Learn more about the innovative practices of this year’s Front of the Front Line Award winners.
By Debbie Bolla
A labor shortage. A shrinking nursing pool. Employee burnout. Growing competition. The healthcare industry has its own set of challenges and a weighty responsibility for patient outcomes and lives. HR leaders in healthcare are using workforce strategies, employee engagement, and communication models to harness the power of their workforces and drive better healthcare outcomes and patient satisfaction. The HR community in healthcare deserves its own special recognition—and that’s where the Front of the Front Line Awards come in.
At HRO Today’s People in Healthcare Summit in September, four extraordinary HR leaders and one exemplary TA team were honored with a 2023 Front of the Front Line Award. Learn more about this year’s winners here.
Front of Front Line TA Team of the Year Award Winner
Memorial Hermann got innovative with their recruiting strategies to attract and hire more talent than ever before. In fact, they doubled the number of hires from 7,000 in 2019 to almost 14,00 in 2023. They also invested in team development by creating career pathways and offering quarterly incentives; decreased contract labor expense by filling positions quickly and launching an internal travel program; and reduced days to hire by at least three. All of this adds up to a better candidate experience and more transparency for hiring managers.
Front of Front Line Small System Award Winner
Chief Administrative and Human Resource Officer
Sylvia Pittman has truly transformed HR into a strategic function by focusing on employee well-being, implementing stay and exit interviews, offering career advancement opportunities, and building a new compensation structure. The results of these efforts have reduced turnover by a whopping 11.5%.
Front of the Front Line Large Systems Award Winner
EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Chief Administrative Officer
During her tenure, Tracey Schiro drove the health system’s ability to attract, train, manage, and measure outstanding employee talent by sustaining a healthy culture, offering development programs, and creating an innovative diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. With more than 36,000 employees, in 2021 Ochsner Heath treated more than 1 million people from every state and 75 countries.
Front of the Front Line Sustainable Workforce Award Winner
EVP and CHRO
Diane Psaras is known for R&R: recruitment and retention that is. Due to her efforts, almost 9,300 employees were hired between 2020 and 2022 and 70% of those new hires have jobs that involve direct interaction with patients. She also launched a new employee retention bonus program and an annual certification program. These types of initiatives have led to impressive survey results: 88% of employees feel they are appreciated and 79% believe that they have the ability to make a difference through their work.
Front of the Front Line Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
VP, Chief People Officer
The employee is at the heart of everything that Olesea Azevedo does. Talent at the health system enjoys competitive pay, benefits from day one, debt-free education assistance options, student loan support, career pathing resources, as well as mental health and financial well-being offerings. Always thinking ahead to the next best thing for team members, paid parental leave is to be implemented this year. These efforts have reduced monthly turnover by 50% and achieved an engagement score ranking of 79th percentile compared to national benchmarks.