Sick At Work: Reducing Employee Absenteeism

Four steps to reduce employees missing work when they’re not sick

When one of your employees is sick, you know the hard cost for paid time off. You planned for it, and you know your employees will use it. Just you know there are days that they aren’t sick, but want to have fun (don’t you wish you could do that).

But, there’s a less quantifiable, but insidious burden upon your company that comes when your employees take time off without getting paid. They do it for many reasons, no more sick/vacation time, mental health days, or couldn’t get time scheduled off. These unpaid days off, as reported by Forbes, cost U.S. companies more than $227 billion each year in lost productivity or missed deadlines.

Your sick day policy needs to be flexible in this economy to accommodate the changing lifestyle of your employees and produce the most effective and loyal workers.

Causes of Absenteeism

Surprisingly, the number one cause of employees missing work is not because they are sick. It’s because they have to take care of family members. More people would instead try to work while sick, than rest up properly. We’ll cover more on this below.

The number of sick days and how often a person misses is highly dependent on gender. Women will miss working more often to take care of kids and ailing parents than men. This is true in nearly every type of employment and executive level.

Young children being home sick from school requires a parent’s care, and young kids get sick often. As women and men start having families in their late 20s to mid-thirties, this absenteeism will hit your core workforce.

However, age makes a difference. Older workers are less likely to take time off from work, according to a 2005 survey by The Commonwealth Fund, than workers ages 19 to 29. Younger workers may take “Mental Health” days, a concept workers over the age of 40 may not even know about.

Of course, your employee being sick plays a significant role in your bottom line. But, you may be surprised to learn why.

Working while sick or “Presenteeism,” as coined by a report in the American Journal of Public Health in 2012, found the food services industry had an increased risk of injury and public health potential disaster. DM Norton et al. found that nearly half of all foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants come from employees working while sick.

Along with the potential of spreading the illness, sick employees at work have reduced output, shorter tempers, and are ill longer. Plus, the work your sick employee isn’t doing falls onto other workers who are not ill, making them less productive.

Other reasons for missing work include not being able to find transportation, not being able to find facilities to care for children or aging parents, doctor’s appointments, and the mentioned trend of taking mental health days.

4 Ways to Reduce Absenteeism

In every company, you should be tracking the reason your employees give for taking time off. Once you have the data, you can provide the facilities and support for your employees that will minimize absenteeism and promote a good, healthy working environment.

Both of the books in my Health-Wealth series offer more than a dozen different tactics on how to reduce absenteeism in the workplace. Here are four examples:

On-Site & Near-Site Health Clinics

Many larger companies are hiring doctors, nurses, and medical staff to provide a small, urgent care clinic right in their main building. These urgent care clinics are often free, open during all working hours, and operate under the same strict HIPAA regulations found in other doctor’s offices. Many companies utilizing on-site or near-site clinics are also converting to a Direct Primary Care model.

Your employees benefit with better access to health care, reduced illness, better regulation over medications, decreased insurance cost, and reduced absenteeism.

The Direct Primary Care (DPC) model reduces costs further. DPC resembles a subscription plan or country club membership. One flat fee is paid to the doctor, and your employees can obtain as many services as they need. The DPC doctor benefits from a steady, guaranteed income, your employees benefit from the doctor being more concern with your employee’s health than insurance, and you benefit from saving money on insurance costs. Coming soon, another article will explain how you can implement this system.

The most significant hurdle facing these health clinics is the right to privacy. These doctors are required to operate under HIPAA regulations, precisely as if they were in a formal doctor’s office. You need to reassure your employees that these offices will not share medical information, nor can visits to the clinic be tracked.

If your facility is not large enough to support a doctor and full nursing staff, consider partnering with a small, local clinic or urgent care center that your employees can visit with minimal or no cost. For many of the smaller doctors offices, a monthly retainer for helping treat your employees is more profitable for them than to continuously bill insurance.

Health clinics also play a role in helping employees live healthier, which reduces illness and time off. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and pain management are issues that a health clinic can incorporate as part of a wellness program. Healthier employees are more productive, take less unpaid time off, and generally remain with the company longer.

Family Support Services

Missing work to take care of a sick child, manage snow days, or attend after-school activities is commonplace, especially among women. Instituting child care facilities to take care of young children can be often profitable when compared to lost productivity due to missing work.

Some examples of family support services include child day care, senior care, and after-school programs. Some urgent care facilities in office allow children to attend, helping reduce the need for parents to take time off for their child to see a doctor.

Ride Share/ Car Pool Support

Employees who are late or need to miss work because they don’t have adequate transportation are rising in numbers. The Millennial culture is beginning to reject the use of individual automobiles and are demanding public transport be more available. However, public transportation systems are lacking in many areas, especially where newer office complexes are being built.

Fortunately, several enterprising organizations are providing transportation for those without. Uber, Lyft, Hyre, RabbitTransit, and many others are providing personal transportation and group transportation in a customizable and confidential way. Consider contracting with a local mass transit organization or group of individuals to help your employees arrive at work on time.

Additionally, some organizations are providing company vehicles or bonuses for individuals willing to carpool or pick up other employees. One large cast metal production plant in northern Pennsylvania offers specific individuals $250 in bonus each month to pick up three other employees and arrive on time. Since implementing the program, this company reported nearly all late arrivals started being on time and missed time at work dropped by over 50%.

Health-Wealth Focused Mobile Applications

The not-for-profit Health-Wealth organization and the two books in the series recommend some mobile apps to help corporations and employees better manage their health and save money. In our next article, well go into these topics a bit deeper, add a few, and show you how to incorporate them into your health care model. Here are a few to look into:

– Telehealth – Apps like Teladoc and Lemonaid Health put you in direct contact with a doctor via phone or video chat. This chat costs significantly less and sometimes saves a trip to the emergency room or doctor’s office.

