Welcome to the Lean, Just-In-Time Blog and Resources Page

Our published "Best Practice" recruitment tools, tips and thoughts are stored here. Each blog is keyword searchable (use the search function in the top right hand corner of the page). You can utilize these resources to immediately impact and improve recruitment performance! Our clients use these materials to guide continuous improvement learning sessions and to assist with the "behavior modification" process.

Are You Recruiting People Stuck in Traffic?

March 25th, 2015

16 years ago, I did an onsite Training session for a company based in Seattle.  We were trying to recruit top IT talent in the land of Microsoft!

During a Mindstorm session (something we teach in Module 5 of RACR,  someone said,“Let’s do a billboard. Folks are stuck in traffic on this main highway. If we come up with a compelling message, a lot of technology folks will see it on their commute.”

After considerable laughter (who does billboards anymore) they executed this idea and it had a great return on investment.

16 years later, in this crazy world of technology, social media, and virtual connectivity . . . the tech industry is reverting back to this “old school tactic” .

Lesson Learned! Regardless of the industry you recruit in, you need to keep innovating how you find talent and effectively communicating why they should consider your organization. You need to stay one step ahead of your competition.

We can’t assume that tactics in the past won’t work now and/or that new ones are just a  ‘thought away’.

Innovation and creativity is key for finding and recruiting Top talent.

I hope you plan time into your schedule to think of new, innovative ways to find talent by Mindstorming.


David Szary

Peer Interviews Place Value In TEAM!!

March 18th, 2015

Why it is important to include a candidate’s future peers in the interview process

We would like to thank Erin Wright, Manager of  Recruitment and Onboarding at Lakeland HealthCare for this blog. To connect with Erin on LinkedIn please follow this link to Erin Wright.

2015 is the year we are going to make a difference! As I am sure most individuals working in recruitment can relate to, we understand how important it is to our health system to select the best of the best. Recruitment best practices, particularly manager and peer interviews, are critical. However, when it comes to real life, some of you may be able to relate to what our team at Lakeland deals with more often than we would like to admit – those hiring managers who do not understand the importance of behavioral team interviews. Many times, what it comes down to is – TIME & STAFFING. They simply do not feel like they have the time or staff readily available to properly interview potential new hires. So this is the year, our recruitment team is going to make a difference!

Research showing the importance of behavioral interview practices and the importance of conducting team interviews is plentiful, but getting our managers to buy in has been our struggle.  Do you find a similar struggle at your organization?

In the past, our recruiters would provide ad hoc team interview training to their associates as hiring managers would request. While this worked, it lacked the ability to measure the effectiveness of team interviews. So we made the decision to roll out  “Team Behavioral Interview Training” sessions to high performers within our organization. We are providing the training on a quarterly basis to associates who have the recommendation from their manager.

Below are a few key highlights that have helped to spark the interest of our hiring managers and encouraged them to slow down and realize the importance of Behavioral Team Interviewing:

  • Interviews typically last between 30-60 minutes.
  • Research has proven that behavioral interviewing techniques and involvement of staff in the interview process have contributed to reductions in first-year turnover (Implementing the Chief Retention Officer’s Mission via The Advisory Board).
  • You are better able to identify individuals most likely to succeed by using behavioral interviewing to screen candidates for service aptitude, not just clinical skills. Engaging team members shows you value them and their feedback.
  • A Sense of Ownership – staff involved in the interviewing process are much more supportive of the new hires they help select. Individuals understand that they are part of the reason the new hire is there so they want to help the individual.

As a hiring manager myself, I would be very hesitant to go against a recommendation that my interview team made about a potential candidate. They are the ones that will be spending more time with the individual and I need their support to assist with the success of that person. Our first system wide training session was the end of February. So while behavior interviewing and team interviews have been in place at Lakeland since 2006, I am confident that by providing additional education, these interviews will be more productive with higher success rates.

For more information on Lakeland Healthcare, please Click Here.

Developing A Proactive Recruitment Strategy for ICD-10 Coders!

March 11th, 2015

Don’t wait until it is too late!

Every healthcare organization will be faced with hiring trained, competent staff in order to comply with Federal regulatory mandates and the new set of ICD-10 reimbursement codes this October 2015.

Failure to have the right staff in place puts a huge financial risk on your organization due to the potential lost revenue and Federal fines (that could be levied) for not complying with these new regulation/codes.

