Introduction to the theory of research hospitals (series 7): talent development in research hospitals
Review Article

Introduction to the theory of research hospitals (series 7): talent development in research hospitals

Jun Yao1, Tian Gao2

1Chinese Research Hospital Association, Beijing 100039, China; 2Department of Performance Management, Jinan Central Hospital Affiliated with Shandong University, Jinan 250013, China

Contributions: (I) Conception and design: All authors; (II) Administrative support: All authors; (III) Provision of study materials or patients: All authors; (IV) Collection and assembly of data: All authors; (V) Data analysis and interpretation: All authors; (VI) Manuscript writing: All authors; (VII) Final approval of manuscript: All authors.

Correspondence to: Jun Yao. Chinese Research Hospital Association, Beijing 100039, China. Email:

Abstract: Hospital research talents mainly refer to innovative compounding talents with excellent clinical and scientific research ability. This paper introduces the cultivation and the use of the research talents, the research talents motivation and environment, and the construction of the research team.

Keywords: Talent development; research hospitals

Received: 04 August 2016; Accepted: 06 September 2016; Published: 25 October 2016.

doi: 10.21037/jrh.2016.10.04

Connotation of research talents

In addition to the characteristics of general talents, research talents also have thinking characteristics, including innovative thinking, seeking the differences thinking, transcendental thinking, etc.; and the ability traits, such as innovative research capacity, firm and indomitable perseverance, all-round capabilities, collaborative ability, decision-making management ability and achievement transformation ability etc.

Cultivation of research talents

Discover research talents

Establish a reasonable mechanism for the selection of talents

Talent selection criteria should include “ability standards”, “ethical standards”, “knowledge standards” and “physical standards”.

Optimize the evaluation mechanism of the appointment of talents

Talent evaluation should be built on long-term, both quantity and quality, to comprehensively evaluate talents’ quality, knowledge level, work responsibility, technical level, comprehensive ability, innovation and creativity, work efficiency and other multiple factors. The hospital can adopt term of office limits to the talents and implement competitive promotion to them within their terms of office. In the appointment and evaluation of talents, the hospital should not only pay attention to those who have achieved certain success, but also to focus on supporting those future talents with the potential from the policy.

Create a relaxed environment for the introduction of talent

Research hospitals should keep the steady growth of investment in scientific research funds, provide a broad space for the development of talents, and constantly attract high-level talents to join the research team.

Broaden the policy channels for the introduction of talents

Research hospitals should improve the policy of introduction of high level medical talents, and actively expand channels for introducing talents, pay attention to the combination of rigid introduction of talent and flexible introduction of intelligence. For example, the increasingly frequent academic exchanges and cooperation cannot only enhance the mutual understanding of the researchers, but also provide an opportunity for the introduction of high-level research talent. Also, through project introduction, project cooperation and other forms, the use of the temporary employment model, the flexible working model, expert introduction of migratory bird type and other ways, the hospital can enable external talents to produce research results for the hospital and does not ask the talents to resign from their original organizations. This is a new model of talent introduction, called “I don’t have the talent, but I can use the talent”.

In talent introduction, the hospital should choose the talent who has the potential to rise, and has the same direction of development meeting the hospital’s actual demand.

At the same time, the research hospital must seek to remedy their own weak specialties in order to achieve sustainable and stable development.

Improve the incentive mechanism of talent introduction

The research hospital should establish a fair and strict examination system, form a competition and incentive mechanism so that the talents are “able to work both at the top and down below, survival of the fittest and rational flow”, thus eliminating the barriers to the flow of talent. The talent motivation should avoid the misunderstanding of only paying attention to material incentives and neglecting spiritual motivation.

Correctly handle the contradiction in the talent introduction

First of all, the hospital should avoid the mistake of only giving attention to the introduction of talent and neglecting the use of the talent. According to their own actual need, the hospital needs to develop short, medium and long-term human resource planning, to carefully design a talent training plan and implement dynamic management, and to consider the introduction of talent and talent use as an organic whole.

