New Manager

Steering India’s healthcare sector

Jacob Jacob | Updated on March 10, 2018


The 24x7 nature of the job in healthcare needs leaders who are selfless and are driven by missionary zeal

Most discussions about the health care sector these days are centred around its problems: spiralling costs, lack of access and disparate quality. Therefore, the new Government’s 10- point agenda which included healthcare and education reform as one of the top-five issues on it, reflects a positive trend. It was, indeed, an encouraging start to a healthier tomorrow. There is ample conclusive evidence world over to prove that improved health leads to better economic performance and prosperity.

The healthcare industry’s growth rate is twice that of India's and it is adding jobs faster than other sectors. As per statistics, every hospital bed adds direct employment for five people and indirect employment for twenty-five and with the right impetus, healthcare in India could well become the engine for employment.

Healthcare has moved from being a seemingly inconspicuous industry to a significant one. In this fast paced environment, entrepreneurs and senior professionals in the sector are grappling with the challenge of finding sufficient numbers of people with the skills and training required to keep up with this demand.

In addition to this, innovative models like remote health, home health, day care and many such are taking shape and hence, the leadership has to be focused on staying ahead of the curve and being proactive about workforce development.

The 24x7 nature of the job in healthcare needs leaders who are selfless and are driven by a missionary’s zeal.

Wear many hats

The primary imperatives are to enhance geographic and financial access for patients especially for those who are underserved, improve efficiencies in service delivery, and provide clinical quality on par with global standards.

This undoubtedly is a tall order. Purposeful leadership is, therefore, not a mere requirement, it is critical to the success of any organisation in the industry.

A leader in the healthcare industry has to juggle multiple hats to continuously drive improvements. He/She has to be the innovator and integrator, strategic partner, technology proponent, change champion, capability builder and even a credible activist and sometimes all these at the same time! The key role a prudent leader has is to continuously evaluate the current status of the business and projected business opportunity. The foremost priority has to be a critical assessment of what draws employees to a job. It needs to be understood that this differs from what keeps them there, and that differs from what engages them.

It is important to take cognisance of this and design a system of rewards which enable employees to achieve key goals. Aside from this, a dynamic plan to retain great talent is of paramount importance and is another priority area.

The leader has to motivate his human resources teams to identify the expectations and needs of a diverse employee segments and shape employee value propositions and workplace programs to achieve desired behaviours and sustained performance levels.

In health care, the days of business as usual are over, and leaders need to be lifelong learners and need to simultaneously encourage and promote collaboration and real- time exchange of best practices. It is no surprise that most successful healthcare organiations invest in a leadership strategy that builds essential skills and behaviours of individual leaders and encourages them to nurture a robust value system.

The writer is Chief People Officer, Apollo Hospitals

Published on August 12, 2014

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