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As the healthcare industry ramps up on diversity, wellness, and other long-term transformations, health systems are finding new ways to hire and retain executives in charge of these initiatives. Experts say competition to fill executive roles is rising as well, forcing health systems to find new means of attracting and retaining talent.

"The pandemic permanently changed the nature of the employer-employee relationship and not in a way that employers or boards probably would want," said Steve Sullivan, managing director (retired) in the Chicago office of executive compensation consulting firm Pearl Meyer.

Some providers are working with compensation committees to offer executives non-qualified retirement plans as part of performance-driven long-term incentives. Those packages were rare just three years ago, Sullivan said.

Not-for-profit systems also floated car allowances, estate planning advisory services, and hybrid life insurance plans as perks to attract talent, he said, adding, "You're in a market where the pendulum has swung to the seller, not the buyer."

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