– Disease-specific counseling – Managing health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity works best when working with a coach or counselor. Canary Health’s diabetes prevention program and monitoring apps help doctors adjust medications, provide warnings of problems, and can provide meal planning.

– Women’s Health – Some women are embarrassed by specific problems, especially if their doctor is male. Speaking to a female teledoctor, such as Teladoc or ReadyDoc MD, or a coach can help provide guidance and understand for sensitive issues. Certain apps that monitor blood pressure, menstruation (Glow app), and mood swings can identify problems before they interfere with normal, daily life.

– Stress and anxiety – The most significant trend in mental health is texting apps with a trained professional. For a minimal fee, you can talk to a coach, psychologist, or counselor about health, stress, depression, or any relationship issue. Usually, these monthly fees are 75-90% less than a single counselor session and provide better, faster service. 7 Cups provides 24/7 service.

Making Sense of It All

The Health-Wealth Not-For-Profit education division offers an interactive exercise for corporate benefits teams to assist them in starting the cultural shift to get employees to convert to Engaged Health Consumers.

You have to take an active interest in your employees and learn why they miss work. Then, you can take proactive steps to give them the support they need to be the present, hard workers you need.

30 A feature on Dr. Josh Luke on LinekdIn LinkedIn Influencers Who Built A Powerhouse Personal Brand

Dr. Josh Luke-A Forbes Best Selling Author and an International Keynote speaker speaking on topics – Entertainment, motivation & teaching companies and families how to save money saving on their personal healthcare expenses. Business meetings, faith-based events and family events. Executive leadership, education workshops as well as sales team training and motivation. He also puts out daily videos speaking on matters pertaining to healthcare.

Full Article: Here

Author: Fahad Mohammed

Why I Became a Healthcare Futurist & How it Can Benefit You & Your Team, by Dr. Josh Luke

So, you want to be a healthcare futurist? For starters, what does that even mean? Here is my take on what it means and how it can benefit you. Heck, this short read may even save you a few bucks on your health care.

In 2013, I left my job as Vice President of a health system to try my hand at professional public speaking, writing and teaching at the University of Southern California. After almost ten years as a hospital CEO, I was getting consistent requests to speak at conferences. And on top of that, the event hosts were reporting that I was one of the highest rated speakers at each event. All right!

Ten years as a hospital CEO isn’t even the strongest asset I have in being an advocate for you. I am shaped more by the experiences of my mother’s disease process.

It wasn’t much later that I heard it for the first time. I was being introduced to the audience in Chicago and, as event hosts often do, they summarized my bio in their own words and for the first time I heard someone label me “a healthcare futurist.”

I’m guessing it was dopamine or some other addictive chemical my body produces that suddenly overcame me when I first heard the term, as I was admittedly flattered! Dopamine, I’m told, is the same chemical compound that leads to addiction with nicotine or alcohol, or in the case of millennials, their cell phones and social media!

But hey, forget about nicotine and social media. I was getting paid to speak and I enjoyed it.

Over the next few months of 2014, my presentation grew increasingly specific as to how I anticipated drastic changes in the healthcare delivery system. My executive experience combined with my commitment to teaching and studying healthcare policy led me to consistently communicate and collaborate with some of the top leaders nationally. I was rubbing elbows with health system executives, scholars, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and even the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services themselves (as well as their Innovation Center).

I was approached by a hospital CEO after a presentation in New York and he asked, “so what does it mean to be a healthcare futurist and how do I become one?”

Then, my first book (Readmission Prevention: Solutions Across the Provider Continuum) was released and became the best-selling book from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) in 2015. ACHE even designated Readmission Prevention as one of its monthly featured CEO Circle books. What an honor!

Thus, throughout 2015 I was regularly being referred to and introduced as a “leading healthcare futurist.” Then came the big question. I was approached by a hospital CEO after a presentation in New York and he asked, “so what does it mean to be a healthcare futurist and how do I become one?”

I could not help but chuckle, and responded by saying “it’s a name others gave me, but I don’t take it lightly and candidly, the more I hear it, the more responsibility I feel to stay current on policy changes and discuss with other respected leaders their anticipated impact.” He seemed content with that answer and we engaged in a lengthy conversation specific to a topic I covered in my presentation that he was previously unfamiliar with.

Immediately following that conversation I went online and researched “healthcare futurists” and found a few names like Ian Morrison and Dr. Atul Gawande were commonly referred to as healthcare futurists. As I dug deeper I found a few others who appeared to be aging speakers who had been branding themselves in this manner for years. Gawande, currently in the trenches of the hospitals daily rigour, is someone I have great respect for and value his positions!

Outside of Mr. Morrison and Dr. Gawande, many of these individuals, however, did not have an executive healthcare background at all. Thus, it seems to me that they were more entrenched in selling technology or innovative services, than in studying how changes in healthcare may impact you.

Those who have seen me speak or read my articles know I routinely emphasize how millennial culture is impacting healthcare delivery. One of my common themes is to pay attention to millennial culture as it’s proving to have a drastic impact on care delivery.

Nursing home owners think of every possible name they can to avoid using the term ‘convalescent home’.

As a proud Gen-Xer who was fortunate enough to become a hospital CEO at age 32, I am now creeping into my mid-40’s. So when I see an aging healthcare futurist, it’s natural for me to question their credibility and knowledge of the impact of millennials on delivery. Would you agree?

