Propelling Internal Growth in New York

How Joe Moscola manages HR for New York’s largest private employer, hiring thousands while improving employee engagement and patient satisfaction

Joe Moscola, SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer, North Shore-LIJ Health System

Each year, job seekers submit about 650,000 applications to fill about 7,000 openings at North Shore–Long Island Jewish Health System (North Shore–LIJ). That amounts to about 2,500 job applications flowing in every weekday. “It’s an extraordinary machine,” says Joe Moscola, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for the Long Island–based health system. North Shore–LIJ is New York state’s largest private employer, with 54,000 employees—a figure that is expected to grow to nearly 60,000 by the end of 2015.

Moscola works with a staff of about 450 HR professionals to make the hiring process—from application all the way to onboarding—go as smoothly and efficiently as possible for both job seekers and managers. He also places high importance on hiring quality individuals. “Every time we bring someone into the organization, we view it as a chance to influence the culture of the health system,” he says.

Moscola, 37, has been the top HR executive at North Shore–LIJ since August 2014. He started off on the clinical side as a cardiac surgery physician assistant, then got his MBA and worked in several administrative areas, including managing operations of the system’s ambulatory network before being handpicked by Michael Dowling, CEO, to become the chief HR officer.

There are


Employees at North Shore-LIJ.


There is a
employee turnover rate.



applications are received each year.



jobs are filled each year,


of which are filled internally.


There are

450 HR professionals on staff.

On the whole, North Shore–LIJ’s turnover rate of about 9 percent is relatively low for the industry, Moscola says. Furthermore, more than 30 percent of the 7,000 job openings are filled with internal applicants each year. Technology plays a key role in enabling the 50-member talent-acquisition group to manage such a large influx of applications. North Shore–LIJ has an online portal for job applications, and it uses social-media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to drive applicants to the website.

Another initiative involved creating a flex pool to address the constant need for hiring support staff, such as receptionists. Candidates for these positions are initially brought on as temporary or per-diem employees so that they can get to know the health system and management can better evaluate the individual’s talent in order to move them into a position for which they’re best suited. The strategy, Moscola says, shortens the time it takes to fill these types of roles, answers the needs of the organization, and improves satisfaction among candidates and managers.

While many organizations rely on outside search firms to fill executive-level roles, North Shore–LIJ has begun to bring those recruiters inside the organization to rein in costs and better control the interviewing process.

“It’s more and more difficult for health systems to have a positive margin, so this is one way where we can help in that,” Moscola says. “We’re not looking to outsource a function that we can do internally.”

To aid in that endeavor, Moscola works closely with Dowling and Mark Solazzo, chief operating officer, on strategy, since a majority of the health system’s operating expense is people. “Our chief executive officer very much values the role of human resources in all of its facets,” Moscola notes.

Part of that involves the use of annual employee and patient surveys to gauge satisfaction and measure the results against other health systems nationwide. North Shore–LIJ is in the 45th percentile for employee engagement, and it’s in the 48th percentile for patient experience. But while the approach is evidently working for North Shore–LIJ, Moscola always is striving for improvement. Looking ahead, his goals are to bring the organization into the 90th percentile for workforce engagement and patient experience by 2019.

To that end, North Shore–LIJ is working on a tremendous number of initiatives to engage its workforce through communications, leadership development, and training, Moscola says. It recently held a rally with 4,000 North Shore–LIJ leaders at Madison Square Garden, where Dowling spoke about the importance of patient service and the notion of kindness and empathy.

Meanwhile, to address the patient experience, North Shore–LIJ recruited Sven Gierlinger to fill the new role of chief experience officer. He previously worked for the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

“What he brings is a real close connection, particularly with HR, on elevating the patient experience,” Moscola says. “So what he’s done, along with HR, is create some behavioral expectations. We talk about [our] core values: managerial courage, motivating and inspiring others, having strategic agility, and ultimately developing others.” And with Moscola as the gatekeeper to one of the most important organizations in New York, North Shore–LIJ is in good hands.