On a positive note, developing a proactive recruitment strategy for these key positions is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your recruitment team’s ROI to your organization!

With that said, don’t wait until you receive “the job requisition” to start planning and working on this hiring initiative. The demand for professionals with these skills already exceeds supply in the marketplace. Failure to develop a holistic strategy to this hiring ‘challenge’ will put your organization at risk.

Here are some tips on creating a proactive strategy to prepare for the ICD-10 hiring initiative:


  • Partner with health information technology leaders to understand in detail how the new set of coding requirements will impact your organization.
  • Using turnover and predictive hiring analytics, identify the number of coding professionals you will need to manage demand.
  • Temporary staff may be needed to fill in gaps.
  • Conduct a thorough intake session with leaders to understand the competencies, skills, and experience required for this initiative.
  • Perform a gap analysis of existing ICD-9 Coders within your organization to understand if additional training or education will be required to bring them up to the new skill set.
  • Develop a search strategy (we call it a Mindstorm) with hiring leaders to identify talented ICD -10 Coding Professionals.
  • Implement a Proactive Employee Referral Program to leverage your employee base in referring top candidates.
    • A unique award system for this critical position will provide exponential payoffs!

The bottom line is this. DON’T WAIT FOR THESE REQUSITIONS TO COME IN! It will be too late!

Use this hiring “challenge” as an opportunity to show how you can be proactive, strategic and positively impact a huge initiative for your health system.

For more information on proactive sourcing solutions, please feel free to Reach Out.

Deb Vargovick

Sourcing Power Hour #2

March 4th, 2015

Engaging Top Talent in a Professional Discussion

A couple weeks back, we discussed the value of the Friday Morning Sourcing Power Hour .

This is a wonderful time to engage top talent and set a time to have a Professional Discussion!

Over the last month, I have had the opportunity to facilitate the candidate sourcing modules within our RACR program  numerous times.

As always, we have had great dialog amongst students discussing the best time to source and connect with top talent.  Some great times for sourcing that were recently discussed included:

These are great time to reach out via email (or in-mail) to those you find out there (Career Builder, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, etc).

These are times during the night that folks are online and easy to connect with.  Now I wouldn’t reach out via phone during these times but . . . a nicely crafted, personal email can secure a professional discussion with a passive candidate curious about other opportunities.  Especially on Sundays when folks are reflecting on the long work week ahead of them.

While I don’t enjoy working on my personal time – - utilizing these ‘power hours’ to connect with top talent can save you hours of time sourcing during the work day!

David Szary

The Hidden Effects of High Turnover

February 25th, 2015

How to Combat the High Cost of Turnover

As the labor market tightens, it is more critical than ever to create a culture focused on retaining the top performing employees, especially for those working in hard to fill position. Some organizations are revisiting old “hostage practices” of requiring employees to pay back a portion of their salary for training costs and sign on bonuses if they leave shortly after their training regimen. Is that really best practice? Does that truly solve the problem?

Shouldn’t we work on solutions that help keep our most important employees employed in the first place? Haven’t we grown as a society to where we know people are motivated with positive rewards instead of fear of retribution? As organizations focus on cost reductions to achieve profitability, HR is tasked with decreasing turnover. In the fundamental spirit of Lean, You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure, how are you calculating organizational turnover costs? Lean Human Capital’s Turnover Calculator  is the first step in the process.

Understanding why top employees are leaving is the second step to developing solutions for retention.  A solid exit interview process will provide the top reasons for their departure, and you may be surprised to discover that pay is not #1. For many, the # 1 reason for leaving is because of a lack of opportunity for career advancement. Many organizations have career opportunities available, they just don’t do a good job of marketing to their employees.

The costs associated with sourcing and hiring an employee is higher than most executives think. We work with clients regularly to identify the cost of turnover for each employee in key job families, and they are astounded at the $$ that is identified.

Below, I’ve identified some best practices that will improve employee retention:

  • Design a clear succession plan for leadership and key positions.
  • Market and advertise employee development opportunities frequently using high visibility methods:
    • Cross training assignments are a terrific venue for employees to check out another department or position.
  • Develop an internal leadership development course/curriculum for those identified as high potentials.
  • Give internal employees the “white glove treatment” when they apply for positions outside of their department:
    • Offer an interview for every qualified and eligible applicant.
    • Provide immediate feedback post interview with the hiring manager for those not selected.
  • Reward and recognize those employees who perform well.
  • Engage folks in projects and other opportunities outside of their immediate job description.
  • Provide additional learning and educational opportunities.
  • Ask for their feedback on how to keep them highly engaged, a lot!