I can back that up by sharing that very few of the aging executives who mentored me as a young hospital CEO have demonstrated any interest in learning new trends and transforming. Their eyes are on the retirement prize.

“Dr. Luke is a champion for avoiding the institutionalization of seniors when they can be cared for at home.”

So, I decided in late 2015 to officially label myself a healthcare futurist on LinkedIn and Twitter. But before doing so, I identified what the title healthcare futurist means to me.

1.      I must understand and stay current on healthcare policy updates

2.      I must reflect on my executive experience to predict how those changes will impact providers, consumers and businesses providing healthcare to employees

3.      I must prioritize consumer (patient, caregiver and family) interests in order to stay relevant, specifically affordability & access to care

4.      Perhaps most importantly, I must rely on my instincts as a personal caretaker to ensure my positions reflect not just the provider perspective (doctors and hospitals), but also the patient’s perspective.

Would you agree? How would you define it?

Tragically, my own mother’s Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to stage seven. My wife and I serve as part of her care-taking team and we treasure every moment we get with my mom. In 2015 we founded a not-for-profit and donate proceeds each year to benefit Alzheimer’s programs.

It is my role as a son and caretaker that gives me the confidence to know that my direct and pointed positions on the need for dramatic change in healthcare delivery are not driven solely by my experience as a hospital CEO. In fact, those who hear me speak will often say “Dr. Luke is a champion for avoiding the institutionalization of seniors when they can be cared for at home.” After all, when was the last time you heard an individual say “I can’t wait for the day my doctor tells me I have to be admitted to a convalescent home?”


So why am I so provocative and poignant when I speak to business leaders? It’s personal, that’s why. And I have a message to share that can benefit you all, so I take pride in sharing for your benefit.

In fact, the quote above about not wanting to go to a nursing home provides a good example of the information I share when I speak at conferences for car dealers, architects, nurses, churches, healthcare leaders, sales teams or other executives.

Nursing home owners think of every possible name they can to avoid using the term ‘convalescent home’. In fact, they try to avoid saying ‘nursing home’ as well, instead opting for non-traditional and often misleading terms such as ‘rehab facility’ or ‘skilled rehab’ simply because they know that no one wants to ever go to a ‘nursing home’.

Do ya think? Of course they don’t. But nursing home preceptors actually teach young trainees these terms — its a calculated approach. How do I know? Well years ago I was one of these young trainees.

And what about the old semantical trick doctors use when you are in the acute hospital and can’t wait to get home? Trick? Well, it’s a manipulative play on words at a minimum when a doctor advises a patient after three days in the hospital that they are being ‘transferred’ to a skilled rehab facility as opposed to being ‘discharged’ to another facility, which is the more appropriate and accurate term.

“it’s a manipulative play on words when a doctor advises a patient that they are being ‘transferred’ to a skilled rehab facility as opposed to being ‘discharged’…”

As a patient, would you agree that the word ‘discharge’ suggests finality and closure, whereas ‘transfer’ suggests just the opposite: you’re not quite ready yet?

Imagine how you would feel if you walked into one of these convalescent homes for a tour and were greeted with a special aroma – the smell of urine from residents who are incontinent. Guess what? Incontinent and unsightly residents are often moved to the back of a nursing home or placed in a distant wing in the facility so those touring do not have to see, or smell them. These are very common tactics.

After all, if you are touring for your own parent or grandmother, no one perceives their own parent to be as sick as the elderly individuals they witness when they tour. We all have an image of our parents as younger and heathier when this natural progression begins.

So we just took a tangent mid-way through this story to illustrate a few of these well-kept secrets that may benefit you as you help your parents navigate through their golden years. The nursing home and physician anecdotes were included to provide examples of wisdom from the industry that can help you as a consumer or business owner in the future.

So you see, a healthcare futurist. Now you know what that means as well, and there is much more where that came from.

The story ends like this: there are plenty of ways for individuals to become more astute in regard to accessing healthcare, but I take it on as my role to provide you with many of these hidden gems. In 2016 I started to see several other friends and followers on LinkedIn all of a sudden have “Healthcare Futurist” next to their title, and decided once again to set myself apart and formalize a more progressive title for myself as one of the first executives who was willing to call out my peers.

So, as we enter 2017, you’re now interacting with the new me, “The Voice of American Healthcare.”

With one best-selling book and a second book written specifically to benefit the consumer (Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare), I am willing to take on this title with the same level of self-responsibility I assumed when others started routinely referring to me as a leading national healthcare futurist. My only goal is to help you – with complete transparency and with no product or service to sell.

Straight talk. The elephant in the room. A boots-on-the-ground, real-world approach. I call it how I see it. These are all terms others have used in recent years to describe my approach to helping consumers understand and access healthcare services.

In recent years I have shared my message on 4 continents; it has reached China, Panama, Mexico and Eastern Europe as well as all over the United States. The people I meet and the countries I visit with different delivery models all enhance my perspectives.

I don’t claim to have all the answers about how healthcare will change, but I take great pride in helping you understand the likely changes that will impact you. If my stories and experiences can be shared to help entertain you and better explain these concepts, well, I will take that on. And on top of that, I enjoy it!

Ten years as a hospital CEO isn’t even the strongest asset I have in being an advocate for you. The truth is I am shaped more by my mother’s disease process. While my passion resonates in caring for and loving on my mother through her final years of life, my goal is to honor her by educating others about what I have learned by caring for her.

Let there be no doubt, though, that strongest asset is the network of professionals I interact with regularly on LinkedIn that are candid and willing to both disagree and offer competing innovative approaches on the future of healthcare. I plan to embrace this healthcare futurist thing, and now even more so as “The Voice of American Healthcare,” always focused on advocating for you.

