Positioning Your Organization for Success

Positioning Your Organization for Success: Why Recruiting Based on Attributes Enables Transformational Change


April 10, 2018 by Scott Caldwell



Successful organizations are often based on a foundation of innovative solutions to everyday problems and bringing those solutions to market. At the heart of these successful organizations are employees who pursue what is possible, rather than what has been done before.

For example, Apple taught us a phone is an enabler of possibilities, not just a communication tool. Amazon turned distribution into a better way of life for people on the go and for people who can no longer go. These innovations weren’t simply produced — they were inspired and operationalized by people, who at their core, believed they were changing lives, not just improving the bottom line. Certainly, they found financial success, but financial goals were not the catalyst for creativity.  

The healthcare industry is experiencing rapid change, and preparing for the future requires people who are invigorated by change and focused on creating new solutions. While deep functional experience was historically the marker of success for leaders and employees, moving forward, organizations should consider a different recruiting strategy: hiring based on personal attributes.

Assessing job candidates based on personal attributes, such as being inclusive or willing to give away power, and transferable professional skills, such as the ability to communicate or lead change management and sales efforts, ensures employees will deliver results and fit company culture. Organizations can best position themselves to navigate challenges by hiring people based on this strategy.

When Ascension created The Resource Group in 2009, leadership recognized the supply chain processes of the past would not enable the transformative solutions needed in the future and sought to develop a new model capable of reducing non-payroll costs. The Resource Group, in collaboration with Ascension, redesigned the end-to-end supply chain of its 151 hospitals representing $8 billion in annual non-labor spend. This redesign transformed supply chain from a materials management department to a hospitality-based, customer-centric organization composed of change management, operations and logistics optimization, and contracting services through its User-Directed Strategic Sourcing process. In conjunction, The Resource Group re-evaluated and modified its recruiting strategy to attract innovative, high-performing professionals across all generations and industries.

Rather than recruiting only for supply chain specific skills and the ability to perform job-specific tasks, The Resource Group’s leaders assess candidates for seven attributes that ensure a cultural fit and enable success: nice, bright, high energy, inclusive, willing to give away power, inspired by mission, and invigorated by change. Leaders focus on first identifying these attributes, along with transferable professional skills, and then evaluate job-specific skills and experiences. Experience has shown employees, especially those who are bright and energetic, can learn supply chain skills quickly. Conversely, personal attributes are typically intrinsic and not easily taught.

As employees and leaders, these individuals are positioned to provide innovative approaches and solutions, sometimes from other industries, rather than rely on the entrenched ideas of traditional healthcare supply chain. Today, 70 percent of people in The Resource Group have previously worked in different industries, bringing diversity of perspective and experience from more than 15 industries, spanning manufacturing and retail to finance and banking.

The Resource Group’s first area of transformation was to gain acceptance from those it serves to pursue a new recruiting strategy that focuses on personal attributes and transferable professional skills first. Leaders faced scrutiny initially, and worked with hospital leaders to gain acceptance. As it placed high energy teams that delivered results, hospital leaders realized personal attributes and transferable professional skills were enablers of success for their supply chain teams. For example, The Resource Group employs nice people who inherently see the value in listening to end-users, inclusive people who implement solutions in coordination with end-users to ensure delivery of savings, and people invigorated by change who embrace challenging the status quo and can assist those they serve with navigating change. While The Resource Group’s model offers a comprehensive solution, the key to success has been its people who, enabled by customer collaboration and support, have delivered over $1 billion (13 percent) in annual cost reduction on non-payroll spend.

This approach of hiring people based on personal attributes and transferable professional skills is effective in building a workforce that can nimbly adapt to constant change and achieve success, regardless of the challenge. Organizations that recognize the importance of hiring the right type of employee can better position themselves for success in the future, as well.

About The Resource Group

The Resource Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ascension, is a business transformation services organization that specializes in non-payroll spend management. Through its Integrated Change Management Model, The Resource Group delivers value through change management, operations and logistics optimization, and User-Directed Strategic Sourcing. The Resource Group also operates a wholly-owned Group Purchasing Organization, allowing it to share its best-in-industry, singled tiered pricing, with healthcare organizations regardless of their size, designation or geography.

The Resource Group model has successfully delivered over $1 billion, 13%, in annual savings. This success enabled The Resource Group to expand outside of Ascension to serve healthcare systems seeking to decrease non-payroll expenses and increase operational efficiencies.