When Human Resources Put the Relationship Above the Transaction at SSM Health


Sometimes shifting just one cultural belief can transform a whole organization.

In the case of SSM Health, which operates a network of 11,000 hospitals and care facilities in Missouri and the Midwest, human resources leadership realized that one cultural belief was holding them back: 

We think like a traditional support function with a transactional focus, when we need to start thinking like a collaborative partner with a shared strategic mindset.

The culture challenge: create and prioritize relationships across the HR network rather than transaction-focused experiences. Shift the existing belief to drive and collaborate with HR partners on reaching financial results, together.


With this realization and pivot away from one stultifying belief, SSM HR drove culture change quickly by:

  • Empowering their HR professionals to become HR consultants with the freedom to build results-centered relationships of collaboration within the hospital network
  • Outsourcing employee recruitment and creating specialities in benefits and compensation administration so that SSM HR partners could offer these services, as well.


By empowering their people to also function as consultants, SSM HR created relationship builders.

Relationships are more important than transactional experiences: this new cultural belief transformed SSM HR.

SSM Health became the first health care organization in history to receive the Baldridge National Quality Award from the President of the United States.

Read more about how to build intentional, relationship-centered cultures in healthcare: download our eBook.

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