Furst Group Recruits Chief People Officer for BJC HealthCare 

The global pandemic is making “people analytics” more relevant than ever . . . and it might just lead to more HR chiefs adopting such systems. Let’s take a closer look at one top chief people officer search, and its potential ramifications.

March 27, 2020 – With the coronavirus crisis upon us, chief people officers are stepping up at businesses across the country, playing a vital role in helping organizations navigate what is looking to be an even greater challenge than the Great Recession. As a recent article in The Economist put it, “They must keep employees healthy; maintain their morale; oversee a vast remote-working experiment; and, as firms retrench, consider whether, when and how to lay workers off. Their in-trays are bulging.” Executive recruiters across the business landscape concur.

Recently, executive search firm Furst Group, which serves the healthcare and insurance industries, placed Jackie Tischler as the new chief people officer for BJC Healthcare in St. Louis. Vice president Jessica Homann led the assignment. Ms. Tischler, who will join BJC on April 13, succeeds John Beatty, who last year announced he would be retiring.

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“Our partnership with BJC HealthCare on the recent chief people officer search was strong because of the high level of client engagement we received through the hiring CEO and the retiring incumbent, but also because of our transparent process, unique market insights, and our ability to tap into the highly specialized intelligence of our sister company, NuBrick Partners, on the role design,” said Ms. Homann. “The goal was to identify strategic, transformational executives who had successfully leveraged and aligned people/talent with the business needs of their organizations.”

The search included healthcare professionals as well as leadership from other complex, change-oriented, and consumer-centric industries such as retail, technology, and hospitality/services, according to the recruiting firm. This resulted in 73 percent of candidates having multi-industry backgrounds, said Ms. Homann.

“In addition, we are particularly proud that the overall effort included 53 percent diverse candidate representation,” Ms. Homann said. “Ultimately, the chosen candidate, Jackie Tischler, came from the healthcare industry but had done significant work around transformation and innovation making her the ideal leader to serve as BJC HealthCare’s chief people officer and an asset to its outstanding executive leadership team.”

In her new role, Ms. Tischler will serve as a member of the organization’s executive leadership team. “An innovative and collaborative leader, she will work across BJC to foster team member excellence and stability, culture change, continuous operational improvement, and organizational integration and transformation,” said Rich Liekweg, BJC president and CEO. “I am looking forward to Jackie joining us and am confident she will be an excellent addition to BJC.”

Direct Reports

Ms. Tischler will have responsibility for corporate human resources operations, talent strategies, organizational development, learning, compensation and benefits. She also will serve as the primary liaison to the compensation committee of the BJC board of directors and will lead the system-wide HR leadership team.

Reporting directly to Ms. Tischler will be: Stacy Arney, vice president of HR operations; Russell Hoffmann, vice president of organizational development and culture; Andrea Lampert, vice president of talent strategies; Sherry Ward, vice president of total rewards; Leroy Love, executive director of workforce management; Terrie Hart, manager of workforce diversity; and Jennifer Townley, manager of HR analytic. She will be supported by Pat Faser, executive assistant.

Ms. Tischler currently serves as human resource operations SVP at Baylor Scott and White Health (BSWH) in Dallas. BSWH is the largest fully integrated health care system in Texas with revenues of $10 billion, 49,000 employees, 50 hospitals, more than 800 patient care sites, a health plan covering over 230,000 members and an accountable care organization covering 469,000 lives. In this role, Ms. Tischler oversees BSWH compensation, executive compensation, talent acquisition, benefits, HR technology, HR service center and employee health and is responsible for an HR team of 300. She has been a key leader in helping to lead and execute HR and organizational transformation at BSWH.

Prior to joining BSWH in 2015, Ms. Tischler spent two years as vice president of HR with University of Colorado Health, a $2.5 billion integrated health care system with three hospitals and 15,000 employees. She has also held senior HR and transformation leadership positions at Methodist Health System in Dallas. She began her career with Ernst and Young LLP in audit.

Healthcare Recruiting

Furst Group, which is headquartered in Rockford, IL, partners with many of the premier healthcare organizations in the world, from providers and payers to life-science companies and private equity/venture capital firms. While Furst Group’s roots are in managed care, the firm continues to be one of the nation’s leading executive search partners to health systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, post-acute and hospice and palliative care facilities. Its works with insurers stretches back to the HMO era, yet the firm also teams with life science, pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

The firm also has locations in Phoenix; Radnor, PA; San Francisco; Brentwood, TN; Chicago; Irving, TX; Minneapolis; Seattle; St. Louis; and Washington, D.C.

Crisis Management: Leading in Times of Great Uncertainty
The COVID-19 outbreak is making its way through the business world and costing organizations billions of dollars in lost revenue. Goldman Sachs estimates that economic growth around the world will be zero in 2020 thanks to the virus. Even that seems grossly underestimated. But the coronavirus is causing far more than just financial damage. Leaders are scrambling to secure supplies, keep fearful employees motivated to work, and, in some cases, maintain bold strategic plans that have been years in the making from falling apart.

Ms. Homann helps health systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, and health insurers navigate the continuum of the talent life cycle. She joined Furst Group in 2011 with a strong history of recruiting clinical and administrative leaders. She works with clients in addressing a wide range of issues, including physician alignment efforts, formalized mentoring programs, leadership development, and strategic hiring practices.

With nearly 20 years of experience working closely with providers, payers, and healthcare service organizations, Ms. Homann assists clients in recognizing possible organizational challenges and creating thorough leadership strategies around the recruitment, development, and retention of executive leadership teams. She has helped numerous organizations identify and attract CEOs, chief operating officers, chief nursing officers, chief medical officers, and CHROs. She is especially passionate about assisting the executive development and coaching of clinicians, both physicians and nurses.

Coronavirus Crisis Thrusts HR Chiefs Into the Spotlight 

As recruiting and retaining skilled workers has become a big preoccupation for the nation’s CEOs—some four-fifths now worry about skill shortages, up from half in 2012—HR heads’ desks moved ever closer to the corner office. Today many reside right next to the boss. Shareholders are inviting more outside HR chiefs to boards. In America their salaries remain lower than that of CFOs but have risen 20 percent faster since 2010.

According to a recent article in The Economist, “a higher profile entails new expectations. HR was once the domain of history graduates and masters in labor relations; nowadays plenty hold business degrees. Although most firms recruit them from HR jobs, more are choosing outsiders or unconventional candidates.”

According to Russell Reynolds Associates, HR heads appointed to Fortune 100 companies between 2016 and 2019 were around 50 percent likelier than earlier hires to have worked abroad, in general management or in finance.

“Before Covid-19, tight labor markets and empowered employees pressed employers to understand how to get the most out of their staff,” Dane Holmes, a former head of human-capital management at Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, who now runs an HR-analytics firm, told The Economist. The pandemic makes such “people analytics” more relevant and may lead more HR chiefs to adopt such systems.

“Many companies, especially outside the knowledge economy, face tougher choices. HR leaders must strike a balance between a firm’s professed purpose, which these days often involves treating staff decently, and the bottom line,” said Dan Kaplan, senior client partner for Korn Ferry’s CHRO practice. The instinct is to cut costs through mass redundancies, as some hotel chains, airlines and others have begun doing. Rather than slash payrolls indiscriminately, Bill Schaninger, senior partner at McKinsey, told The Economist. Good HR heads can use the crisis to reconfigure company workflow: what needs to be done by whom, what can be automated and what requires people to share the same space. Some workers who at first appear redundant may be redeployed or reskilled.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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