These Are Unusual Times

Last month, I wrote about what it’s been like to work in a hospital during the time of COVID-19. What’s changed since then? I’d say quite a lot. The question really is, of all that has changed, what will stick? Basic change management principles tell us that when we make changes, we “unfreeze” and then “refreeze” after changes have been completed. This basic principle is very simplistic. Once reality sets in, we soon realize refreezing may not be possible depending on the scale and speed of changes. From my perspective, there are two major changes that have rocked all our […]

Working Through COVID-19

I don’t think I really understood what it would be like to work in a hospital when COVID-19 hit us. No, I am not on the front line caring for patients, but I am right in the thick of things none the less. Prior to COVID-19, my role in Human Resources found me focusing on retention, engagement, compliance, and reinvigorating our Diversity Council. It seemed as if overnight, things changed. I was now educating myself on National Incident Command training and became part of our hospital’s Incident Command Center; my new jobs became Support Branch Director, and Personnel Manager. In […]

White Space at Work

On a road trip back from Virginia, I listened to an interview with Juliete Funt, CEO of White Space at Work. I had listened to her about a year ago, but listening to her a second time reminded me of the importance of White Space, at work, and at home. What is White Space? It can be defined as a strategic pause between activities. It can be as short as a few seconds, to as long as a few hours. “These thoughtful pauses laced throughout the busyness of the workday are the oxygen that allows everything to catch fire,” says […]

Employee Wellness

Working in the healthcare arena has opened my eyes to the increased focus on mental health, and the importance of employee wellness. In years past, employers had the mindset that stress inducers were primarily emanating from personal or home-life situations. This thinking has evolved to acknowledge stress is also emerging from the workplace. In response to rising levels of stress, employers are rising to the challenge. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) 90% of US employers are offering some component of mental health coverage in the form of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), mental-health coverage, substance […]

Look What I Just Read!

In reading through the latest edition of Human Resources Executive magazine, I came across an article close to my heart, “How D&I Can Drive Business Success.” The article does a wonderful job laying out the many reasons why diversity in the workplace is still not where it needs to be, and balances that with a deeper understanding of inclusion. In the US, workers filed over 76,000 complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2018, with charges of retaliation accounting for just over 50% of complaints, followed by discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, disability, and race. This isn’t […]

Coping With Death at Work

Certainly not an uplifting topic, but something that does happen on occasion is the death of a coworker. Whether this coworker was diagnosed with an illness months prior, or the death is sudden, the loss of a coworker is one of those things that can impact everyone. It is in these times where managers and staff will reach out to Human Resources to ask, “What can we do, or what should we do for our team?” The answer to these questions may vary depending on situations, but the subsequent paragraphs will provide some guidance. What I usually tell these managers […]

Fostering an Inclusive Climate

Employees often see themselves as passive recipients of a work climate, as if it is something that is created by the organization for which they work. But the reality is that employees co-create the climate, along with the manager/leader of the department. This is a fascinating topic to explore, and a continuous challenge. I recently discussed this topic with another HR professional as we delved into three different departments within the same organization. In all three departments, employees have complained about low morale, gossiping, lack of respect for one another, and low trust. This has been an ongoing theme for […]

In the Heat of the Moment

Let’s face it, the workplace can often times prove challenging. It’s not always easy to put your best foot forward. And when caught in the act, we are often confronted with feedback, whether we ask for it or not. In the heat of the moment, sometimes the feedback comes across as criticism rather than helpful; as a personal dig rather than a valuable piece of advice. As you can likely imagine, working in healthcare provides many “feedback” opportunities. Working in an industry where customer service is measured constantly, the pressure of financial loss hangs in the background if we don’t […]

Appreciate Your Appreciation

Good news for home sellers in many parts of the US. It’s time to “appreciate your appreciation,” if you are thinking of selling your home. Being a homeowner, these days just might make you feel like a terribly savvy investor, especially in the western US. Home sellers are realizing a sizable return on their investment according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Those who sold their homes in the first quarter of 2019 made a 31.5% return, pocketing an average gain of $57,500. “While home seller gains are down from Q4 2018’s $60,000, they are still up year over year, when price […]

What Kind of Manager Are You?

I’ve had occasion to watch managers in action over my career. I think we can all agree that managers display many different styles, from completely hands-off to overly involved, and somewhere in between. What is most interesting for me as an HR practitioner is to monitor the impact the varying styles have on employees. When I say “management style,” I’m referring to the way a manager makes decisions relating to their subordinates. The wrong management style demotivates employees, kills productivity, and causes employees to disengage and leave. One successful management style is known as the “democratic” manager. These managers are […]