Leading Healthcare with Healthcare Leaders
Leading Healthcare with Healthcare Leaders


"We wanted to make sure that we chose a search firm that had a large healthcare network and a lot of experience in the healthcare human resources field. These criteria were the primary reasons we chose Gallagher MSA Search."


Intermountain Healthcare is an internationally recognized and fully integrated health system based in Salt Lake City, Utah that serves the healthcare needs of Utah and Southeastern Idaho residents. It employs over 32,000 associates and has a long and renowned history of being a leader in healthcare innovation. To this end, Intermountain Healthcare's leadership decided to create a new position, the Corporate Director of Organizational Effectiveness.

The objective of this role would be to help hardwire disciplined measures with a resultsoriented environment and a culture of accountability, to build on the strengths of the organization, and to refine operating practices to ensure the best possible outcomes. In addition to the firmly established corporate value for clinical excellence, the leadership team wanted to instill performance excellence into the Intermountain Healthcare culture.

The results of employee engagement surveys demonstrated that employees valued their work environment tremendously, but had concerns about benefits, pay, and performance. In addition, many key areas of patient satisfaction showed opportunities for improvement. At the time of evaluation, the Utah labor market was very tight and it was difficult to attract and retain many market sensitive positions, including frontline service staff. First-year turnover rates exceeded 30 percent in many job classifications.

In defining the attributes of the ideal candidate for the Corporate Director of Organizational Effectiveness position, leadership knew that it must transform what had historically been a learning and development role into a leadership role that could recommend and introduce strategic initiatives for improving Intermountain Healthcare's overall effectiveness (work environment, surveys, customer service, diversity, performance management, leadership development and talent management, and organizational design). Assuring the linkage between organizational strategies and Intermountain Healthcare's commitment to extraordinary patient care was critical.

Dan Zuhlke, Vice President of Human Resources at Intermountain Healthcare, realized his organization didn't have the internal capacity to do the search and turned to Gallagher MSA Search, a division of Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., to support the process. "We wanted to make sure that we chose a search firm that had a large healthcare network and a lot of experience in the healthcare human resources field. These criteria were the primary reasons we chose Gallagher MSA Search; I was familiar and confident with the strength of Gallagher MSA Search's network, its background as a healthcareexclusive firm, and its experience in human resources," said Mr. Zuhlke. "By engaging Roger Samuel, Gallagher MSA Search's Managing Director & Practice Leader, we were able to have a search professional representing us who could identify a strong slate of candidates that really matched what we were looking for. In fact, before the search even started, Roger really helped us set a clear definition of the role and what we were looking for in candidates before we would review a slate."

After a thorough evaluation of several exceptional candidates with extensive organizational development experience within and outside of healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare selected Christine Homer as the successful candidate. Ms. Homer brought to her candidacy a strong track record of success in organizational development roles, and at the time was serving as Senior Director of Organizational Development for Time Warner Cable in Charlotte, NC. "I had initial concerns about the opportunity because I didn't have a background in healthcare. I decided to contact the search consultant directly and see if he would answer my questions. He was immediately responsive and we talked through my concerns. He clearly saw that my background fit the position even though I had no healthcare experience. Our conversations helped me understand more about Intermountain Healthcare and the open position, which encouraged me to apply. From that point forward, all steps in the process went quite well," said Ms. Homer.

Regarding selecting a candidate with no healthcare background, Zuhlke said, "Going with a non-healthcare candidate was something that I was concerned about early on but later realized that it was the right decision. There is always the learning curve when hiring a nonhealthcare candidate, especially since the role would be so visible. But Christine was so well prepared; she really fit my vision for the role, despite the fact that she hadn't come from healthcare. It has just gotten better since."

Related to the process, Ms. Homer added, "The turnaround time on communication was great. I always felt kept in the loop; Roger was very clear with me as to what the steps were and what the likely timeline would be. There were no surprises; I always knew exactly where I stood. It was more than a job, it was a very thorough and professional experience. It really kept me engaged and excited about the role. It was a different experience than I was used to."

Since the placement, the Corporate Director of Organizational Effectiveness role has been redesigned to include both organizational effectiveness and talent management, and Ms. Homer is now an Assistant Vice President in the human resources division. According to Zuhlke, "Christine helped prove to me that you don't necessarily have to have experience in healthcare for all positions within a healthcare organization. I learned that what is most important are certain leadership characteristics and an ability to adapt, engage others, and be eager to learn about an organization and a new industry."

Intermountain Healthcare recently earned recognition for being a great place to work. "We're being recognized for having employees who are committed, engaged, and focused on delivering high-quality care to our patients," said Zuhlke. "The award confirms what we know about the people who work for Intermountain Healthcare. We have a strong commitment to employee engagement, and that benefits the communities we serve."

Gallagher MSA Search, a division of Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., has a rich history spanning more than 40 years of helping organizations fill mission-critical executive roles with the right talent. With a thorough understanding of healthcare organizations and a customized approach to sourcing and selecting healthcare executive candidates, Gallagher MSA Search combines comprehensive interview and assessment process with unique insights gained from years of search consulting success and hospital administration experience.

Because there is so much at stake when selecting mission-critical executives, we conduct the most thorough interview and assessment process to select your executive candidates—an exclusive, in-depth system to reduce the margin for error and ensure there will be no surprises—and combine it with unique insights that can only be gained from years of search consulting success and hospital administration experience. Our database of our clients with access to an extremely valuable resource unavailable anywhere else.

The result: our clients have found the right CEO in our first slate presentation, 100% of the time.

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