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The New Face of JHH Human Resources


Sha’pell Peterson and Latoya Dixson man the service center in the entirely revamped Department of Human Resources

There were no flying colors for the JHHSC/JHH Department of Human Resources back in 2001 when employees filled out the inaugural employee satisfaction survey. What they wanted was a more consistent and accessible HR. Since then, HR managers have looked long and hard at ways to reshape the department. This month, they roll out the fruits of their efforts.

“We wanted to change the face of HR,” says Mary Carole Kirkpatrick, Human Resources’ director of health and welfare. The chief goal, she explains, was to better support employees and ultimately, the patients they serve through a more proactive, strategic approach. The restructuring incorporates all of HR’s various components—benefits, compensation, development and training, labor relations, etc.— into a more streamlined and unified department, fronted with a service center, a team of specially trained consultants and a completely revamped Web site.

The service center, located opposite the elevators on the fourth floor of Phipps, is a sort of one-stop shop where employees can take care of any number of needs. Have a question regarding your benefits? Compensation? Pension? The center’s nine client service representatives, all of whom have undergone rigorous training in various aspects of HR and customer service, will have the answer. Need information on training and development? A course catalogue or class schedule? They’ll have all that, too. A form? The Service Center has hundreds.

Currently open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the service center typically sees between 50 and 100 people each day. Kirkpatrick says she expects to keep the center open longer in the future. “We’re trying to capture everything we possibly can at the front desk,” says Dee Jacobs, service center supervisor. “When people come in with a situation that’s more complicated, however, we can refer them to a specialist.”

Let’s say you’re an administrator having a tough time recruiting and retaining workers. You think compensation is the reason. A compensation specialist, however, finds pay right on target. Your case is then referred to an HR consultant. The consultant conducts a needs assessment and uncovers a complex situation involving employee morale and leadership style. The HR consultant then works with your unit to develop a comprehensive action plan.

The HR consultant is an innovation designed to enable HR to work strategically with clients when complex needs arise. There are five consultants, each assigned to several functional units. A sixth person serves as a coordinator, tracking informal claims or complaints, formal records of mediation, grievances and appeals. The coordinator also maintains a database that will elucidate trends, which HR consultants can then take out to their respective, specialty areas.

HR consultants play a key role in labor relations. They work to make sure managers and employees comply with federal, state and local employment laws and can provide guidance on how to interpret and apply labor policies, practices and procedures. Finally, they act as mediators. “The HR consultant can bring the parties together and try to resolve the issue before it becomes a grievance,” says Harry Snow, director of HR consulting and labor relations. “Through the consultants, we’re getting HR out there to assist our clients. We’re showing them our products and making HR more strategically in tune with their business operations.”

With its fresh, fun look and user-friendly feel, HR’s completely redesigned Web site (www.hopkinsmedicine.org/jhhr/) features comprehensive information on policies and procedures, career development and job opportunities at Hopkins. “Hot Topics” is a shortcut designed to take you directly to the information you need. Called to jury duty? Have a question involving overtime pay, dependent tuition, this year’s holiday schedule? Pull down the Hot Topics menu, go right to the answer. Hot Topics allows you to extract pieces of policy without wading through the entire Employee Handbook or Policy and Procedures Manual (both of which are posted in their entirety on the site).

Also on the site are multiple resources to help you do your job. If you’re a manager or supervisor, for instance, you’ll find guidance on how to write a job description, provide feedback to employees or give a performance review. There are salary planning guides, resources for leadership training, guidance in labor relations, and more. The site also offers a complete list of forms. You can download a form to the desk top, print it, fill it out and fax it in.

An integrated jobs section employs software that streamlines and organizes the hiring process, automates time-consuming tasks and eliminates redundant efforts.

The section for the general public has been entirely revamped. Previously, outside applicants had to fill out a new application every time they applied for a job. Now, they can save the application (with user name and password) and retrieve it if and when they apply for another position. Applications can be tracked online by HR staff.

The redesigned Web site, the service center, the HR consultants—it all adds up to big change. Employees asked for a whole new HR. Now they’ve got it.

Anne Bennett Swingle

 

 

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