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Using HR as a Strategic Business Advantage in a Pandemic and Beyond

Posted by Meduit RCM on Feb 17, 2021 9:37:20 AM

Spotlight on Tracy White, Senior Vice President of Human Resources

An executive human resources (HR) professional with over 20 years of HR experience in large, publicly traded companies, Tracy joined Meduit in March 2019 and oversees the Human Resources division for the company. She earned her BS in Psychology from East Tennessee State University and MA in Organizational Management from Tusculum University. In her spare time, you’ll find Tracy paddleboarding or boating with her husband and spending time with their dog Karma. We sat down with Tracy to talk about how the Meduit HR team responded to the workforce challenges brought by COVID-19.

Q: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the workforce. How did you lead the Meduit team quickly to transform into a flexible work environment?

There was so much work that had to be done in a short period of time. We quickly had to determine how we would maintain continuity of service to our clients and their patients. Historically, we were not a company with staff working remotely, so transforming from a standard office environment to a hybrid that included staff working from home was a challenge. Our employees were worried about coming in to an office. We immediately had to respond to their concerns while maintaining business continuity.

We calculated that we needed an additional 700–800 laptops to move a big part of our staff to work from home. We literally scoured Best Buy and other stores to procure, set up and distribute laptops within a couple of weeks.

It was truly all hands on deck. One of the key things we did that I’m very proud of is that we worked hard to keep our employees engaged and informed so they always knew what was going on. We never closed most of our offices but followed CDC guidelines. We went above and beyond to institute electrostatic cleaning and the appropriate social distancing measures to keep employees who continued to work in our offices safe. We also had to take a look at our attendance policies and made changes there to accommodate our employees’ personal challenges such as having children home from school.

Our clients were also running short on staff due to the pandemic. They often turned to us to help them keep up with their own work, which meant we stepped in to take on more work on their behalf.

Q: Do you think this workforce transformation has revealed new ways of engaging with employees as well as client teams that will continue even after COVID-19?

A: Even though our organization has not worked remotely prior to COVID-19, we’ve realized that we can keep our employees more satisfied by having a work-from-home option going forward. Early in the pandemic, as we were shifting our staff to working from home, we sent out pulse surveys to ask if they were getting the information, equipment and help they needed and to identify pain points. We’ve been able to make adjustments along the way to make it easier for our staff. In fact, we have a big work-from-home project going on right now that is really intended go long-term.

Q: Meduit’s employee engagement scores have significantly improved over this same timeframe. To what do you attribute that rise in employee engagement during this challenging time?

A: We really focused on employee engagement, which included moving forward with our employee survey. Remarkably, we had 81% employee participation, which is better than most companies have when not in a crisis. My team and I launched an information room on our intranet where we posted all kinds of information regarding guidelines and tips on how to stay healthy. Going above and beyond what we normally did and maintaining transparency helped our employees feel that they knew what was happening. Even though we did have to lay off some staff, I think that our employees were pleased that we were honest in our communications to them.

Right before the pandemic hit, we launched Meduit’s Living Our Values program to recognize our staff members. On a quarterly basis, we chose an individual from each of our offices to honor. After COVID-19 hit, we didn’t stop that program – we just found a way to do it differently and do it electronically. We really felt that it was important to keep things as normal as possible. In addition, we’d just started our Bright Ideas program where employees could submit process improvement ideas. We continued that program and have received close to 50 Bright Ideas submissions this year. That’s a high level of engagement that we’re proud of.

Jeff Nieman and I also found a way to take our Town Halls and do them virtually. The last Town Hall we’d done in person was in our Waco office in February. To transform the Town Halls, we sent out a request to the Meduit team requesting questions that they’d like answered about the company and anything they’d like to know from Jeff, me or any other senior leader in the organization. We answered all of those questions in a virtual Q&A session and received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Q: Can you share a bit about your history and what drew you to Meduit?

A: Though I had intended to go to medical school, I migrated to HR, which is very people -centric – which I like. When I started looking at Meduit, I was intrigued by working in this part of the healthcare space. When I had a chance to meet the executive team, I saw their passion for what they do and felt it was an excellent opportunity. It just seemed like a really good fit that clicked for me.

Q: What would you like prospective Meduit team members to know about the company?

A: I’ve worked for all kinds of companies in my career. Meduit is a really good organization to work for. It is innovative and growing. We strive to be an employer of choice in the markets where we are located. We are very proud that we have a diverse workforce. We have a lot of opportunities for staff development, including our new college coaching program that our employees or anyone in their household can take to expand their educational opportunities. We’re also implementing a day care backup plan to help our team members when they need emergency day care.

We really do try to live by our company’s values, and I think our employees have really seen that this year. So many who work here have a passion for helping our clients and their patients. Prospective team members who have that same passion will easily find a home here.

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