Have a Perfect Week! – Deb

Friday Morning Sourcing Power Hour!

February 18th, 2015

Engaging Top Talent in a Professional Discussion

Arguably, there is nothing more impactful you can do then sourcing for your critical to fill positions.

Think about it. Your ability to fill these positions quickly with top talent impacts:

  • Revenue
  • Cost Savings
  • Employee Morale/Turnover
  • Organizational Performance
  • Patient Safety/Satisfaction (if you are in healthcare)

With that said, when you are carrying 20, 30, 75+ requisitions, it is not an easy task to plan it into your day!

In our Recruiter Academy Education Program, we discuss the significance of:

  • Planning time for sourcing
  • Reaching out to top talent at the right ‘time’

A tried and proven Best Practice we recommend is Friday Morning Sourcing Power Hours!

As simple as it sounds, if you don’t plan time for sourcing, it probably will not happen. And even if you plan time for sourcing, if you have not identified the tasks (and or prepared your call list) you plan to achieve, you will probably see minimal results.

Why Friday Morning Sourcing Power Hours work so well:

  • Catching someone in the morning before their day starts is a best practice. They might not be able to engage in a long conversation but if your message is compelling, they will set a time to talk.
  • Fridays are great times to reach out to candidates as they wind down the week. And if they had a frustrating week, even better chance they will pick up phone or return your message.

Power Hour – Keys to Success:

  • Be prepared. Prior to the session plan the tasks (and or call list) you want to complete.  THIS IS KEY.
  • Source with a friend.  Planning and performing a Power Hour with a friend helps with accountability, etc. A friendly competition makes session that much more fun!
  • Think Positive thoughts.  The tonality of your messages (either verbal or written) have a big impact on your success.  Transfer the knowledge you have about the opportunity with feeling and excitement.
  • Do it regularly.  I would schedule out a Friday Sourcing Power Hour for the entire year.  While this one-hour will not fill all your positions, it will help!

David Szary

Recruiters – Do You Send Anniversary Cards To Your New Hires?

February 11th, 2015

This is a best practice that I learned in class!

The best thing I love about facilitating our Recruiter Academy Education Program  are all the little things I learn from the students in class.

In a recent Module 10 session, we were discussing candidate closing best practices. We discussed staying connected with candidates during their ‘two-week’ notice, after 30, after 60, and again after 90 days of employment.

Some obvious benefits of reaching out at these times include:

  • Ensures they actually started.
  • Takes a pulse on how well onboarding is going.
  • Takes a pulse on how well the first few weeks on the job are going.
  • It’s an opportunity to referral source.

During this discussion, one of the students mentioned that she sends out a handwritten card to everyone that she hires at their one-year anniversary.

What a cool idea?

Logistically – this really isn’t difficult.

  • She has an HRIS that provides a list of hires that reach 1 year of employment monthly.
  • She has their address (she gets from payroll).
  • She has some company stationary to send a nice note.  In the note she includes all contact information so they can reach out to her if they want to (she actually gets a high response rate).

Even if you are a high volume recruiter, this really isn’t that hard.  10-20 a month?  You can write those out in 1 hour.

And the benefits – - I would argue they’re priceless! I thought this was a great idea to share.

Have a great week!

David Szary

Recruiters – Referral Sourcing Is An Art

February 4th, 2015


Not a ‘check the box’ Activity

Anyone who has attended our Recruiter Academy Education Program  knows my thoughts on Referral sourcing.

If you want better results, you need to seek out top performers and ask better questions!

While generating more quality referrals is not difficult, there is an ART to it.

Some advice to increase referrals:

  • This is a topic I have a lot of passion for and have written about it for years. I would encourage you to check out some blogs on this subject.
  • Seek referrals from Rock Stars.  Ask your hiring managers who the Rock Stars are in the department.  Odds are they know other Rock Stars.  When you engage the Rock Star, let them know their manager recommended they contact them – - the Rock Star J!
  • NEVER ask the questions “Do you know anyone who is looking” or “Do you know anyone who would be interested in this job”? Both are closed ended questions that typically lead to the reflect-response of “Nope”.
  • Do ask good investigative questions like:
    • Who do you work with that does _____ that would be good to network with? Someone well connected that probably knows a ton of people that would be interested.
    • Who do you know that is currently _______ and is not happy with their current situation?
    • Do you use LinkedIn? Can I review your network to see if there are any folks that might be good for me to network with? If so, can you connect me?