Second, the hospital should correctly handle the relationship between the introduced talents and local talents. At the same time while giving full attention to the introduction of talent, the hospital should give adequate development space for the local talent. The hospital should take the actual contribution as the evaluation standard to develop a set of scientific and reasonable salary structures and create a relaxed, equal competitive environment. The hospital must avoid the phenomenon of only paying attention to the introduction of external talents and ignoring the use of the internal talents, safeguard the interests of both the introduced talents and the local talents, and promote healthy competition.

Third, the hospital should avoid the phenomenon of only paying attention to individual talents and ignoring talent teams. Innovative research more and more depends on the team work of the talents. The hospital, in the introduction of talents, should consider how to integrate the different types and different levels of talents to form a highly effective team.

Train compound talents

Compound talents usually have a certain depth in a specialized domain. Their scope of knowledge also has a certain width. They can have the qualities and abilities required by two or more professions.

Training compound talents is the only way to cultivate research talents

Cultivation of compound talents should pay attention to the cultivation of medical knowledge and related knowledge, and pay more attention to the combination of medicine and humanities.

To cultivate compound talents is an urgent need of modern science and technology innovation

Only by cultivating a large number of high level interdisciplinary talents, can the research hospital promote its rapid development.

Training compound talents is an important impetus to the development of research hospitals

Because science and technology are the first productivity, so it is very important to cultivate the compound talents with high technology quality.

Compound talents training should pay attention to the following aspects.

Construct interdisciplinary scientific research and innovation platforms to provide support and protection for the compound talents training

At present, research hospitals have more and more emphasized the formation of interdisciplinary “big discipline” and “big platform” to build research and innovation platforms based on interdisciplinary compound talents training.

Construct high quality academic exchange platforms to promote the compound talents training

Exchange and communication are essential in order to realize the chiastopic fusion of multi-discipline or multi-domain. First is their own communication. Second is multi-specialty, multi field exchanges. Third are the exchanges at home and abroad, as well as academic exchanges within the hospital.

Construct a high level incentive policy platform to provide guidelines and objectives for the training of compound talents

First is the target responsibility motivation. Cultivation of compound talents should set up different responsibilities and objectives for the discipline leaders, academic leaders, reserve talents, youth backbone talents and so on. Second are material incentives. On the one hand is that under the same conditions, the compound talents have the priority in the promotion, competition for jobs and other aspects; on the other hand, it refers to more support and reward for scientific research activities of compound talents. Third is the spiritual motivation. Respecting, encouraging and caring for the growth of compound talents, and creating an environment for the talents to stand out from the crowd will be the key to the talent training of the research hospital.

The precise selection of talent

At present, in talent selection, it has shown some characteristics such as the diversity of the selection method, the precision of the evaluation tool and the objectivity of the evaluation standard, etc. Talent selection results are more accurate.

The precise selection can be subdivided into different types.

According to the different selection of subject, it can be divided into selection by leaders, selection by experts and nomination by the masses, etc. Nomination by the masses reflects the expectation of the masses to the candidate, so as to achieve accurate personnel and post matching. This selection method is mainly used in the selection of hospital management talents. Selection by experts is more suitable for the selection of medical, teaching and research talents. Selection by leaders is in common use for the talent selection of all positions.

According to the different objects of selection, the selection can be subdivided into the selection of management talent, technical talent and auxiliary talent. Management talent is in a position of leadership and coordination, therefore, in addition to the basic skills, moral quality is the focus of evaluation, which is more suitable for the selection by leaders or nomination by the masses. The selection of technical talent places more emphasis on professional knowledge and skills, which are more suitable for the selection by experts or a written examination and interview. Auxiliary talent positions have a strong stability, so it is better for the game mode selection.

According to the different channels of the source of talent, the selection can be divided into internal selection and public election. According to the different purposes of selection, the selection can be divided into the selection for promotion, model selection, internal competition, and reserve talent pool selection, etc.

The precise selection should follow the following four principles.

The principle of the combination of selection and promotion

This requires the designing of talent selection objectives depending on the specific job requirements to select suitable talents.

Combination of ability with political integrity

The combination of ability with political integrity is the basic standard for talent selection.

The principle of fair competition

When selecting talents, the hospital should pay attention to create and maintain a fair competitive environment that is conducive to the growth of talent and talent showing itself.

The principle of simple and efficient

The hospital should simplify the selection process to make the selection process become apparent, simple, easy and reliable.

