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New York- Presbyterian Hospital Chief People Officer Shaun Smith Visits Dr. Edna Chun's Class

Shaun Smith, J.D., Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer at New York- Presbyterian Hospital (NPH), visited Dr. Edna Chun’s Introduction to Human Capital Management class for a highly engaging guest lecture about organizational design. Smith described the evolution of the NYP hospital system from five hospitals with 19,000 employees when he first joined in 2010 to the current system of ten hospitals with 40,000 employees. Since that time, he has assumed responsibility for Human Resources strategic direction and oversight for the system’s Regional Network Hospitals.

At the heart of the discussion was Smith’s description of the development of RESPECT Credo, a common framework that serves as the foundation of the culture connecting the organization and defining its goals. As he explained, the Credo is a living document and is a springboard for conversations, future role designs and “everything that we had to accomplish.” The Credo represents a core commitment, emphasizing that every person and every role counts. He shared several first principles for HR, including putting people “first and foremost” and ensuring that HR is part of shaping the pathway in the realization of organizational mission through processes and programs.

In response a question about what keeps him up at night, Smith described the profound impact of the COVID-19 crisis in New York City, the need to support patient care teams and keep caregivers safe, and the multi-pronged efforts undertaken to address the stress and unanticipated needs of employees, patients, and families. He discussed HR’s role in rethinking existing program design and expanding services, such as benefits offerings, in order to be responsive to the healthcare needs of employees. And looking to the future, he noted the importance of beginning to plan for what recovery should look like.

When asked about NYP’s diversity strategy, Smith stated that while there are no quick fixes, it is essential to comprehensively connect DEI strategy with all undertakings, to expand the dialogue, and to ensure the representation of diverse individuals at the table. Throughout his talk, he emphasized the importance of listening to employees, having conversations, and creating a shared ecosystem with dialogue and input. As one student told Smith, the lecture was “so valuable. I feel like you touched on every single item…that we've learned throughout the semester.”

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of any other person or entity.