Please “share” this story with your LinkedIn network with the message, “I define a healthcare futurist as….”

I am hopeful that you will all join me and come along for the ride. I reached out to a few of my connections for input on this story and am thankful to each who submitted input – all of the input was right on! I received so much feedback, rather than include all the input in my story, I prefer to allow each follower to “’share” their thoughts on their own! So here we go, please “share” this story with your LinkedIn network with the message, “I define a healthcare futurist as….”

Can’t wait to see your definitions!

Click here to nominate Josh Luke or another writer as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices. Josh is the author of the book Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare, What every American needs to know. He teaches in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and serves as CSO/Sr. Health Policy Strategist for Nelson Hardiman Law.

He is an advocate for Alzheimer’s care and founded the National Readmission Prevention Collaborative in 2013. Luke is also a professional speaker sharing with all businesses how changes in healthcare will impact them and their employees. Please follow Josh on LinkedIn if these topics are of interest to you and check for speaking appearances.

If you ain’t first, you’re last: Will Ferrell’s USC Grad Speech, by Dr. Josh Luke

Business and Life Lessons from Ricky Bobby Himself

By Josh Luke, USC Adjunct Faculty

Wait a minute. Will Ferrell went to college?

Oh that’s right. He led the naked quad run in the hit comedic film “Old School.”

But wait, there is more. He went to the University of Southern California?

Yes. He graduated with a degree in sports management. Years later he returned to deliver the May 2017 commencement speech. And now he is an honorary doctor as well?

Do you think that had a few of my fellow faculty members on pins and needles?

Life Lesson One: Shake and Bake!

It’s fair to say that no one knew what to expect. As a faculty member at USC, although I was unable to attend the ceremony, my family and I watched it on our big screen (thanks to YouTube and Apple TV) later that evening.

Not only is Ferrell a household favorite (seeing that I have three teens), but I am an Orange County (California) native and wanted to support my OC brother, the newly crowned, Dr. Ferrell!

Although I had a tough time convincing my teenage kids to watch a graduation speech, I am pleased that they were all willing as there were some great life lessons mixed in with the humor and stories. Oh, and his closing act, a solo of Whitney Houston’s hit song, “I Will Always Love You.”

As a professional public speaker who travels the globe teaching Fortune 500 businesses how to save 20% or more annually on healthcare costs, I am always seeking out opportunities to watch other public speakers to enhance my delivery. While I am eager to put myself up against any other corporate presenter as I am confident in my ability to entertain, educate and deliver meaningful, usable content to audiences, in this case, Ferrell proved to be a tough act to follow!

Here are a few of the life lessons woven into the comedy (and singing!)!

Lesson One: Shake and Bake! This lesson is for the millennials and others just joining the work force. It’s normal to be unsure of what career you want to pursue when you are in college, and sometimes even after you graduate. In fact, this is true for the remainder of your career as well. Just have a plan at all times.

As life changes, interests and people change as well. One key skill to succeed in corporate America or as an entrepreneur, is an individual’s ability to adapt to culture, generational traits and new trends.

Fight on Trojan Graduates!

Ferrell tells the story of realizing his goal of working in sports management succumbed to his passion for comedy. In perhaps his most memorable story of the speech, he speaks of crashing his buddy’s classroom at USC in the middle of a lecture, pretending to be a janitor called to clean up vomit. It’s a classic story invoking images reminiscent of many of his hit movies.

In fact, Ferrell speaks of walking across campus a few weeks later only to be approached by the professor whose class he crashed. As Ferrell was preparing to take a licking from the professor and face appropriate discipline, he was shocked and surprised to learn that the professor was amused and thought it was brilliant. He actually invited him back to do similar impromptu visits in following semesters. Ferrell’s love for comedy emerged while studying sports marketing at USC, so he changed his plan.

Lesson Two: You have a dart in your neck. One of the most memorable lessons Ferrell learned in college came from a professor who he never had a class with. Reflect back to the story above about a professor who was not assigned to a class with Ferrell, proactively seeking him out to embrace his passions and gifts. This gesture had a significant impact on Ferrell.

Why is this important? For two reasons. As a professor at USC myself, it is a great reminder to me that I am a role model who makes an impression on all students on campus, not just those in our classroom.

As a boss, leader or influencer, we should all keep this in mind in all that we do. We are always being watched and whether you like it or not, being put on a pedestal by those who aspire to reach the same level of perceived success that we have achieved. While he did not have a dart in his neck in class that day, he dressed as a janitor and this movie line was just to good not to include!

Lesson Three: Strategery. Have a plan! Ferrell’s famous George W. Bush character on Saturday Night Live used this term regularly.

While still in college, Ferrell chose to finish his commitment to completing an education, but re-set his goals to become a comedic actor. He joined acting troops and invited his fraternity brothers and friends to his “open mic’ night performances.” After completing his degree he temporarily moved home to Orange County, just 40 miles to the south of downtown Los Angeles, and tapped into lounge’s and comedy clubs in Orange County while still having a daily presence in the entertainment capital of the world, Hollywood.

Admittedly working through nerves and confidence issues, Ferrell ultimately caught the eye of famed Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels and got his big break.

Lesson Four: Smiling’s my favorite. Ferrell gave several examples of fan letters that were critical of him when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. His response? He would take them as constructive criticism but answer with respectful humor. In turn those critics became fans. What a great approach!  

Lesson Five: Dear Baby Jesus. Ferrell was willing to have faith in himself and take chances, even after making it big.