The precise selection method comprises arrangement and comparison method, expert evaluation method, performance evaluation method, competition method, competency model contrast method, talent assessment center method, site observation method, etc. The hospital should choose appropriate methods according to the specific circumstance of the elements such as subject and object, target and environment. The precise selection process generally includes the preparation, selection, recruitment and other stages.

In addition to the precise selection, personalized training, and the latter dynamic assessment is still very necessary.

Personalized training

Individualized talent training mainly aims at the talents selected through the precise selection. The hospital should establish a research talent pool, analyze and assess the entry talents one by one, distinguish their advantages and disadvantages and identify the target gap. And on the basis of personal development, the hospital should organize experts to do comprehensive reviews, clarify standard requirements and training measures.

Methods include complementary research and teaching and mutual promotion between clinical and teaching. The training cycle of the selected talent in the “research talent base” is generally not less than 3 years. In order to ensure the training quality of the selected talent, the hospital should use the method of combining unified training by the organization and supervisor custom training to train talents according to the following system.

Supervisor responsibility system

Each candidate will be one assigned supervisor for the entire training.

Modular elective system

The main characteristics of the training mode are supervisor’s instruction, free selection, independent learning, personalized training, which can meet the demand for talent and the need to improve the training effect.

Personalized practice system

The hospital should encourage the candidate to take some responsibility in the clinical, teaching and scientific research works, including participation in capital operation, the consultation of difficult cases, teaching, fund application and academic participation, etc., paying attention to exercise in practice and scientifically shortening the talent training cycle.

Overseas training system

The candidate without the experience of studying abroad must have more than one year experience of studying abroad in well-known colleges in this field within the training period. The candidate who does not have the conditions to go abroad to study, must have more than half a year of training in the domestic first-class institutions.

Regular seminar system

The hospital should regularly organize research talent salons, invite domestic and foreign well-known experts and scholars to carry out academic lectures, introduce the academic frontier, and guide the entry personnel. The hospital should also organize academic exchanges, organize candidates reporting the progress in their work, hold forums to master the contradictions and problems existing in the process to study and formulate solutions

Funding system

The hospital should set up a “research talent pool” special fund providing funding for the candidates and training mentors in accordance with the relevant standards. Expenditure is mainly used for clinical technological innovation, research project, continuing education, investigation, research, publication of books, etc.

Policy incentive system

The hospital should provide the relevant policy support and tilt to the candidates. For example, the candidates will have priority in the selection of the leadership of department; they will have priority to be recommended to be selected for all kinds of talents training programs or talent award projects; they will be directly recommended to all kinds of government funded overseas study programs, and get the matching subsidies; they will be recommended to apply for all kinds of funded projects; and the hospital will encourage and support them to promote professional degree education, and provide reimbursement for tuition fees, etc.

The hospital should establish an evaluation system matching the personnel training. The hospital should establish incentive and restraint mechanisms, giving an echelon remuneration package for the technical and management talents in a few key positions with outstanding contributions. At the same time, the hospital can also offer spiritual encouragement combining awarding the honorary title and providing opportunities for further study.

Dynamic evaluation of talents

Dynamic evaluation is essentially a performance evaluation focusing on “attitude, ability and performance”. It is a process management rather than the assessment of the results. It decomposes the long-term goals into annual, quarterly and monthly indicators, and constantly supervises staff to achieve and complete them.

The hospital, in the evaluation process, should follow the principles of fairness, stringency, objectivity, openness, combining rewards and punishments, differences and feedback, etc. Evaluation should be treated differently according to the different characteristics of personnel classification, and the evaluation index should be selected based on the actual situation of the hospital, and be objective, fair and standardized. The hospital should establish an evaluation appeal system.

The use of research talents

The use of talents should pay attention to make use of their advantages, forgive their shortcomings, achieve reasonable matches and determine the overall best. It should improve human resource allocation and form a rational structure of the talent group to achieve the overall best performance at age ladder, knowledge complementary, professions supplementary and temperament coordination.

Research talent incentive

For talent management of the hospital, an effective incentive can ignite the passion of talents, releasing their huge potential driving force and dedicating their enthusiasm for the hospital vision and goals.

