very weak area. HR needs to do a better job selling the organization on the benefits of compliance program to individual employees – the Why behind the What.

  9. HR teams that focus on employee exmissions and focus time effort on helping staff with their next port of call generate above normal goodwill.

Listen for the Full Interview

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