SI Review: July 2010

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Healthcare Staffing Summit, SI Review July 2010

By Julie McCoy

Are you a healthcare staffing provider or thinking of getting into healthcare staffing? Would you like to know how healthcare staffing is doing now and what the future holds, as well as some trends that are taking place in this sector of staffing? Do you want to find out how the recently passed healthcare legislation will affect healthcare staffing and the staffing industry as a whole? Would you like to meet new people and rekindle relationships with people you already know?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Staffing Industry Analysts' upcoming Healthcare Staffing Summit is for you. To be held Sept. 20 through Sept. 22 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, the conference will provide you with the information you need to be prepared for the risks and seize the opportunities in this particular sector of staffing.

With all of the changes that are taking place -- the economy, healthcare staffing and the buyers of healthcare staffing services -- the theme of this year's conference is, appropriately enough, "Succeeding in a Time of Change."

"This is really a time of change and transformation in the healthcare staffing industry," says SIA president Barry Asin, noting that now, more than ever, healthcare staffing companies need to address these changes and adjust their strategy accordingly. "Just doing the same old thing isn't going to work."

Drawing from SIA's proprietary research, Asin will help you better understand where the healthcare industry is now and what lies ahead. He'll also talk about what's working and what's not working in healthcare staffing and all of the changes that are taking place in the sector right now.

Stuart Altman, a Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management, will discuss the economic impacts of the new healthcare reform legislation President Obama signed in March. "He's been behind the scenes on so many healthcare policy initiatives," explains Tony Gregoire, senior research analyst for SIA. "He has testified before Congress. He's an advisor to Barack Obama."

There also will be a session on what the healthcare reform means for the staffing industry and healthcare staffing in particular. This is a not-to-miss session if, like everyone else, you're confused about what the new legislation entails and what it means for your healthcare staffing company.

Additionally, there will be a session that addresses how you can benefit from social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The session will discuss the power of these tools and how your company can develop a social media strategy.

Another session will address leadership; specifically, how great leaders do what they do. Michael Feiner, president of Michael Feiner Consulting and management professor at the Columbia Business School, and former chief people officer of Pepsi-Cola, will discuss how you can motivate, inspire and energize people to achieve great results.

Tim Alderman, of Alderman Hockaday Associates, will discuss three different topics: interviewing/hiring, training and pipeline/revenue management. In the area of hiring, he says, "We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to hire new people or experienced people, and how does that affect your culture? ... Our culture is directly affected by the kind of people we hire."

When it comes to training, Alderman will talk about how, if you're training the same way you did two years ago, now is the time to make changes. "When the harvest is plentiful it's not difficult to get it, but when it's not, how do you train your people differently," says Alderman. "We must track KPI (key performance indicators). If you just managed the activity piece, there are some subjective things that need to be done."

Alderman also will stress the importance of managing your pipeline. "I see us tracking a lot of activities and a lot of contracts. But what I don't see us doing a good job of, because it's hard -- it's a bit like drinking sand -- is managing the pipeline and what's real in the pipeline. I think we have got to do a better job of managing the pipelines. One reason is: that is our next nearest dollar. The next nearest dollar is coming out of that pipeline. If you are looking at a pipeline that is big, but not real, you have a false sense of security of how much you think you have the potential to come in. It's basically a reality check. What I don't see is managers digging in that pipeline consistently. New people don't have the ability to discern the pipeline. New people swing at anything. We have got to get better at what we swing at."

Jon Picoult, founder and principal of Watermark Consulting, will discuss the many parallels between serving customers and interacting with candidates. His talk will highlight the advantages of viewing job seekers through a customer lens, providing examples of how organizations can win the war for talent by creating positive, memorable experiences for job candidates.

"If you view job candidates as customers, and you choreograph their experience carefully, it is possible to differentiate yourself as an employer and your employer brand, and get a leg up on the competition," Picoult says.
Picoult spent most of his career in the corporate world. He was an executive for Fortune 100 companies, where he led sales, service, IT and marketing. He was responsible for customer satisfaction and recruiting, and saw the nexus between those two concepts. That was what got him interested in the subject, he says.

Also new this year is a lightning-round panel that will feature rapid-fire advice from experts. In this session, industry veterans and high-paid consultants will provide 30 ideas to boost sales and cut costs. They'll spill their beans in a rapid-fire format, and you'll walk away with good ideas that you can implement right away.

Another session will address what's happening in the M&A market. Whether you are a staffing firm owner contemplating an exit and looking for the right buyer, or a staffing executive interested in the growth strategy of your peers, this session will offer unique insights into the M&A activity taking place in healthcare staffing.

Sheryl Skolnick, senior VP of CRT Capital Group, will talk about what drives the behavior of hospital executives. SIA's Gregoire will present the first-ever benchmark results in allied health. He'll also moderate a panel on staffing opportunities in drug development.

There will be sessions on health information technology, reducing turnover, selling to the government, outsourcing in locum tenens, VMS and the healthcare buyer perspective.

Additionally, there will be discussion tables covering such topics as H1B visa restriction, international recruiting, tax advantage plans in the travel marketplace, M&A strategies in the economic recovery, employment law as it relates to healthcare staffing, objective third-party advice on VMS/MSP's mark on healthcare, nurse practitioner staffing and the role of certifications in healthcare staffing.

Despite the challenges that healthcare staffing firms are facing right now, overall the mood at the conference should be upbeat, Gregoire believes. "People feel that the worst is behind them and are planning for the opportunity ahead," he says.

SIA's healthcare conference will provide you with a great opportunity to learn and absorb everything from the current and future health of healthcare staffing to how the recently passed healthcare legislation is going to affect the staffing companies, in particular. There will be plenty of opportunities to network -- including designated networking breaks. And what better place to meet than the Windy City in late summer/early fall? "September is a great time to be in Chicago," says Gregoire. "It should be a lot of fun."

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