Transforming HR: An Interview with Randy Dorsten, HCA's AVP of HR Strategy

We were lucky enough to sit down with Randy Dorsten, the AVP of HR strategy for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). As the person responsible for their overall people strategy, he oversaw a massive HR transformation at HCA that took nearly 6 years to complete!

What Prompted this Transformation?

According to Dorsten, HCA's CEO and COO were interested in better leveraging their people assets and they wanted to put their human resources department in a better position to do just that. Thus, Dorsten and his team embarked on a challenging journey that eventually allowed them to be much more flexible in how they manage their human capital.

How Did They Manage the Transformation Process?

In order to ensure that this process was successful, Dorsten and his team rolled out these new approaches in multiple implementations. They relied heavily on their change management plan throughout this entire process. This allowed them to effectively roll out this change to the rest of the HR department, their employees and their operators.

On the operations side, they held an operations counsel that met on a quarterly basis to continually gather valuable feedback from the indivisuals who were managing HCA's hospitals out in the field.

How Has this HR Transformation Benefitted HCA?

According to Dorsten, the biggest benefit came in the form of increased flexibility. Now they can better manage and react to the challenges facing their business. This has also led to a better understanding of how HR can support the needs of HCA.

Instead of 180 different HR organizations with various policies and processes, now they are 1 organization with a unified set of policies. This change allows HR increased ability to adapt to changing business needs.

What Was the ROI for this Investment?

When developing his business case, Dorsten and his team had ROI built in and predicted it would take 3 to 5 years to earn that payback for this investment. Fortunately, HCA did not predict any need to downsize their HR staff during this initial launch and turnaround period.

So far, operators are already seeing the value to be gained through this increased flexibility and having the ability to accompish goals that were previously unfeasible for their divided HR organizations.

What's Your Next Initiative at HCA?

Following the completion of this nearly 6 year HR transformation, Dorsten and his team are already focusing on ways to improve upon what they have built. Process improvement and big projects (such as changing their HRMS) are in his crosshairs for the remainder of 2017.