The American Cancer Society: Strategic HR Management


The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a charitable organization dedicated to eradicating cancer in society. It provides grants for cancer research, runs educational programs, and organizes programs for cancer patients. The goal of the organization is to save lives through early detection, distribution of information and emphasizing on the significance of timely treatment. They also educate medical experts on new cancer treatment advances. The strategies implemented to distribute information include, pamphlets, educational programs in communities, learning institutions and the mass media. Furthermore, the organization operates a toll free line that facilitates timely feedback to disturbed members of the public (Kirkland, 2007).

The organization brings together different health professionals such as “dentists, opticians, nurses and psychologists” who contribute to the understanding of nature and ways to alleviate the consequences of cancer (Kirkland, 2007). The organization offers various rehabilitation programs aimed at educating the families of cancer patients and offering support to the patients themselves. ACS is ranked as one of the top ten most popular charitable organizations because it operates to fight one of the most serious diseases of modern society, cancer. The HR manager in ACS coordinates the timely delivery of services within the expectations of employees, consumers and the sponsors of the society. They work closely with the other departments in order to ensure successful attainment of the desired goals. This requires close interaction with the individuals charged with different responsibilities in the organization (Kirkland, 2007).

Unique challenges of managing the HR functions in ACS

The increased diversity in the health care management coupled with introduction of new technology and such issues as globalization require precise accountability in the delivery of health services. HR managers play a coordinative role because they deal with distribution of information and internal development agenda in the organization. HR personnel in ACS face new developments that challenge them to keep up with the upcoming technology in the health sector. This is because they occupy a central position in disseminating valid information and coordinating the skills available to achieve the desired ends (Gubbins, Thomas & Hogan et. al, 2006).

The HR department in ACS faces the challenges of employee retention. Good employees are difficult to retain because of the high demand for their services by competing employers. The organization must preserve their employees through offering permanent job positions and better compensation. This can be achieved through contract agreements that reduce premature shifting to organizations that offer better payment. It is the responsibility of HR managers to ensure implementation of the employees’ paybacks and compensations. The personnel in ACS lack the goodwill to determine the appropriate compensation benefits that are imperative to reduce loss of experienced employees to better paying organizations (Kirkland, 2007).

The manager in ACS addresses varied inputs based on functions and responsibilities. This exposes the HR department to an assortment of change management challenges. Scientific based organizations encounter information overload from technological advancements in the medical field. For this reason, it has to ensure that it maintains a workforce that can interpret and apply new advancements. Intensified training is vital because it enables the HR to develop new competencies that will enable them to manage change (Hyde, Cook & Goose, 2004).

The HR personnel in ACS face leadership challenges. Leadership development is a critical aspect to consider when assessing the success of the HRM. The managers are tasked with the responsibilities of providing vital material, structures, tools and strategies that identify and develop future leaders in organizations. In most instances, these resources are not availed. Consequently, the top management forms an integral part and consumes nearly 50% of the total income on salaries and other embezzlement programs rather than developing capacity to meet the top agenda. Leadership development forms a critical initiative that enhances retaining of ideal employees. Furthermore, strong leaders enhance the culture of the organization by asserting the position of the organization and its targets. They ensure that the organization gains competitive advantage by empowering it to adopt roles that enhance long-term sustainability (Gubbins et. al, 2006).

Competencies required for the HR position and the areas that require development

One is required to hold a bachelor’s degree in HR management to qualify for the HR position. However, a master of science in HR development is a supplementary advantage. Additionally, one is required to obtain basic Information technology skills and analytical skills that are a must for the one to interpret varied data within the healthcare organization. Interpretation of statistical data enables the HR manager to initiate informed choices in varied aspects concerning the organization. Moreover, the HR manager is mandated to determine the internal budget related to the workforce. They need to obtain financial skills that enable them to approve budgets that reflect the true status of society (Hyde, 2004).

It is imperative that the managers have working experience with non-profit organizations. This is because non-profit organizations have unique approaches to their financial and management processes. This is necessary to instill accountability that may compromise the flow of funds and other support structures to the society. The manager should possess insightful skills that enhance developing, retaining and exploiting the HR capital optimally. They should also leverage technology to strengthen the efforts of HR in the society (Hernandez & Stephen, 2010).

The HR manager must strive to attract and maintain qualified employees. This is because the pool of qualified candidates for key positions makes talented management essential to the success of organizations in this decade. A critical test for any institute is finding, absorbing and retaining talented individuals. For this reason, The American Cancer Society initiated a leadership development program that helps managers and workers develop appropriate skills. However, the program requires further development that will accommodate the top management and the subsidiary staff. This is imperative to realize efficiency in service delivery (Hyde, 2004).

Non-profit organizations such as the ACS serve as entry-level organizations for people just entering the job force or re-entering after a significant break in employment. They provide the opportunity for competency development in different areas such as community organization, fundraising, project management and relationship building. However, each year they lose these resourceful employees to other companies. The organization should aim at identifying the talents worth retaining by securing them with better benefits and salaries to break this cycle. This will enhance turnover rates for ACS. Bigger corporations can hire international skill to fill the gap in the local skill pool (Gubbins et. al, 2006). However, ACS does not prefer the option. The HR must strive to retain worthy competencies. As the number of skilled candidates reduces, successful ACS staff members are recruited away by local firms that recognize their competencies and can offer packages that are more attractive. The HRM working with the executives should prevent this loss of skills invested by offering better compensation packages that retain a substantial number of employees. This will reduce the time and material resources spent on training and induction of new employees (Hernandez & Stephen, 2010).

