Meet my fellow HR friend Alex, currently an HR Business Partner for a large American health care organization.
Jeff - Alex, tell us a little bit about you first. Your career history and experience.
Alex – Boy, this is a tough question! Where do I start? My name is Alex Roberson, and I reside in Arlington, Texas. A fun fact about me is I LOVE cruising. I am 28 years old and “living the dream” as they say. It all started when I was in college. My professor asked us to interview someone we wanted to be when we grew up. My dream job was to be in radio, working for the legendary Kidd Kraddick. I ended up meeting one of his co-hosts on the morning show and was offered an internship which opened many doors for me. Having the internship on my resume definitely helped as everyone recognized the Kidd Kraddick name. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for many years as head doorman, then moving into healthcare marketing where I was introduced to the lovely life of HR. I worked for a smaller hospital in Fort Worth, Texas in a smaller office with a few different department leaders. My main position was marketing but we worked as a team and I was able to learn a lot about the field of HR. after three years of working with the company in marketing, I decided to check out the HR world full-time. I am now the HR Business Partner for a sister hospital in Arlington, Texas and I am loving every minute of it.
Jeff - What brought you into the field of HR?
Alex - Since we shared the same office as HR, I would always to my best to answer the phones before the HR staff and I learned as much as I possibly could. I am almost always trying to learn other positions and help out when I have free time. The VP of HR noticed my willingness to help and the rest is history.
Jeff - What are some of the challenges you face day to day in your role?
Alex – I wouldn’t necessarily call this a challenge, but more of a major sense of urgency. In healthcare, many positions require different licensure and certifications in order for them to be compliant. With over 1,500 employees working at any given time, we are required to run daily audits to see if each employee is compliant. This is always an urgent matter that needs to be addressed immediately with their leader if the employee is not compliant. I would say that a challenge I run into is that I need a clone. Managing time is something everyone has difficulty with. The first thing I so each morning is look at my calendar for the day and figure out what my priorities are and then make a “laundry” list of my duties for the day.
Jeff - What do you find is the most rewarding part of working in HR.
Alex – This is my favorite question! The most rewarding part of my position is seeing the smile on our employees faces when we reward them for going above and beyond. I am in charge of the rewards and recognition program, planning the annual holiday party, and all employee appreciation week activities. As a leader in HR, I always place myself in their shoes. I take a step back and say “what would they want?” I’ve been planning our annual employee appreciation week over the last few months and we have so many great things planned for our employees! I think one of the most popular activities will be the massage company that will come in and provide a 15 minute chair massage to each employee. Another rewarding part of my job would be meeting all of our new hires. New hires have a special place in my heart. I remember when I was younger and starting my career in healthcare and how intimidating everything was. I do my absolute best to get on their level and speak to them in a friendly way instead of abusing my power and intimidate them. If you provide a smile and a positive attitude to everyone you come across in your life, they will hopefully reciprocate.
Jeff - What do you feel makes your role in healthcare/HR different than say what I do in the travel industry?
Alex - Absolutely nothing. We are all professionals and are here to take care of our employees. Working in the travel industry and healthcare are similar as far as diversity. Many of our employees have traveled here from overseas to pursue their dream of providing cost-effective healthcare. Now there are differences, of course, but I believe we are all here to serve a purpose. My purpose is to make sure our employees are providing compassionate care and working in a safe environment.
Jeff – What advice would you give to perspective candidates or students considering a career in HR?
Alex – Do anything you can to be seen by others. Never be comfortable! One thing that worked for me is to say “yes” to everything early on in my career. Whether that be offering to run a presentation for the CEO or my VP, I always made myself available to help. Make connections and network as much as you can.
Jeff - What changes to our industry do you foresee in the next 5-10 years?
Alex - Unfortunately, I’ve already seen a lot of HR initiatives being centralized at a corporate level. If an employee calls us for certain questions, we are asked to have them call the HR call center. I always answer their questions for them, but we do have a team of HR professionals working at a call center at our corporate office. The centralization of HR is taking over I think.
Jeff - What are your additional thoughts?
Alex – Being comfortable is something I’ve never been. I am always keeping an eye out for what is next. I am a huge fan of traveling and I’ve been looking at other types of HR work in a different field. I would like to broaden my horizon and push myself even more to learn as much as possible.
As you can see, Alex has great insight into the human resources practices within healthcare. Alex can be contacted directly; firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,