Service excellence also matters : Mr.Jacob, Chief People Officer , Apollo Hospitals

The students of IIM Kozhikode got a unique opportunity to interact with Mr. Jacob Jacob, Chief People Officer ,Apollo Hospitals. Mr. Jacob has over 18 years of experience in HR Consulting, International HR, start up HR and large scale change management HR. At Apollo Hospitals, Mr. Jacob is driving hard to create a mechanism for robust service delivery in healthcare through innovative HR initiatives. Mr.Jacob enlightened the students about how HR adds value within the healthcare industry.

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Mr. Jacob started his talk by giving a basic snapshot of the healthcare industry and how the landscape is changing today. With integrated healthcare and specialty clinics coming into picture, he said that it is not only the clinical excellence that matters in the healthcare industry today but the service excellence also matters. He added that the key drivers in this industry are the doctors and the nurses. Hospitals also compete on infrastructure and equipments and they should have the right mix of doctors and nurses. He said that in the healthcare industry any procedure is not a one-man job rather it needs a team of multi-talented professionals like doctor, nurses, paramedical, admin staff and support staff. Talking about the Apollo Hospitals in particular, he said that Apollo had the first mover advantage and with their clinical research, clinical excellence and their centres of excellence, they have been able to touch 37 million lives.

His next part of the talk was about how HR fits in the healthcare industry and adds value to it. He said that it is important to ensure if they have the required work force to meet people’s needs and demands. The attrition rate of the nurse and doctors is also quite high. Therefore, there is a paradigm shift in the role of HR. They are now the strategic partners. Top HR priorities that add value to business are talent spotting, adaptability, securing the leadership pipeline, smart retention and stretch development.   They are responsible for ensuring proper performance measure for the work force, succession planning and talent management. He added that there are 19 nursing schools and Apollo provides 6 months to 1 year training to nurses. However, it is still not sufficient to meet the demand. Digital sustenance to reshape the role of HR, customized matrix for each hospital, customized talent management solution, real time information of talent, using technology for decision making in HR is also important in the industry today. Therefore the role of HR is to plan for training and orientation to technology for doctors and nurses overboard. Employee engagement is also a concern in this industry today. Welfare activities, rewards and recognition and nursing strategy also needs to be taken care. He said that a certain amount of disconnect is also seen between the clinicians and the management side and that Apollo has taken care of this concern and there are several doctors/medical practitioners who are now the CEO’s.

He further said that HR in his leadership role needs to act as an innovator and integrator, strategic partner, technology proponent, change component, capability builder and credibility activist. The way of consuming healthcare is changing dramatically. This industry requires passion and therefore if the employees are engaged, there will be clinical excellence, financial excellence, hospital excellence and patient care excellence. The session concluded with Q&A. Overall the session was an enriching experience and provided valuable insights about the healthcare industry.

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