Role of the company in developing potential HR managers

ACS plays an important role in developing the potential of its HR managers. The organization is mandated with the responsibility of training and empowering their HR resource. This is because the efficiency of the HR department is reflected in every line of service delivery within an organization. Consequently, the organization should provide capacity to cater for the logistics and hiring challenges. Some candidates may be highly talented but lack the experience and training that is required in critical areas such as budgeting, decision-making, staff supervision, internal relationships and other executive leadership skills. ACS should empower the HR department to identify a perfect candidate endowed with these skills. This is obligatory to advance the overall achievement of the organization (Gubbins et. al, 2006).

Additionally, the management should offer budgetary support that is imperative to coordinating all the HR activities. This includes timely remuneration and dissemination of vital information needed by the clients and the medical support staff. The society needs to upgrade the quality of services offered by streamlining its support structures and transforming the HRM department appropriately. Many firms pay a great attention to the importance of retaining their workforce due to the global economic challenges. The society should optimize its resources by training and offering engagement programs that integrate technology adoption and enhanced employee attraction. This is essential for the development of potential HRMs and for the overall target attainment (Stefane, Carole & John et. al 2006). Notably, the success of these inputs depends on the capability of the HRM to implement the strategic plan. Furthermore, it offers a detailed perceptive of the society’s direction and its capacity to influence strategic decisions (Hernandez & Stephen, 2010).

Managers experience the challenges of limited knowledge required to cope with the diverse responsibilities exposed to them. They require both interpersonal and personal skills to coordinate all the tasks. This boosts their proficiency when making critical decisions within the organization. ACS should employ sufficient staff to provide management and outreach services together with other related services that will enhance the provision of healthcare facilities to all cancer patients. The staffing hours should be commensurate to the workload to ensure that the organization achieves a maximum of its targets (Hyde, 2004).

Additionally, the organization should ensure that it maintains its credibility by investing in sustainable programs in the area of human resources. This becomes possible through motivational programs that focus on the HR team. Credibility helps maintain good employees as well as attract potential sponsors who help in expanding the horizons of the society. As it has been noted earlier, ACS forms a central part in the American culture due to the prevalence of cancer among people of all ages. For this reason, ACS needs to invest in its integrity both within and outside the society to give people the encouragement and treatment they require (Stefane et. al 2006).

Strategic view of human resources that supports the institutions’ organizational strategy

A strategic plan ensures that employees are satisfied with their work assignments, compensation, and benefits. This is imperative when strengthening ACS’s organizational strategy. The decision of HR managers determines the general perception of the employees towards their work. It is imperative that HR managers conduct their work with professionalism and fairness to ensure the success of the organization. Some employers offer competitive and standard treatment while others offer reduced benefits to their workers. The challenge of the HR is to gain support of the executives in building the organizational strategy. This is because, the strategic view of human resources plays an integral role in planning and meeting workforce needs and shortages. The development of quality programs is imperative to providing guidelines for quality control. It also enhances timely budgeting for the short and long-term needs of the organizations (Stefane et. al 2006).

HR personnel should expand their skills to improve proficiency. This will enable them to adopt a strategic view of the organization and identify areas that require strengthening. The perception of the HR personnel is important for developing the organizational strategy that aims at integrating the past and present lessons in future plans. An accurate view is essential in facilitating organizational change, improving workers satisfaction, and increasing the quality and quantity of the output (Hernandez & Stephen, 2010).


The HR manager performs a critical role in the provision of quality services in a health organization. Managers need to develop efficient competencies that will empower them to deliver quality services. However, they cannot achieve their projected goals without the support of the top officials. A healthcare organization such as ACS needs to highlight the significance of the HR managers. This would enable them to utilize the opinion of the HRM in developing better management systems. This is important because it enables the organization to foster informed opinion rather than maintain the HR offices for formality. Organizations need to search for insightful and competent HR managers who can propel an organization to attain better coverage of services. This is because the most imperative aspect of healthcare management is dependent on the efficient coordination of the knowledge, motivations and accountability of the entire workforce. Furthermore, the balance of the human and physical resources available is equally crucial.


Gubbins, C., Thomas, N. G., Hogan, C., & Woodlock, M. (2006). Enhancing the role of the HRD function: The case of a health services organization. Irish Journal of Management, 27(1), 171-206.

Hernandez, S., and Stephen J. O. (2010). Strategic human resources management in health services organizations. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.

Hyde, J., Cook, M. J., Goose, M., & Royal College of Nursing (London). (2004). Managing and supporting people in health care. Edinburgh: Baillière Tindall.

Kirkland, S. (2007). If you build it, they will stay Leadership development in the American Cancer Society. Organization Development Journal, 25(2), p. 77-80.

Stefane, M., Carole, O. John, M. Mark A. S. & Raymond, L. (2006). The importance of human resources management in health care: a global context. Human Resources for Health, 20 (4) 1-17.

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