Good luck!

David Szary

Turning Your Hiring Manager Into Raving Fans

January 28th, 2015

What we have learned from our Voice of the Customer Assessments


Last year, with the help of Dr. Jeffery Sanchez-Burks from the University of Michigan,  we built a suite of three validated Voice of the Customer (VOC) Assessments  for recruitment organizations:

  • HMART – Hiring Manager Assessment of Recruitment Team HMART
  • New Hire Candidate Experience Assessment
  • Non-Hired Candidate Experience Assessment

We have had tremendous success using these assessments to:

  • Understand what core customers want from the recruitment organization.
  • Improve customer satisfaction and turn them into Raving Fans!

While there are many factors that drive satisfaction, we have found there are three fundamental keys to success:

  1. Credibility – do your customers like you? Trust you? Respect you for your knowledge?  If this is present with your customer base . . . it is the foundation to customer satisfaction.
  2. Empathy – Do your customers know you truly care about them and their needs?  Do hiring managers understand you lose sleep over finding the right candidates? Do applicants know how much it pains you that you can’t reach back out to all of them with feedback?  Empathy for their situation/needs/wants is very important.
  3. Socialize – If you perform voice of the customer assessments, it is important that you thank your customers for participating, share what you have learned and what you are doing to improve.  Being open and transparent is very important with respect to improving customer satisfaction.

If you are not surveying your core key customers, I would encourage you to do so!  You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

If you are interested in our Validated VOC assessments and industry benchmarks – let us know


David Szary

Recruiters – What Makes Your Organization Special?

January 21st, 2015

And the Top 10 reasons to work for Avera Health System are…


We’d like to Thank Tammy Anderson, Director of Talent Acquisition at Avera Health, for providing us this Guest Blog.  You can reach Tammy through LinkedIn by Clicking Here.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have your hospital be on David Letterman’s Top 10 list?  Well, we at Avera Health haven’t quite made David Letterman’s Top 10 list, but we do have a list of our own that we think showcases why people would want to work with us!

How did we get to the list?  A few months ago we began a Lean Transformation Journey with David Szary from Lean Human Capital which included a review of our career website.  As we took a deep dive to evaluate what we had on our site we realized that it looked pretty generic, at times too wordy and maybe wasn’t as eye catching as it could be.  Was the top talent that we wanted to capture even reading our postings, or were they moving on to the next website? What could make them stay and apply?  Our healthcare system reaches across an expansive, rural geographic area that can be a recruitment struggle, so how do we sell Avera to passive and active candidates?

With Lean Human Capital’s help, we started to create new, visually appealing job postings that instantly presented a compelling value proposition.  As we were doing so, we recognized that in each of our postings we wanted to say what makes working for Avera so special and why you should choose Avera.  Our goal was to showcase the following things that set us apart from our competitors:

  • Employee engagement.
  • Nationally recognized awards such as Avera hospitals being named as Truven Health Care’s 100 Top Hospitals, Magnet Recognition Program, Premier Inc.’s QUEST program and more.
  • State-of-the-art technology such as Avera eCARE services, robotic surgical systems, the Avera Behavioral Health Center and more.
  •  Avera is financially sound and has earned an A1 bond rating by Moody’s and an AA- from Standard and Poor’s.
  • Our mission – 97% of our employees understand how their jobs support our mission.

In starting to list all the reasons to join Avera, it was taking us back to square one where our job postings became too long.  Job seekers are only spending 6 seconds on average reading a job posting, so you have to get to your compelling message very quickly.

Brainstorming with our Marketing department, we came up with the idea of hosting a “What Makes Avera Special?” link on our home career website.  As we were creating our top list, many of us learned more amazing qualities about Avera that we really hadn’t thought about.  This gave the Talent Acquisition team an even deeper sense of pride in working for Avera, and bred excitement to share this feeling with our candidates. Every candidate now has the opportunity to click on the link and learn more about our culture and who we are as a healthcare system.

We didn’t stop there. As we continued to look for ways to share this, we include it in our email tagline so that everyone we communicate with becomes inspired to want to work with us!

I invite you to click on our hyperlink as it is our goal for our message to become viral as we believe being employed by Avera Health should be contagious!


Tammy Anderson

Director of Talent Acquisition

Avera Heatlh