Louise Bijesse’s story began when she was a child helping out in her family’s catering business. Both her parents were hard workers and instilled in Bijesse similar work ethics. With a passion for cooking, Bijesse started her college career studying culinary arts. Landing a position in sales at a regional food service company cemented the foundation for her hospitality career, and later, she got her first taste of operational hiring while running a NY-based culinary staffing company.
Bijesse’s record of transformational business strategy and execution, as well as process excellence and improvement, moved her to Compass Group North America, a global Fortune 100 company. Over her thirteen-year tenure, she helped grow Compass from a $7 billion to an $18 billion enterprise.
In 2018, Bijesse brought more than twenty years of experience in talent acquisition, staffing, and business operations expertise to BrightSpring Health Services, where she took on the role of vice president of talent acquisition. BrightSpring is a leading provider of complementary pharmacy, home, and community-based health services for complex populations in need of specialized and/or chronic care. Her years in hospitality provided a guiding mantra for her current work: “serve others and be humble.”
Most of Bijesse’s knowledge of talent acquisition strategy transferred seamlessly from the hospitality to the health and human services sector—though she does acknowledge that there continues to be the opportunity to custom-fit her methodology into the healthcare industry, factoring in regulations and retention.
Through BrightSpring’s multiple lines of business, its focus is on serving complex populations with a need for specialized care, which has equipped the company to think beyond the walls of traditional healthcare models. At BrightSpring, the culture of leaving a legacy is practiced every day by the leadership team and employees, helping those supported live their best lives.
Bijesse was drawn to BrightSpring because of this mission. “We are an organization that focuses on continuous improvement and growth. We make a difference by investing in people, processes, and technologies.” She believes BrightSpring is positioned to become the preferred provider platform for client and patient management to improve the well-being of the patients and communities served across all stages of life. With a deep commitment to technology innovation and best-in-class services, BrightSpring helps drive healthcare forward.
Bijesse’s overarching role directs the design, execution, and evaluation of hiring models for all positions in the company, from frontline caregivers to the executive team, with an annual hiring rate of over 37,000 employees. Well aware that BrightSpring competes for the best in a competitive job market, she looks for ideal team players who are “humble, hungry, and smart,” as described in one of her favorite books, The Ideal Team Player by Patrick M. Lencioni.
Early in her tenure at BrightSpring, Bijesse started process improvements. To arrive at the best outcomes, she says, “I ask my team to imagine that we have a blank sheet of paper, and I ask them how they would like to create the solution without consideration of time or money. Where would we start?”
Under Bijesse’s leadership, BrightSpring has made phenomenal strides with talent sourcing, new initiatives, and dashboard metrics. The team’s mission is to effectively recruit, select, and hire the best people to support the organization’s goals, mission, and vision.
“I challenge the status quo and am always looking to improve while building sustainable change.”
Luckily, they also have partners like First Advantage on their side. First Advantage understands that employees are the biggest asset of healthcare providers and helps companies like BrightSpring provide quality healthcare by hiring qualified talent.
Hiring can be a challenge within the healthcare industry given the complex regulations regarding hiring and retention. Through healthcare industry expertise, quality data, advanced technology, and knowledgeable guidance around compliance, First Advantage offers specialized background screening to healthcare providers, helping them more easily address regulatory requirements and quickly focus their hiring resources on qualified individuals.
With the ever-increasing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Bijesse’s recruiting team provides continual business support in attracting, selecting, and onboarding top talent via strategic partnerships with operations. Now in the third phase of organizational design, Bijesse explains that these very intentional and calculated changes, which use data and performance metrics, help BrightSpring further improve their talent acquisition model.
Her team’s growth model focuses on strategic objectives that support people, process, and efficiency and asks questions about the employee value proposition. “We are gatekeepers in talent acquisition,” the VP says. Beyond establishing metrics and targets, Bijesse also enhances candidate care and experience, helping to explain the benefits of working for BrightSpring.
“This is the year of the candidate experience at BrightSpring,” Bijesse says. She’s relying in part on her hospitality background and skills to roll out the red carpet for candidates and new hires. Increased engagement with candidates will also reduce candidate fall-off and improve the quality of hires. “I challenge the status quo and am always looking to improve while building sustainable change,” Bijesse says.
Bijesse is a firm believer in using technology to help facilitate this change, evident in the roll-out of a new applicant tracking system this year. The technology solution uses a candidate relationship model, chatbot, text recruit, and AI technology to create a high-touch candidate experience.
Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are also important to Bijesse and BrightSpring. October 2019 saw an affinity group for veterans launched by a webcast with thousands of BrightSpring employees across the county in attendance. The goal was inclusion, support, and recognition of former and current members of the military. As part of this initiative, BrightSpring has committed to hire over 2,500 veterans by 2025.
In her less than two years at BrightSpring, Bijesse has already mentored staff to grow with the company. “I want to give my team the tools and individual guidance to succeed,” she says. Recently, Bijesse took over additional responsibilities as the vice president of human resources and talent acquisition. In her role, she serves as the strategic business partner to the functional corporate leaders with a focus on designing, developing, and implementing effective people strategies to support the business needs. She recognizes that to achieve growth, people need different things, and she’s committed to providing customized guidance to her team members to maximize their success.