Gregory Pardo likes a challenge. “Anyone can thrive in an easy position,” he says. “I want to be where I’m most needed and where I can add the most value.” That’s the philosophy that led him to join Fresenius Medical Care North America after developing his talent acquisition and HR leadership skills in consulting and hospitality at companies like Impellam Group and Marriott International.
Fresenius Medical Care is a German company that provides dialysis treatment and other renal services to about 350,000 patients through a large network of outpatient care centers. Its North American division, based just outside of Boston, generates about 70 percent of the company’s total global revenue, and the US products business has a 40 percent market share in the renal care space.
The fast-growing, vertically integrated global company has $17 billion in revenue and 125,000 employees. Pardo has spent the last five years building a talent acquisition center of excellence capable of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding 24,000 new employees per year.
Talent and employment matters are in Pardo’s DNA. His dad was an HR executive at NYU Medical Center, his mom was in benefits administration, and his uncle was a labor lawyer. While at Marriott, Pardo created a general manager and executive operations search practice and improved global recruiting processes. And while strong leadership and a strong workforce are important in hospitality, they are especially critical in his new industry. “Everything a patient experiences starts with a human interaction. If you don’t have a great staff that’s aligned to your healthcare organization’s mission, you have nothing,” Pardo says.
When Pardo came to Fresenius Medical Care in 2016, he joined a company with a great HR foundation that prioritized speed. He’s worked with leaders and department heads to emphasize quality, cultural fit, and retention instead. “We were formerly managing only with intuition and emotion, but now we’ve layered on data and analytics to help us drive results and find employees who will call Fresenius home,” he explains. Online surveys, assessments, and predictive analytics built into the interviewing cycle empower recruiters to make targeted and quality hires.
These efforts have led to measurable results. In Pardo’s first four years, his team dramatically reduced time-to-offer and improved candidate satisfaction by 15 percent. Additionally, they saw 90-day turnover drop from 23 percent to 12 percent over the same span.
Pardo also set out to raise the company’s profile. “We’re one of the biggest companies in the world, but only a few people recognize the Fresenius brand,” he says. “I wanted to change that for our employees and candidates.” His team worked with their colleagues in the marketing and communications department to launch a research-based marketing campaign designed to reposition Fresenius as a destination employer and provider.
Before embarking on the journey, Pardo had to get key leaders on board. “It can be hard to win hearts and minds in healthcare because there are great leaders in this industry who have done things one standard way for a very long time,” he says. “But if we don’t change, we’ll be left behind.” Pardo overcame the existing inertia by casting a clear vision for how a more standardized, uniform, rigorous, and disciplined way of recruiting could transform the organization and contribute to the bottom line. He persevered and won approval to proceed.
They kicked off the process with a series of external focus groups with patients and prospective clients to learn how those important groups viewed Fresenius. Next, they had similar meetings and brainstorming sessions with internal stakeholders before distilling findings into plans for a brand-new career site and social media redesign.
It was a far-reaching effort; Pardo says HR completed 1,300 employee surveys and interviewed more than 13 executives in a process that lasted nearly an entire year. Candidates now understand that they’re not job seekers, but “purpose seekers” and achievers who partner with Fresenius in providing great care. The campaign won HRO Today’s NA Healthcare Employment Brand of the Year award.
Although Pardo has enjoyed some early wins, he knows he’s still facing significant challenges. Costs are going up, the population is aging, and providers are facing COVID fatigue and burnout. “There’s an increased demand and increased costs but less labor to get the work done,” he says.
At the same time, Fresenius is committed to delivering the best care at the best cost with the best staff. That mission helps Pardo navigate a demanding era in a volatile industry. “I think about our patients a lot,” he says. “And that keeps me anchored and helps me prioritize my time, my teams, and my budgets. We are here to serve the patient.”
In just five years, the organization has seen vast improvements. Fresenius has a new employer value proposition, a new hiring portal, and new energy. HR is leveraging data to attract committed employees while reducing turnover and improving satisfaction. With these changes in place, Pardo and his team of 215 associates have made Fresenius into an employer of choice in healthcare.
Congratulations to Greg Pardo for his outstanding HR leadership at Fresenius Medical Care NA. First Advantage is proud to enable Fresenius to hire smarter and onboard faster with our robust healthcare talent screening solutions. Learn more at fadv.com/healthcare.