Institutional Strategies

Tools to sustain local hiring efforts

Key Elements

  • Foster collaboration between human resources and community health departments
  • Connect forecasting, training, and hiring departments
  • Connect to health system diversity and outreach goals
  • Leverage vendor contracts and connect to supply chain
  • Collaborate with other anchors and city economic development efforts

Connection to health system diversity and outreach goals

Connecting local hiring efforts to existing diversity and outreach goals can help leverage outside resources for these internal strategic priorities. Workforce intermediaries and community-based organizations often work and recruit in diverse communities. Local hiring efforts can leverage these existing outreach networks. Creating a more diverse workforce has been a driver of local hiring efforts at Partners HealthCare (Partners) in Boston, Massachusetts. “If we wanted to continue to enhance the excellent care that our institutions already provide, one of the ways to do that would be to create a more diverse and culturally competent workforce,” they emphasize. By creating a pipeline for local residents, new hires will necessarily be more representative of the surrounding community because they are from the very communities Partners serves.1Anchor Institution Toolkit Meeting (Partners HealthCare, Boston, MA, January 19, 2016), transcript.

Local hiring efforts can also be targeted to fill specific positions that require knowledge of the community, such as community health workers, health coaches, and community health center employees. Alameda County EMS Corps has leveraged this approach and is connecting graduates from their training program to community health outreach work. Similarly, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, developed a training program for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a new position that would interface between patients and hospital staff, requiring a good deal of cultural competency. Since the training cohort was drawn from the local community, candidates already had the required cultural familiarity.2Sheila Ireland, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, March 30, 2016, transcript.

Collaboration between human resources and community health departments

Linking community residents to employment not only provides greater economic stability, but also connects more residents to health insurance.

Unemployment and economic instability are critical determinants of health. Therefore, workforce efforts are an important strategy for community/population health and community benefit departments. Explicitly linking local hiring efforts to community health departments can bring additional resources to the table, particularly for measuring impact. The act of documenting unemployment and underemployment as health needs can also help make the case for local hiring efforts. This is a strategy currently utilized by Partners through their “Community Health Needs Assessment, which all hospitals are required to do every three years.” As Partners describes it: “there’s a real opportunity for other hospitals to think more about the issues of income, poverty, and employment, and how [they] support health. If you widen the frame when you do your assessment, those things absolutely come through and they become identified in needs assessments more clearly.”3Anchor Institution Toolkit Meeting.At institutions serving large uninsured populations and with high rates of uncompensated care, this becomes especially strategic. Linking community residents to employment not only provides greater economic stability, but also connects more residents to health insurance.

Connecting forecasting, organizational training and learning, and human resources activities

A crucial first step in designing programs is ensuring communication between forecasting, organizational training, and human resources. This ensures that staff in all of these focus areas have knowledge of important factors such as turnover rates, predicted vacancies, and skills gaps. Coordination in these areas will result in a more synchronized and efficient program. Moreover, making sure that organizational training and learning have this information will help them to share it with workforce intermediaries and training partners as they design new programs. “You’ve got to have both sides at the table in the project to be effective. The recruiting and placement side have to know where the opportunities are and how to access them, along with the training side,” says Dr. Cinda Hendon-King of Atlanta CareerRise in Atlanta, Georgia.4Cinda Herndon-King and Helen Slaven, interview by Katie Parker, February 24, 2016, transcript. This is also a key strategy employed by Johns Hopkins University and Health System (Johns Hopkins) in Baltimore, Maryland, where forecasting, training and human resources are coordinated as part of their larger workforce development strategy.

Leveraging vendor contracts and connecting to supply chain

Supply chain managers can include local hiring provisions in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to ensure that vendors create pipelines for local candidates.

Another interdepartmental linkage that can help amplify the impact of local hiring efforts is between local hiring initiatives and supply chain departments. Supply chain managers can include local hiring provisions in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to ensure that vendors create pipelines for local candidates. Local hiring can also play a role in contract negotiations. For example, University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio offered to extend a long-term contract to distributor Owens and Minor only if they agreed to open a facility in Cleveland and commit to other provisions, including creating new positions at the facility, hiring local residents, and paying employees above a certain wage.5Steve Standley, interview by Ted Howard, October 9, 2015, transcript. In a similar vein, Bon Secours negotiated with one of their food service providers that wanted to centralize bulk food preparation so that staff who would be affected by the changes would be prioritized for hiring as the company’s footprint expanded.6David McCombs, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, December 16, 2015, transcript.

Another innovative strategy is to build pipelines for jobs within the supply chain and distribution. For example, Johns Hopkins Health System partnered with local community colleges to create “the Supply Chain Institute,” a tailored training to prepare candidates to work within hospital distribution centers. The eight-week cohort program offers training on inventory management, quality assurance, distribution, and other critical supply chain functions. In addition, students receive job readiness and computer skills training. At the end of the program, students are interviewed for positions within Johns Hopkins’ supply chain department. The program benefits participants, who receive job-specific training and Johns Hopkins, since it provides them with access to a pool of candidates trained specifically on their supply chain software, systems, and equipment.7Kenneth Grant, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, Baltimore, MD, February 5, 2016, transcript; Patrick Smith, “Homegrown Talent,” Johns Hopkins Health System, April 28, 2016.

Program Design Strategies

Best practices for setting up a local hiring pipeline

  • Designate geographic focus in high-poverty neighborhoods
  • Work with residents with the greatest barriers to employment
  • Focus on jobs with clear career pathways
  • ...

Institutional Strategies

Tools to sustain local hiring efforts

  • Foster collaboration between human resources and community health departments
  • Connect forecasting, training, and hiring departments
  • Connect to health system diversity...

Intermediary strategies

Success factors for workforce partners

  • Offer wrap around supports and soft skills training
  • Function in a hub/navigator role
  • Work with a network of multiple employers

References   [ + ]

1. Anchor Institution Toolkit Meeting (Partners HealthCare, Boston, MA, January 19, 2016), transcript.
2. Sheila Ireland, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, March 30, 2016, transcript.
3. Anchor Institution Toolkit Meeting.
4. Cinda Herndon-King and Helen Slaven, interview by Katie Parker, February 24, 2016, transcript.
5. Steve Standley, interview by Ted Howard, October 9, 2015, transcript.
6. David McCombs, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, December 16, 2015, transcript.
7. Kenneth Grant, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, Baltimore, MD, February 5, 2016, transcript; Patrick Smith, “Homegrown Talent,” Johns Hopkins Health System, April 28, 2016.