The incentive process

Talent incentive model (Figure 1)

Figure 1 A comprehensive model of talent incentive process. +, shows that the increase of the selected variables will lead to the increase of the variables in the direction of arrow; −, shows that the increase of the selected variables will lead to the decrease of the variables in the direction of arrow; .shows when several variables simultaneously impact on one variable, its effect is determined by the specific rules.

Factors of influencing talent training are mainly divided into environmental variables, process variables and state variables through a simple analysis of the incentive theory and model, combined with the actual situation of hospital talent incentive.

Environmental variables

Environmental variables refer to the influence of the platform environment of the hospital on talent growth, including the overall strength of the hospital, equipment and research conditions, etc.

Process variables

Process variables refer to the relevant factors that directly influence the decision-making of the talent and their personal interests in the process of talent growth, such as intrinsic rewards, external rewards, value of reward, etc.

State variables

State variables refer to the sense of achievement, performance evaluation standard, personal goals, goal oriented behavior and the difficulty of the work, fairness comparison, etc.

The implementation of talent incentive should pay attention to understand the expectations and requirements of the talent; set reasonable goals; take multi-level incentives, including establishing scientific talent incentive mechanism, establishing a reasonable salary system, carrying forward the spirit of the culture motivation and paying attention to the incentive after the end of the task, etc. It also should evaluate the incentive process in a timely manner.

Incentive methods

Common incentive methods include target excitation method, organizational culture motivation method, crisis excitation method, emotional encouraging method, example motivation method, contests and competitions excitation method, achievements excitation method, ambient excitation method, etc.

The environment for research talents

The hospital should fully mobilize all forces to actively participate in the environment for construction of talent, vigorously create an inclusive policy atmosphere for diversified talent personalities and a democratic, relaxed academic atmosphere, gradually form a kind of public attitude to encourage innovation, formulate a harmonious interpersonal relationship environment and a talent life environment of mutual understanding and respect.

The hospital should establish rewards and penalties system focused on medical ethics, establish hospital values, form the internal cohesion and centripetal force.

The hospital should also optimize the working environment and improve “the hard environment”. The configuration of the high-end equipment for clinical research and advanced instruments can reinforce the ability of innovation of science and technology and ensure a stable backbone team. At the same time, the hospital should strengthen the use and training of talent and create a harmonious atmosphere and environment for talents to enhance “the soft environment”.

The hospital should integrate its internal resources, strengthen cooperation between hospitals, expand the international space based on the domestic conditions, set up big scientific research ideas and construct a sharing platform of the big research. The hospital can provide junior and intermediate doctors opportunities to make them pursue advanced studies toward their skilled specialty direction.

The hospital also should build a digital hospital, providing a first-class information interaction platform for talent development.

The hospital needs to improve the living environment, providing necessary material guarantee for talents (salary, housing, insurance, etc.).

The hospital should establish a job responsibility and performance-based evaluation and incentive system focusing on the quality of service. The hospital should set the relevant salary level according to the different grades of talents. Academicians, discipline leaders, persons with high professional titles, post-doctors, individuals with a PhD from abroad, enjoy different annual salary according to hospital regulations.

The construction of research team

The establishment of core talents

The talent training mode of the research hospital should transfer from “personal business type” to “team construction type”. It is necessary to emphasize the leading role of academic leaders and outstanding talents in a discipline, at the same time, to pay attention to the cultivation and construction of innovation teams.

The core talents should have strong dedication and sense of responsibility, first-class professional and technical level, innovative spirit, team cooperation consciousness and ability in organization and coordination. The core talents should be the pioneers of new business, the leader of the development direction and the cultivators of talent echelon. The team provides support for the development of core talents. The core talent also leads direction for the innovation and development of the team and the cultivation of the reserve elite and backbone. The hospital, in team building, needs to pay attention to the allocation and connection of talents of each echelon to keep a good intrinsic development power of the team.

For the training and selection of the core talents, first, the hospital should rely on their own cultivation. The hospital can establish a talent pool according to the different talents level standards, such as academician candidates, outstanding academic leaders, academic leader candidates, etc., and select talents of different ages to enter into the talent pool.

