More than 21-million people lost their jobs in the United States in May, thanks (in large part) to the pandemic. In downturns like this, most companies first look to trim their workforce. Not CHG. Leaders are saving jobs through core values commitment and to recommendations from our people.
Putting People First
Our number one priority is our core value Putting People First. That meant we needed to find a way to keep employees contributing when their “real” jobs had temporarily disappeared. Our talent acquisition (TA), conventions, events, and culture teams were hit hard. Overnight, the convention industry tanked. And working from home meant fewer corporate events.
April Mackay, conventions manager on CHG’s marketing team, remembers, “At first it was a shock because it happened so quickly. It was really hard.”
April ran the numbers and came up with a plan that would trim thousands of dollars in expenses. “I wanted to do what was right for the business,” she says. But she also worried what was best for the company might not be best for her future. “I had to trust CHG would take care of us.”
That’s where she turned to her colleague, Jen Mejia, for help. Jen was already working on saving jobs through core values commitment.
CHG believes everyone wins when we grow, as individuals and a company. Jen had just been promoted to talent acquisition operations specialist when the pandemic hit. It was a new role and she was excited about helping the TA team with operations improvements.
With a hiring freeze in place due to the pandemic, all 24 members of the TA team were deployed to help fill needs in other areas of the company. Jen’s job now is to help match departments who need help with departments like April’s, who have employees whose normal jobs have temporarily been suspended.
“We’ve kind of taken the approach of looking at their skill sets,” Jen explains. “What is this person already good at? Then we try to match them to something they could be successful at quickly.”
Our Continuous Improvement core value lays a foundation for a growth mindset. Because of this, Jen says employees across the company are willing to pitch in. “I think people want to see us get out of this storm and they’re like, ‘Let’s do it!’” The job match program was proof the company was serious about saving jobs through core values commitment.
So far, Jen and her team have redeployed almost 50 people. Jackie Shaffer is one of them.
Quality and Professionalism
As a corporate events coordinator, Jackie’s job was planning and executing company-wide events — everything from our Making a Difference Week to holiday parties. Since the pandemic put corporate events on the backburner, Jackie’s been flexing in with the accounts receivable department, helping with payment requests and provider reimbursements.
“I enjoy it,” she says. “It’s interesting to learn more about the important behind-the-scenes work.” Jackie says helping the company collect money owed gives her a sense of satisfaction. She knows her work is making a difference.
Jordana Holden, a corporate meeting and event planner, would typically be working on divisional and company events. For now, she’s inputting data for our Global Medical Staffing division and working as a research assistant for the corporate communications team — in all, three very different work opportunities. All resulting from CHG’s efforts at saving jobs through core values commitment.
“I’ve learned there are so many different aspects to the company,” Jordana says, “and how much the company values our people.”
Integrity and Ethics
At CHG, our Integrity and Ethics core value means all our actions and decisions are guided by a commitment to do the right thing. April feels her trust in CHG leadership has not been misplaced. “My leaders have been very active in keeping their eyes and ears open for opportunities for us,” she says.
April is also flexing in for other departments. She’s helping the sales team by monitoring job postings competitors have that CHG may not have known about. April, in turn, is watching out for her team. “I’ve been actively trying to pull in work for them,” she says.
Instead of orchestrating CHG’s convention presence, her team is doing transcription work and helping in accounts receivable. April attended the training sessions for those jobs with her team members so she, too, could understand exactly what was expected. It’s important to her that her teammates stay positive and productive.
That’s Jen’s goal, too. She doesn’t want to match employees with jobs they might not be comfortable with. She gets leaders talking to each other to find out what training or special access might be necessary so that the new flex job is rewarding.
“I feel like I have learned so many new things about the systems we use, but also the different teams that make up CHG and the impact they have,” Jordana says. “I’ve also learned how flexible I can be and open to learning new things. It’s so interesting to see how my experience in events translates into different areas.”
Jackie agrees. “It’s taught me how adaptable I can be.”
Saving jobs through core values: Staying positive and productive
Jen believes the experience may ultimately make CHG stronger in other ways too. When the hiring freeze is lifted, she thinks the experience will give the TA team a better understanding of just what happens in the jobs they recruit for. “I think more than anything I have a deeper understanding of how our business works,” she says.
For Jordana, she’s enjoyed engaging with other CHG employees in ways outside the scope of event planning. While she’ll be happy to return to her “real” job, she says, “I like knowing we are helping the company in areas of need.”