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Diversity As A Business Builder in Healthcare

 Majority of healthcare professionals say diversity in hospital leadership improves patient satisfaction, according to Witt/Kieffer survey
 
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Oak Brook, IL, January 24, 2012 – Less than 15 percent of healthcare professionals believe that hospitals have closed the diversity gap in leadership within the last five years, according to a new national report by Witt/Kieffer, the nation’s leading executive search firm specializing in healthcare and higher education. The report, Diversity As A Business Builder In Healthcare, also reveals that only 35 percent of professionals agree that healthcare organizations consistently hire minority candidates. Witt/Kieffer partnered with Institute for Diversity in Health Management, Asian Health Care Leaders Association, National Association of Health Services Executives and the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives to survey 470 experienced professionals on how the state of healthcare diversity leadership is evolving.
 
With minorities accounting for 98 percent of the population growth in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas during the last decade, this demographic shift has vast implications for healthcare organizations, especially as they adapt to healthcare reform. A majority of industry leaders surveyed feel that diversity in the workplace improves patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes and supports successful decision-making. While healthcare professionals also report that the pool of diverse candidates for leadership positions has grown over the last five years, minority representation is still weak, with perceived barriers to advancement differing based on the respondent’s race and ethnicity.
 
“It is remarkable that even though a majority of professionals see the value of different cultures in the workplace, there is still not enough happening to close the leadership gap,” said James Gauss, senior vice president and senior advisor to Witt/Kieffer’s CEO. “Healthcare professionals appear to agree on what steps are necessary in order to improve the success of minorities, but there is a falloff when it comes to results. If institutions build and implement an effective diversity strategy, it will benefit their business and their patients, who must come first at healthcare organizations.”
 
Key findings also include:
  • Twenty-four percent of Caucasian professionals believe the diversity gap has been closed, but only 11 percent of minority professionals agree.
     
  • Nearly half of CEOs feel their organization has been effective in closing the diversity gap.
     
  • More than half say the pool of diverse candidates for healthcare leadership positions has grown over the last five years. However, only 38 percent say it has grown in their own organizations.
     
  • Healthcare professionals are more positive about how well minorities are represented within their own organizations compared to the industry as a whole.
     
  • Nearly a quarter surveyed feel that their own management teams had a good representation of cultural diversity, but only 9 percent felt that way about representation across the entire industry.
     
  • However, more than 40 percent of CEOs feel management teams had a good representation of cultural diversity.
     
  • A sharp contrast exists between what Caucasian professionals feel needs to happen in order to achieve diversity in the workplace and what minority professionals see as the barriers to success.
     
  • Caucasian professionals zero in on a lack of diverse candidates, while minority leaders focus on upper management’s lack of commitment to diversity.
     
  • 60 percent of Caucasian leaders see their organizations’ cultural diversity programs as effective, while only 33 percent of minority professionals agree.
     
  • There is a gap between hospitals’ efforts to recruit diverse candidates and how many minorities are actually hired and how well they are trained.
     
  • Fifty-one percent of healthcare professionals agree that organizations take diversity recruiting seriously, but only 38 percent feel that their institutions trained for success in diversity recruiting efforts.
     
  • While the survey shows varying viewpoints across race, generation and career title, it is clear that diversity is seen as a valuable business asset, leading to improved patient satisfaction, improved clinical outcomes and more successful decision-making.
Witt/Kieffer is the nation’s eighth largest executive search firm and the only national firm that specializes in healthcare, higher education and not-for-profit organizations. Founded in 1969, our mission is to identify outstanding leadership solutions for organizations committed to improving the quality of life. Clients include hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools, physician groups, colleges, universities and community service and cultural organizations. The firm conducts 400 search assignments each year for presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, physician executives, medical school deans, clinical chairs and other senior executives. Visit www.wittkieffer.com for more information.
 
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