Background One of the main goals of Human Resource Management (HRM) is to increase the performance of organizations. However, few studies have explicitly addressed the multidimensional character of performance and linked HR practices to various outcome dimensions. This study therefore adds to the literature by relating HR practices to three outcome dimensions: financial, organizational and employee (HR) outcomes. Furthermore, we will analyze how HR practices influence these outcome dimensions, focusing on the mediating role of job satisfaction. Methods This study uses a unique dataset, based on the ‘ActiZ Benchmark in Healthcare’, a benchmark study conducted in Dutch home care, nursing care and care homes. Data from autumn 2010 to autumn 2011 were analyzed. In total, 162 organizations participated during this period (approximately 35% of all Dutch care organizations). Employee data were collected using a questionnaire (61,061 individuals, response rate 42%). Clients were surveyed using the Client Quality Index for long term care, via stratified sampling. Financial outcomes were collected using annual reports. SEM analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses. Results It was found that HR practices are – directly or indirectly – linked to all three outcomes. The use of HR practices is related to improved financial outcomes (measure: net margin), organizational outcomes (measure: client satisfaction) and HR outcomes (measure: sickness absence). The impact of HR practices on HR outcomes and organizational outcomes proved substantially larger than their impact on financial outcomes. Furthermore, with respect to HR and organizational outcomes, the hypotheses concerning the full mediating effect of job satisfaction are confirmed. This is in line with the view that employee attitudes are an important element in the black box between HRM and performance. Conclusion The results underscore the importance of HRM in the healthcare sector, especially for HR and organizational outcomes. Further analyses of HRM in the healthcare sector will prove to be a productive endeavor for both scholars and HR managers.
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