FaithSearch Partners Leading Chief People Officer Search for Centura Health

September 16, 2016 – Executive search firm FaithSearch Partners has been retained by Denver-based Centura Health to lead its search for a senior vice president and chief people officer.

The top HR post will report to the president of Centura and be responsible for the delivery and management of all system-wide human resources functions. The executive will be a major contributor to business strategy and serve as a member of the senior management team involved in key business decisions.

“Centura Health will need an exceptional, experienced human resources leader with an enthusiasm for this culture,” said Ed Fry, president of FaithSearch Partners. “With this distinctive mission and desirable metropolitan location, this will likely be one the premier healthcare CHRO searches in the nation this year. We are excited and honored to be managing this search.”

Finding Qualified HR Leaders

Healthcare systems are moving HR strategies toward shared services models, matching what has been done in other industries for several years, said Mr. Fry. “However, the transition is not without challenges, in that individual hospital executives are often perceiving an erosion of HR service levels at their sites while patiently waiting for the shared service centers to operate the way they were designed. Our charge, as the search firm, is to find qualified HR leaders who understand the healthcare environment and who can pursue corporate-wide strategic initiatives while keeping strong the tactical and transactional side of HR.”

Centura Health is the region’s healthcare leader with $3.5 billion in net revenue, 21,000 employees, 6,000 physicians, 17 hospitals, with several other related entities located throughout Colorado and western Kansas. It is a Christian, faith-based, not-for-profit system co-owned by Catholic Health Initiatives and Adventist Health System – two of the larger national healthcare systems in the U.S.

“Centura Health is an outstanding organization, with a unique, collaborative healthcare delivery model,” said Mr. Fry. “It has a multi-faceted culture, having both a history of emphasizing holistic care and wellness promotion and it also has a strong tradition of caring for the poor.”

From small independent hospitals to large academic medical centers to integrated healthcare systems, FaithSearch Partners serves the complete spectrum of faith-based healthcare entities, as well as other providers who value leadership with strong values.

It is a small, but important and growing niche. Some of the clients the firm has partnered with include Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, Baylor University Medical Center, Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, Ascension / Providence Health Network, Adventist HealthCare and Covenant Health System. The firm has placed top HR executives at Adventist Health System and Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas.

CPOs Coming Into Vogue

The chief people officer (CPO) position is a relatively new title within the HR function which many companies are using instead of a chief human resources officer (CHRO). It first appeared about a decade ago. Now, as companies look to build internal brand awareness and focus more on establishing and driving their own unique cultures, CPOs are coming more into vogue.

“Organizations that bring in a CPO are typically looking for more than a leader to oversee its staff and people policies; the focus is on building talent as a key competitive advantage, and more on culture — which includes values, ethics, mission and creating a working environment in which employees can thrive,” said Joanna Miller, managing director of boutique executive search firm Miller Black Associates, a specialist in the CPO field.

Ms. Miller recently recruited Andrea Carter as chief people officer of Habitat for Humanity International in Atlanta. Ms. Carter most recently served as global vice president of human resources at Ralph Lauren, based in Greensboro, NC. She previously held senior HR positions with The Home Depot and Newell Rubbermaid.

Many HR specialists see the CPO and CHRO roles as interchangeable. Both are C-level positions overseeing human resources. But, “a growing number of companies see the CPO role as different from CHRO. Among other priorities, the CPO champions values,” said Ms. Miller. “They bring a new set of priorities to companies that make complete sense for the 21st century. They help to drive competitive advantage, but in a very understated way.”

Building Talent As a Competitive Advantage

Scott Weisberg, chief people officer at Wendy’s, the $10 billion global fast food chain, said that talent acquisition strategies at many large companies are now as complex as their balance sheets. And while chief human resource officers (CHRO) play a vital role in overseeing an organization’s broad-based workforce, “it is the chief people officer who typically goes beyond overseeing its people policies.”

Their focus, he said, is on building talent as a key competitive advantage, but “with more emphasis put on culture, which includes values, ethics, and mission.”

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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