Objective This study examined strategic human resource management (SHRM) activities in two case hospitals relative to their approach to greenfield site success. Methods A comparative case study analysis approach was used, with documents sourced from public, open-access sites. The theoretical framework of crisis management theory’s (CMT) proactive management and open communication channels was used to examine the documents, which were annual reports addressing both hospitals’ first year of performance, union publications and transcripts of relevant parliamentary inquiries. Results The hospital that effectively used CMT in its first 12 months was demonstratively more ‘successful’ than the hospital that reported to not have effectively used CMT. ‘Success’ in this project was articulated as the hospital’s ability to consolidate operations, without ongoing negative media attention, after 12 months. Conclusion This study provided an identification of how the use of CMT in a hospital’s greenfield stage can increase the hospital’s chances of ‘success’. What is known about the topic? Journal and media articles illustrated a gap in greenfield human resource management (HRM) regarding successful consolidation, especially the healthcare context. Although manufacturing firms are addressed in academic literature in a greenfield context, there is a lack of knowledge concerning successful greenfield HRM in a healthcare context. What does this paper add? This study is among the first to identify the role of CMT in successful greenfield site establishment by identifying its presence in management activities. What are the implications for practitioners? The findings of this study suggest a potential link between the implementation of CMT and greenfield site success. This could allow future greenfield healthcare sites to operate with less cost and risk. The lack of stakeholder participation in the present study limits the applicability of its findings. However, archival document analysis provides a strong foundation for future studies.