Throughout my career in People Operations, I’ve always thought of my role as “internal customer service.” All employees — from entry-level new hires to seasoned C-suite executives — are valued, distinguished customers. Just as one of Privia Health’s goals is to enable medical providers to work at the top of their license, People Operations enables every “customer” to perform at their peak ability. Our recent recognition as a Top Workplace USA by Energage affirms that work.
Being a top workplace is about much more than efficiency and effectiveness. It also involves engaging and supporting people in their entirety. I have always strived to cultivate a safe working environment free of unwanted distractions. Our People Operations team creates a space where employees find fulfillment in the work they do and inspiration in those they work with. While this may sound like a utopian daydream to some, I see it as an attainable ideal state. A goal we constantly aim for, as our CEO, Shawn Morris, noted in a recent podcast, is “operational excellence.” That ambitious goal is an ongoing commitment we pursue day in day out.
Achieving Ambitious Goals
When this pursuit feels overwhelming or impossible, I remind myself of the amazing progress we’ve made. Two years ago, when I assumed leadership of People Operations, employees’ candid feedback described an “inconsistent experience.” To overcome this challenge, I set a high standard for equitable and inclusive employee engagement and held managers accountable for reaching that level. That “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” is — and will likely remain — the strategic imperative for the rest of my career. These are the key ways we tackled that BHAG:
- Differentiate. Our leaders and managers have embraced their vital role in enriching the employment experience of each person on their teams. To do so, we focus on the unique demands of every role and the unique capabilities of every employee.
- Deliver. People managers are realistic with expectations during the interview process so we hire people into roles that are both challenging and rewarding. We keep our promises about roles, responsibilities, and opportunities for advancement.
- Communicate. Our managers meet monthly to share best practices on a variety of topics. This forum has become an integral part of our success in aligning the expectations of engagement across the organization.
- Do the Right Thing. This core value guides our People Operations’ decision-making. This principle rarely leads to the easiest, fastest solution, but ensures that the result is fair and equitable treatment that is scalable for our growing organization. When a person’s potential is realized, they, in turn, inspire others around them, leading to the virtuous cycle of retaining and attracting best-in-class talent.
Leading During a Crisis
COVID-19 has made consistency increasingly important. We’ve countered fear and uncertainty by providing predictability, stability, and reliability to ease the ups and downs of working during a pandemic.
“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance,” said Eric Rubino, CEO of Energage. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward.”
Celebrate Wins While Moving Forward
While the recognition as a Top Workplace USA was never our goal, it is a signal that we’re on the right path. We’ll continue to do the work we started, introduce new elements to further enhance the experience, and update processes and policies to serve our evolving objectives.
I am personally grateful for the opportunity to lead a team of talented People Operations professionals, influence and inspire people managers and leaders, and experience a working environment that continues to get closer to the workplace utopia of my dreams.