After an epic run on Saturday Night Live, Ferrell left to chase his big screen dreams and acknowledged it was a struggle to get his first few scripts accepted. Within a few years however, he was a multi-millionaire but acknowledged it took almost two years to land the first film. And when he did, he gambled on two movies in which he dressed as an oversized holiday elf in Elf, and a 1970’s on-air television personality in Anchorman. Bingo.

And let us not forget, in this day of questionable media credibility and reporting…if Ron Burgundy says it, it’s the truth! Stay Classy San Diego!

Click here to nominate Josh Luke or another writer as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices.

Dr. Josh Luke is an award winning healthcare futurist, a Forbes Book Author, a #1 Best Seller and the author of the book Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare, What every American needs to know. He teaches in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and serves as CSO/Sr. Health Policy Strategist for Nelson Hardiman Law.

He served as a hospital CEO for ten years and is an advocate for Alzheimer’s care. Luke is also a professional speaker sharing with executives how changes in healthcare will impact them and their employees. Please follow Josh on LinkedIn if these topics are of interest to you and check for speaking appearances. 

Millennials & Healthcare: One Critical Resume Mistake to Avoid, by Dr. Josh Luke

It is the time of the year that new grads start ramping up the job search and dressing to the 9’s for more interviews. As a healthcare policy faculty member at the University of Southern California, I discuss this with my students each semester and several have shared that this was one of their favorite discussions of the semester because it’s a position they had not heard prior.

And you know I love to write about Millennials and the importance of understanding millennial values! Well, here is some advice for millennial graduates!

There is one critical resume mistake that healthcare candidates make routinely.

I just can’t let this summer interview season pass without getting something off my chest. There is one critical resume mistake that healthcare candidates make routinely.

And it’s not just healthcare. New grads are very proud and want to share what they have recently accomplished. Whether undergrad or graduate students, it’s quite an accomplishment to add to your resume that you just completed a degree.

But before I share this one critical mistake, I have a question I would like each of you to ponder: Is your graduation year being listed on your resume hurting you or helping you? Only you know the answer to that, and it can work either way. So here is my first suggestion. Leave your graduation year off of your resume altogether. If nothing else, what a great talking point for your initial interview. That is, if you have a well-thought out talking point to spin the graduation year in your favor.

Since I am known for long-winded stories and my goal for this article is to stay short, I will get to the point now. As a ten year hospital CEO and now public speaker educating Fortune 500 companies and mid to small sized businesses on how to reduce healthcare spending by 30% a year, I have a major pet peeve when it comes to resumes.

It’s really simple. If the first section under your name is titled “Education”, then what you are telling me is that your education is the best qualification you have to offer me. Don’t get me wrong, I teach at the University of Southern California. If you are not getting a 3.8 in high school it’s likely you need not apply to USC. So when I see a resume with “USC Graduate” listed, no doubt I am impressed.

“…this tells me that the work experience you have is not relevant. It is as simple as that.”

However, regardless of your institution, when education is the top item listed on a resume it tells me that the work experience you have is not relevant. It is as simple as that.

I’ll pause for impact here.

You would be amazed at how interesting and important candidates can make an internship, apprenticeship or part-time job sound. Remember, it’s the organization that the candidate worked for that is most impressive in most cases, not the title of their position.

Interestingly, I have learned that universities throughout the country have resume workshops for graduation candidates and that these students are almost always told to list their education first. Regardless of how reputable the institution is, by listing your education first, even if it is a graduate level degree, you are diminishing any value your prior work experience has.

Please don’t argue with me on this, I am the guy on the other side of the desk. Almost ten years as a CEO. We saw this routinely. Those resumes with education first went into the circular file.

Imagine a candidate who is a new grad with a master’s degree in healthcare administration. The top section on their resume is “Education.” Beneath the education section you see listed, “Intern, Hospital X,” and then “Administrative Resident, Health System Y.”

Now imagine the same candidate whose resume leads with the following: “Relevant Work Experience, Quality Improvement Team, Hospital X (Top 3% National Quality Ranking), and then “Lean Six Sigma Workgroup, Health System Y ($30,000 in Monthly Savings on Initial Emergency Department exercise).” Underneath that section, the second section is titled “Education” and list a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration.

Dab! You are hired!

If you listed your education first, I assume that you personally do not believe that your internships and work experience are relevant to the work that you would do if hired. Is that the message you want to send? Absolutely not!

So, the basic rules for your resume as a healthcare candidate, and likely in other fields as well are:

1.      Do not list your education first on your resume, even as an entry level candidate. If you do, you missed an opportunity to make any work experience, no matter how different it might seem, relevant!

*No matter how proud you are of your degree and the great institution you attended, imagine how much more powerful that looks when you delegate it to the second section of your resume. You are essentially saying, “Of course I am proud to be a graduate of an elite institution, but this work experience was awesome as well!”

Do not list your education first on your resume, even as an entry level candidate.

2.      Bonus: Empower yourself to leave your graduation year off your resume, whether graduate degree, undergrad or even high school. Strategize how to make your age or experience work to your advantage and use it as a talking point.

Leave your graduation year off your resume & strategize how to make your age work to your advantage .

Remember, if your college career center or workshop tells you otherwise, remind yourself who signs their paycheck and then ask what their motivation might be for suggesting “our institution is so great it should be listed first on your resume.” That’s their job to promote the university – not yours. Your job is to get hired! And not to promote on their behalf. So strategize to get hired.

Anxious to hear your comments on this!

Click here to nominate Josh Luke or another writer as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices. To book Dr. Luke as a speaker for your business, university or healthcare event, email

Bio Brief: Dr. Josh Luke is an award winning healthcare futurist, a Forbes Book Author, a #1 Best Seller and the author of the book Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare, What every American needs to know. He teaches in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and serves as CSO/Sr. Health Policy Strategist for Nelson Hardiman Law.

