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Lean talent acquisition: one team’s journey of improvement

Eric Van Duren (Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States)
Jim D'Amico (Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States)
Kurt Knoth (Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 12 October 2015




This paper aims to describe how lean performance improvement principles helped transform an integrated healthcare system’s talent acquisition team to best in class.


Spectrum Health’s talent acquisition team is needed to change its functional processes to better achieve its recruitment goals. In 2013, the system’s talent acquisition and process improvement teams partnered to conduct a value stream analysis, followed by five rapid improvement events and project work. Structural and institutional changes were defined and implemented. Significant cultural change toward a philosophy of continuous improvement was accomplished through the use of managing for daily improvement huddles and other efforts. The focus throughout was on lean thinking, change management and achieving meaningful results.


After the lean process implementation, time to fill for open positions was reduced by 10 per cent. The offer acceptance rate increased from 96 to 99.6 per cent, with fewer than 25 turndowns annually. Customer and candidate satisfaction has been maintained at above 90 per cent and operating in a culture of continuous improvement has spawned several additional benefits.


Lean principles applied within human resources functions can drive significant business results.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Beyond Words, Inc., in the editing and preparation of this manuscript. The authors maintained control over the direction and content during its development. Although Beyond Words, Inc., supplied professional writing and editing services, this does not indicate its endorsement of, agreement with, or responsibility for the content of the article.


Van Duren, E., D'Amico, J. and Knoth, K. (2015), "Lean talent acquisition: one team’s journey of improvement", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 188-193.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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