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Business

AMN CEO Susan Salka on Leadership Lessons From the Pandemic

The staffing executive says it's all about providing a clear, positive vision for teams.
By Susan Salka | |Courtesy of AMN Healthcare
Susan Salka
AMN Healthcare

The pandemic has been a life-changing event. For leaders, it brings a heightened responsibility to double down on compassion, sensitivity, caring, and service to our team members, clients, and communities. Leading in precarious times requires us to be optimists and create a clear, positive vision for the team. This is vital during a crisis. I’ve been fortunate to be part of the team at AMN Healthcare for more than three decades. It’s as though our entire team, including me, have trained our entire careers to be ready for this moment—to make a meaningful impact when our country and communities need us most. We have an important principle of leadership at AMN: If you put other’s needs first, the impact will be greater for all. Consistently successful companies across all industries have a common ingredient: a strong culture. People and the values they share and defend are at the core of a thriving culture. That’s why we make sure we show support to team members and show them how grateful we are. Here are a few ways to put your team first:

Support Your Colleagues.
Over the past year, we have added more floating holidays, increased benefits while reducing costs to team members, and significantly increased the flexibility for people to work the hours that fit their family and personal needs.  

Actively Include Everyone.
There’s incredible strength for any company in diversity, equity, and inclusion. When the voices and experiences of a diverse team are included at all levels, the benefits to the company, our communities, and society as a whole are enormous. 

Embrace Individuality and Passion.
Turn your words into action and help amplify employees’ passions by supporting the causes and events that they hold dear. Provide paid volunteer time off for team members to support their personal causes, including through nonviolent activism. Also consider matching their individual charitable contributions. 

Tone and Action at the Top Matters.
I’ve had several team members comment about how it has been wonderful to “see” me and our executive team so much more frequently over the past two years. Yes, virtual video meetings make that possible, but it took our leaders leaning in to communicate much more frequently and with a level of authenticity, empathy, and confidence that was palpable over broadband connections. 


Susan Salka is CEO of AMN Healthcare, a provider of temporary and permanent placement healthcare staffing. 

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