He served as a hospital CEO for ten years and is an advocate for Alzheimer’s care. Luke is also a professional speaker sharing with executives how changes in healthcare will impact them and their employees. Please follow Josh on LinkedIn if these topics are of interest to you and check for speaking appearances. 

Healthcare, Sales, Hiring – 4 Sales mistakes to avoid, by Dr. Josh Luke

After serving as a hospital CEO for almost ten years, I was able to hear a lot of sales pitches on how my hospital could improve. “Our product will save you $X thousand a year!” or, “sign with us and you will generate $XX million of new revenue monthly!”

Hospitals were swimming in cash flow for years, so it was a lucrative market for sales teams. It did not really hit me until after I retired from hospital administration how many sales team members were forgetting a few of the most basic rules in life – not just in sales. And for you Human Resources Directors, keep these in mind when interviewing for sales candidates!

I believe most leaders are successful because they always take the time to assess their audience before addressing them.

I am now a keynote speaker presenting at trade events, leadership and sales meetings for all industries, teaching companies and individuals how to save money on healthcare. But shortly after retiring from the hospital C-Suite I served as a healthcare strategist for a few years. In that role I was asked by several companies to introduce them to hospital executives and sit in on the initial meeting.

While a few of the sales teams had mastered the art of identifying a need or gap, and then communicating how their product or service could solve that problem and bring added value to the organization, the majority of the individuals failed to listen. Or missed a key cue.

Let me explain. I have never had any formal sales training. But I have had a lot of leadership training, which I know is very similar. I believe most leaders are successful because they always take the time to assess their audience before addressing them. Further, if the opportunity presents itself to ask the audience questions in advance of speaking, instead of just observing visual cues, I always take advantage of that opportunity.

After all, if you do not understand the audience and how your communication is likely going to be interpreted, you are ignoring a key component of the sales process. The power of listening! I am amazed at how many sales team start to tell a company how they can solve their problem, when they have not even taken time to ask what the problem is. And I see it happen all the time.

So here are a few basic sales rules. Please, for all our sakes (especially yours) avoid these selling mistakes.

1.      Don’t forget to start by asking about the problem or the gap that needs to be filled. Don’t tell someone how you can solve their problem when you have not even stopped to ask what their problem is. Its not only ignorant, its borderline disrespectful…and embarrassing.

Every single hospital is different. I always use the example of this national hospital company with hundreds of hospitals all over the country. But in Southern California they previously owned 3 hospitals within 15 minutes of each other. Guess what? If you asked each of those three hospital executives what their top three problems were, they would all have a different answer. And more importantly, the manner in which they wanted to solve the problem would differ from the other as well. So when you enter a room and start telling them how you are going to solve their problem without even asking, the meeting is essentially over before it starts. There’s the door!

2.      Constant product development. Stop developing a product that no one has asked forIf you have no clients, you are not solving anyone’s problem. You’re developing an imaginary solution that no one has asked for. And for that matter, no one likely ever will. Stop developing a hypothetical solution and go find a client who gives a damn. Develop the product specific to them.

Once again, everyone’s problem is different than the other, and more so how the leadership intends to address the problem is always a different tactic as well. Don’t assume you know. Trust me, you don’t.

3.      Don’t say no. When a client requests a change or accommodation, say yes. When your client, or a potential client requests a slight deviation from your existing offering, be prepared to immediately respond with an affirmative answer of “I will have our engineers begin that process immediately and keep you posted.” I can’t tell you how many times I have seen sales teams trip on that opportunity and say, ‘I don’t know,’ or “we will have to see” only to lose the opportunity altogether.

Even worse, don’t fall victim to telling the client “no, we can’t do that or won’t do that because….” See the three dots at the end of that sentence? That’s arrogance and ignorance. My apologies for being so blunt but forgive me, I thought the goal was to make a sale and to solve the client’s problem, not tell them how great the hypothetical solution is. If only the client’s problem could be converted into one that your solution solved! Imagine that (it’s not to hard to imagine as that’s what the client just asked and was abruptly told “no!”

Sales is about solving client’s problems, not trying to fit the client’s problem into a box you have created.

 In sales, trust is built on being an active listener, and then using critical thinking to offer solutions on how to help that person accomplish their goals.

4.      Don’t ignore the client’s need if you can’t solve it. Help the client with their problem, even if its outside your scope. Relationships drive a capitalistic society. If the prospect is not ready to retain your services initially, see if there is a referral you can make to help them solve their most significant challenges at present. Then when the time comes you will be the vendor of choice. Don’t miss that cue. If you do, you’re being short-sighted.

My advice for sales? It’s not all that different than leadership. Relationships drive everything, and relationships are built on trust. In sales, trust is built on being an active listener, and then using critical thinking to offer solutions on how to help that person accomplish their goals. If your product or service can play a role in that process, well, you just might make a sale after all. Good luck!

Click here to nominate Josh Luke or another writer as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices. To book Dr. Luke as a speaker for your business, university or healthcare event, email

Bio Brief: Dr. Josh Luke is an award winning healthcare futurist, a Forbes Book Author, a #1 Best Seller and the author of the book Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare, What every American needs to know. He teaches in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and serves as CSO/Sr. Health Policy Strategist for Nelson Hardiman Law.

He served as a hospital CEO for ten years and is an advocate for Alzheimer’s care. Luke is also a professional speaker sharing with executives how changes in healthcare will impact them and their employees. Please follow Josh on LinkedIn if these topics are of interest to you and check for speaking appearances. 

