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news News Tuesday, June 2, 2020 Tuesday, June 2, 2020 3:33 PM - Tuesday, June 2, 2020 3:33 PM

Department spotlight on human resources

Department spotlight on human resources

The human resources (HR) department staff plays an important role in maintaining the Boston Shriners Hospital’s values and goals. HR staff members are responsible for initiatives such as recruitment, reward and recognition, performance management, workforce alignment, compensation, benefits, workplace compliance and work culture. In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, HR has also had to become an effective support system without face-to-face interaction. The HR team shared more about who they are and what their COVID-19 adaptations look like.

Meet Donna

Human Resources Manager Donna Dozier was the first to join the HR team back in July of 2002. Her primary responsibilities are recruitment, new hire orientation, employee relations, assisting with coordinating HR special events (e.g. the annual Service Award Ceremony), and the Benefits Fair. She is also the backup to department director JD Donlin when he is not available. Due to the pandemic, recruitment has been placed on hold for now. Employees can still rely on HR for support, both on-site and virtually. The pandemic has caused fear, confusion, and instability for everyone, and Donna works to mitigate these feelings among employees by providing ample resources and helping to keep all informed. Donna is accustomed to being on-site and available in her office, and emphasized how much she misses serving as an in-person resource daily. As Donna described, “Working remotely is okay from time to time; however, working in HR, you miss the face-to-face connection with employees”.

Donna feels very fortunate to work at a children’s hospital with such a tremendous community. She shared, “It’s just a good place to work. It is a welcoming environment and every employee is respected in his or her role. They contribute so much to the hospital and they do it following our core values; not just because they are being evaluated on each value but because they realize it is the right thing to do.”

Donna described her favorite memory from her very first day at the hospital. “I remember seeing this little baby who appeared to be approximately 10 months old. She was with her young mother in a baby carriage and was bandaged from head to toe. Seeing her was heart wrenching. Fast-forward 18 years later and she graduated from high school, speaks two languages, is out-going and just beautiful! It is a miracle and a happy memory since she is now a young adult and doing so well.”

Meet Bonnie

Bonnie Lassell joined the HR team in 2003 as the human resources assistant, but she started at the Boston Shriners Hospital in February of 2002, working in administration and public relations. Bonnie is responsible for employee requests and benefits as well as onboarding new employees. Her roles include fulfilling requests, helping with benefits, and assisting employees with IT related tasks. Now, Bonnie is working a reduced schedule and she spends most of her time tackling COVID-19 projects, which includes data collection, data sharing, and maintenance tasks such as managing the parking and MBTA pass programs for employees.

Bonnie shared a memory in which she watched a young girl “grow up” in the hospital, and witnessed her face being transformed following a devastating facial burn over nearly two decades of care. Bonnie also recalled when the hospital accepted adult patients after the devastating Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003. These events are reminders of how special it is to work at a mission-based organization.

Meet JD

John Donlin (JD) rounds out the HR team. Since 2013, he has served as the regional director of human resources for the Boston, Erie, and Springfield Shriners Hospitals for Children locations. JD is responsible for ensuring that HR is helping clinical and operations leaders successfully achieve their clinical and business goals. As JD shared, the pandemic caused a tsunami of change in the hospital’s daily operations, and that created a tremendous amount of work for all disciplines. During the first 10 weeks, it felt like a “crisis management” mode. JD explained that when a crisis occurs, it’s important to respond and act in a thoughtful and timely way. He was impressed at how well the staff responded to what was going on. However, behavioral scientists say that being forced to be in a reactive mode can, over time, drain individuals and teams. Thankfully, we have transitioned to a “recovery mode,” which is focused more on planning a post-COVID future. This type of proactive work is more energizing and quite frankly, more enjoyable to be part of. It’s a challenging task to help build the hospital back up to its normal function, but it is certainly mission-critical work.

On a personal level, JD has found working remotely to be somewhat challenging. He shared, “Doing meaningful work remotely without human interaction is not enjoyable, personally. Human beings interact with each other for a reason, and we are hardwired to work in groups and support each other. I look forward to the days when we will be physically together again and won’t have to wear a mask.”

JD’s message to staff is to control what you can control, ask questions, and be optimistic. We will be stronger than ever on the other side. In the meantime, a high priority of the HR team is the well-being of our employees, and the team is doing everything they can to stay close to the staff despite the hurdles that remote work and social distancing create.

Pictured (top right): Donna Dozier, JD Donlin, Bonnie Lassell