The hospital should tailor training plans for different talents, regularly assess the talent training, and keep the superior and eliminate the inferior. It should take targeted measures for the talents of different levels, for example, according to the status of the relative lack of time to do research work of the clinical talents, the hospital should implement an academic leave system, allowing them to enjoy 20–30 days sabbatical to carry out academic exchanges or engage in basic research. For instance, the hospital can set up personnel training special funds and funding to carry out innovation research to accelerate the pace of growth of young talents. The hospital should also create opportunities of learning and communication for talents to go to international famous medical hospitals and universities and scientific research institutions, provide opportunities for talents to organize international conferences and serve as an important academic tenure in the industry, enhance the cooperation of medical treatment and scientific research and talent training with domestic and foreign counterparts, and provide a stage and way of international learning and communication for talent growth.

Second, the hospital should select and introduce talents according to the requirements of discipline and hospital development, issue preferential policies, give salary, work platform, individual housing and other aspects of favorable conditions to enhance the attractiveness to core talents. The hospital should broaden the channels to introduce talents through public recruitment. At the same time, it should give full play to the appeal of experts and scholars to find talent. As for some special or urgently-needed talent, the hospital should take an unconventional approach to rapidly and timely introduce them. The hospital should establish new ideas of talent introduction and use “I do not own the talent, but I can use it”, to adopt flexible policies. It should also improve talent and intelligence introduction of efficacy through the introduction of scientific research cooperation, project introduction and experts work with migratory bird type, etc.

The traction of major tasks

The major tasks mainly refer to the medical scientific research activities the hospital undertakes with the basic characteristics of inheritance, creativity and exploration. Under the new situation, the major medical scientific research task the hospital undertakes is an important carrier of professional training. The major task is the “cornerstone” of research talent training. It can provide more opportunities of scientific research and practice for the talent, provide them more opportunities to participate in the management and provide them more opportunities for international exchange. Introducing outstanding talents to join the team based on the major task for the platform is an effective way to enhance the quality of the research talent team. The major task is “the touchstone” of testing research talent teams, which can test research ability, training ability and team cohesion of research talents.

The allocation of auxiliary talent

The development of talent teams cannot be successful without the support of auxiliary talent. Auxiliary talent can be defined as: in addition to the core talent of the team, the other talent who has a certain professional knowledge or special skills, can creatively work in their respective posts to contribute to the development and construction of the talent team.

The allocation of auxiliary personnel should embrace everything that is useful, give full play to talent’s strong points, be reasonable for the structure of the echelon, be capable and highly efficient, and be united and collaborative. The training and use of auxiliary talent should achieve the combination of comprehensive improvement and allocation with emphasis, give priority to guarantee the key disciplines and short specialties. The hospital should achieve the combination of choosing the right people to do the right thing and training the right people, the combination of self pursuit and team motivation. The hospital should give full consideration to meet the needs of talents of respect, achievement and self realization in order to ensure meeting the material interests.

The construction of innovation team (Figure 2)

Figure 2 The process of innovation team construction.

The level of academic innovation team should have a clear advantage in the industry, the research it engaged in should have a clear prospect of industrialization or intellectual property rights, its technical route and research scheme should be feasible. An outstanding scientific and technological innovation team must have an excellent team leader as the core, have a clear study target and stable direction, and have adequate research funding as a guarantee.

An outstanding innovation team must have a high level of academic echelon with a reasonable structure. Cross disciplinary and resource sharing is the key of the outstanding innovation team. Reasonable allocation of academic echelon is the essence of scientific research and innovation team, is conducive to the formation of multidimensional thinking mode and complementary advantages of the team. An echelon generally has 1 discipline leader, 2–3 academic leaders, several academic backbones and several other academics. The knowledge “collision” of different disciplines and different levels within the team will produce more new concepts and new ideas, get greater innovation power and give full play to the overall team synergy to produce the group’s effect that 1 plus 1 is greater than 2.


The authors would like to thank Dr. Robert Peterson for proofreading the paper.


Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

doi: 10.21037/jrh.2016.10.04
Cite this article as: Yao J, Gao T. Introduction to the theory of research hospitals (series 7): talent development in research hospitals. J Res Hosp 2016;1:19.


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