A Feature on Dr. Josh Luke on Linkedin #UNCONVENTIONAL: Dr. Josh Luke

By Manu Goswami

There is so much to say about Dr. Josh Luke. Best known these days for his ability to captivate audiences with his humour and entertaining personal stories, his healthcare genius, and his success as an author, I first wanted to share a few details about his much-anticipated book coming out titled “Health-Wealth: 9 Steps to Financial Recovery”. He is offering a special promotion for readers of this story – any readers who purchase this book between noon and 2 pm EST on Thursday January 18, 2018 will receive a free personalized copy of his prior book “Ex-Acute” mailed to them! Just forward the email receipt to

Spending much of his time busy with speaking engagements, Dr. Luke has not always been a part of the keynote speaking world. There is much more to him than meets the eye, and his progression and story serve as an inspiration to those who know him. It is unconventional.

Having had the opportunity to speak at conferences, invitationals, and as a featured speaker in the Masters of LinkedIn Summit coming in May, Dr. Luke enjoys sharing his message to help people live their lives and be as informed as possible when making decisions that affect their healthcare. He has become the leading mind for the future of healthcare, and is motivated on a daily basis to improve the healthcare climate on a daily basis. He has earned the title as a “Healthcare Futurist” as his work has been truly influential.

Dr. Luke started his career as a jet-setting sports marketer working with some of the most famous athletes in the world. He enjoyed the lifestyle, and business was good. His brother Matt even played in the major leagues in the 1990s! He was intrigued by the glamor and the fame, until reality set in – his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Realizing he was in no position to help, right then and there he decided to change careers and become involved in the healthcare industry. Through is inherent grit and motivation, Dr. Luke ascended to become a hospital CEO at the young age of 32.

In his years as a hospital CEO, Dr. Luke successfully addressed the challenges and disconnects existing between different levels of care. He implemented revolutionary solutions that improved the post-discharge and readmission processes in his facility, and emphasized the importance of home and hospice care. Unfortunately, hospital ownership changed, and he was pushed out of his job after delivering results for 10 years. He lost his benefits, had no health insurance for himself or his family, and was dealt another blow – his mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

As is his resilient nature, Dr. Luke penned his first book, “Readmission Prevention: Solutions Across the Provider Continuum”, where his ideas influenced components of ObamaCare. Becoming a best-selling author, Dr. Luke donated $25,000 to contribute to the fight against the disease that has stricken his family. His involvement in different Alzheimer’s related organizations has brought us closer than ever to finding a cure.

In his subsequent books, Dr. Luke made waves within healthcare, sharing ideas that were often seen as “brutally transparent, but credible”. By exposing the long-kept secrets of the healthcare trade, and helping businesses and families keep healthcare from bankrupting them, he approaches these sensitive topics enthusiastically to inform his audiences. Now an educator at the Price School of Public Policy at USC, Dr. Luke is arming the next generation of policy makers with his transparent views about the future of healthcare.

Dr. Luke told me, “Did you know that almost 50% of a millennials lifetime earnings will go to healthcare in America? This is tragic. I am a huge proponent of older generations accepting and growing comfortable with millennial culture as there is so much to learn. I have two slides specific to this in my presentation deck!” He went on to explain “my kids are Gen Z and I am beginning to research common tendencies of Gen Z young adults – the first batch graduates high school this year.” I think I speak for many when I say I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

Dr. Josh Luke can best be found on LinkedIn or at He is currently conducting a huge media and speaking tour to promote his next book “Health-Wealth: 9 Steps to Financial Recovery”, and enjoys being involved in mentorships. Dr. Luke’s ascension in healthcare is truly #unconventional, but it has been the perfect application for his brilliance.

Co-written by Brian Ford –

Connect with Dr. Luke if his thoughts resonated with you, share them on Twitter and LinkedIn using the #UNCONVENTIONAL and follow along with the series! 

Video Killed the LinkedIn Star, by Dr. Josh Luke

Since the launch of video, views of long-form news articles on LinkedIn appear to be down as much as 80%. Co-written for LinkedIn by Manu Goswami & Dr. Josh Luke

The first video ever played by MTV in August 1981 was Video Killed the Radio Starby the Buggles.

Is history repeating itself 36 years later on LinkedIn? Is the launch of LinkedIn video killing the LinkedIn long form story?

No one loves this platform more than the two of us. We are both honored to be featured in the Masters of LinkedIn Summit in Los Angeles on May 10, 2018. But as writers, we are very concerned about user trends in recent months since LinkedIn made a temporary platform change to encourage video.

Quick disclaimer: We love LinkedIn video and are both LinkedIn video enthusiasts! But is the content of the majority of the LinkedIn video’s popping-up meaningful business content? Or have we swayed closer to a true “social” media platform instead of the true meaningful business content platform that LinkedIn strives to be?

“I welcomed the opportunity to produce video. But my last few stories prior to the platform change were averaging 10,000 views. My last few stories since the platform change are averaging less than 1,000.” – Dr. Josh Luke

Something tells us that the folks at LinkedIn and all their data are way ahead of us on this one and that they likely have some platform tweaks in store for us in the near future. But leave it to the two of us LinkedIn lovers, one GenXer and one millennial, to state the obvious. We both interact with LinkedIn executives regularly and we each have been to regional offices and met some of the most brilliant people we’ve ever met who work for LinkedIn. That’s why we suspect they are way ahead of us on this!

We are both influencers who love to write. Sure, we can do video too. But in a sense, impactful writing is a talent that requires years of skill to master. Video on the other hand, while many are skilled, simply requires the click of a button, even for those who have not mastered the craft…And maybe the courage to be seen on camera as well! As a result, video content can be suspect. Herein lies the problem.

“I’m pumped to be speaking at the Masters of LinkedIn Summit and debating video vs. short form text posts, but even that is a separate subject. LinkedIn was becoming the true first source of relevant, first person business news and I fear that video might put that in jeopardy.” – Manu Goswami

For those unfamiliar, LinkedIn previously had “Pulse” channels for different industries: human resources, sales, leadership, etc. Midyear 2017 LinkedIn removed the Pulse’s and added a “What People Are Talking About Now” feature on the right of the home screen and on the home screen of your app (on most phone’s anyway!). LinkedIn also sends you a #DailyRundown email each morning in your Notification section of hashtags that are trending.

“When I started doing video on LI, I purposefully named my daily video the Daily Video Minute & Hashtag of the Day to emphasize brevity, consistency and a trending topic to stay consistent to the platform goals.” – Dr. Josh Luke

On the surface this shift to trending news feature appeared to be a smart tactic to encourage users to return to the site multiple times daily… the two of us certainly do! The unintended consequence however was the death of the long form news story. Along with it, at least for the time being, the death of the true LinkedIn Super Hero who not only could write, but had the business acumen to understand what qualified as relevant business content!

Lets take a look at a true LinkedIn Super Hero. Jim Rossi became a Top Voice in 2016 and just passed 250,000 Followers as a result of being a skilled writer, with 28 articles to date on LinkedIn dating back to January 2016. 250,000 Followers in less than 2 years…that’s a great writer!

“I teach at USC & asked my grad students their top news sources. None of them named a newspaper & almost all named an app on their phone. I was encouraged when two of them said ‘LinkedIn, I think your stories are more credible than the New York Times.’” – Dr. Josh Luke

According to the grad students at USC, LinkedIn and Twitter were winning this battle to become the true news sources for the millennial generation. Newspapers are truly dead! But that was early 2017. Then the LinkedIn platform changed.

We are both very hopeful that video maintains a strong presence on LinkedIn. More importantly, it is imperative that those making videos understand that LinkedIn users are seeking meaningful business content. Videos that have no business relevance and hashtag campaigns that do not provide insight to improve business acumen have started to pop up. We believe this could turn-off a lot of frequent users.

We have seen a lot of hashtag campaigns that brought valuable business input from across the globe, including the first hashtag campaign ever #LetsGetHonest and the highly successful #InItTogether that was launched by LinkedIn itself January 8, 2018. We are not offering an answer to this dilemma but pointing out an observation.

Julie Kliger for example is a three time LinkedIn Top Voice in Healthcare. Since video was launched and the Pulse channels were eliminated her story views and resulting interaction (like’s, reply’s and shares), like everyone else’s appear to be down more than 80%. Her story quality has not changed, just the platform.

A similar topic will be debated at the upcoming Masters of LinkedIn Summit in Los Angeles by some of LinkedIn’s most popluar personalities. Amy Blaschka will moderate a debate style panel pitting Manu Goswami and Allen Gannett arguing for video while Aaron Orendorff and Josh Fechter will argue on behalf of the short form “poetic” style writing posts that Fechter is credited for pioneering.

“Josh Fechter and Aaron Orendorf don’t know what’s about to hit them haha. But no, as a fan of both video and text based posts, I am very much looking forward to discussing how both these mediums will affect the future of LinkedIn and where its headed.” – Manu Goswami

We by no means believe we are in position to advise LinkedIn and they have the data, but the data we have access to says the long-form story is dead and LinkedIn is no longer, at least for the time being, the primary platform to share your views in writing. That’s tragic. As we stated earlier in this article, we’re guessing that LinkedIn brass are equally concerned about this topic and are already planning a platform tweak to address it.

As for the two of us, we will press forward creating both video and long form story content, that’s just how we both roll. We love LinkedIn and we are #InItTogether! So let’s pose the question to you the reader now, do you agree that video is killing the long-form story and that video content is often not valuable business content?

Of course, less than 1,000 of you are ever likely to see this story anyway…

Swish Goswami is a 20 year old TEDx speaker (signed with the National Speakers Bureau and The AAT Project), venture capitalist (at JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital founded by Brooklyn Nets PF Trevor Booker), LinkedIn Youth Editor (over 55K followers) UN Youth Ambassador and serial entrepreneur. Swish is the co-founder of Dunk, a media network of over 10M followers hyper-focused on basketball and the founder of SuperFan, a tool to help influencers and celebrities discover, connect with and reward their top fans. Swish has notably won Plan Canada’s Top 20 under 20, the United Nation’s Outstanding Youth Leadership award and Startup Canada’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Dr. Josh Luke (a proud GenXer) is America’s Healthcare Affordability Authority, a former hospital CEO and faculty for the University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy. He is a keynote speaker on healthcare affordability, Blockchain in healthcare and healthcare reform. He is an Amazon Best Selling Author and serves on Forbes Coaches Council. He hosts the Health-Wealth Podcast & Radio Show at, on iTunes and YouTube (Dr. Josh Luke). Find him as Dr. Josh Luke on LinkedIn as well. For speaking gigs visit or at 

The Masters of LinkedIn Summit is a first of its kind event being hosted in Los Angeles on May 10, 2018 featuring top LinkedIn personalities from all across the globe. The event is being hosted by the Social Media Masters Series non-profit organization and additional Masters of LinkedIn events are being planned for Toronto, San Francisco, New York and Miami. For more information on registering for or sponsoring the Masters of LinkedIn event, please visit