Since our organization was founded, our people have put their heart, passion, and hard work into bringing best-in-class care to our ever-growing patient population. As our scope and footprint grows, we are simultaneously dedicated to growing policies and programs that empower our people.

Earlier this year, we internally released our People Promise, a commitment to employees that parallels our Patient Promise: “We promise to fight for the greatest good of our patients, and that means empowering our people to bring their best selves to work every day. We strive to create an environment that is safe, service-driven, forward-thinking, promotes health and healing, and celebrates everyone’s individual contribution to our mission.”  

We sat down with John Rhodes, MSHRM, SHRM-CP, PHR, to discuss another monumental step toward our goal of becoming the best place to work in healthcare: the transition to a People Operations department.

What is the purpose of People Operations at Proactive MD?

People Operations, as opposed to Human Resources, has more to do with where we align ourselves in Proactive MD. Human Resources is an outdated term and is often misconstrued as being the “principal’s office” or where you go when you’re in trouble. Of course, policies and ensuring fair treatment across the board is part of Human Resources and part of People Operations, but we really wanted to transition my team into something that is much broader than that.

It’s going to be more about creating efficient, effective, and positive people experiences from before you come into the organization to, if and when you leave the organization, focusing more on how we can empower our people across the board to bring their best selves to work every day and to put their best foot forward.

Can you describe how this is more than just a name change?

The name change is a big part of it because despite having the word “human” in it, the Human Resources department has gotten a reputation over the years as being robotic, paper pushers. What we really strive to be on this team and at Proactive MD is a place to drive our culture and drive our organization forward with a people perspective … This is about aligning our department to take on more operational aspects so we can be proactive: creating those new processes, centralizing information so that it’s available to all of our employees, taking a proactive approach to making the people experience better, as opposed to being reactive.

How do you hope this change impacts our employees?

I hope our employees see a change that makes the information they need more readily accessible. One thing that we really want to push for is making sure that communication is as streamlined across the board as possible and making sure that our people experience is seamless. We have some exciting things that are already in the works that I think are going to help a lot, but this is really about just making sure that we’re making Proactive MD the best place to work.

We want to make sure that this is a team that remains a positive influence throughout the company as we grow and make sure that we are aligning ourselves to be forward thinking and always in a spirit of continuous improvement.

Will this change have an Impact on patients or clients as well as employees?

In the long term we hope there is a more cohesive workforce, allowing people to focus on patient care and not any of the behind-the-scenes stuff. This is going to lead to people being able to live out our patient promise more and more each day. We are asking employers and our clients to be very forward thinking with us. I want us to set that example in everything that we’re doing, and I think this is a really positive step in that direction.

We’re taking something that can sometimes be seen as a negative, and we’re trying to rethink that in a way that adds a better value and benefit to our employees. In the same way, we’re asking our clients to do that with us. We want it to be in the same spirit of thinking about solutions creatively and giving a better value.

How is this serving the broader mission, vision, and values of Proactive MD?

Everything we do at Proactive MD is guided by our patient promise: we are only and always about the patient; we promise to always fight for their greatest good. This is a move that will ultimately be in service to our patients. We are thinking about our employees and how we want them to be able to focus all their energy on patient care. We are focused on ways that we can integrate communication and make the people experience more streamlined.

We hope that this is going to steer the direction back toward the patient even more than it already does. We obviously have great team members that do really incredible things every day, and we want to be in service to them. When we think about our behavior standards, we’re service driven, we want to be in a spirit of continuous improvement, and have integrity in our work, this change really answers all of those. We want to make PMD the best place it can be to work and in turn, increase our capacity for patient care on the front lines.

Is this name change connected in any way to our recently developed People Promise?

The People Promise is what sparked the conversation. Being in development of the People Promise, a new culture code, and how we want to intentionally define and live out our culture every day was sort of the impetus for all of this. It got us thinking of things that we are doing now that we can do differently, and one of those things is needing to be sure that we are not leaving our current employees behind as we grow. I don’t think that has ever really happened, but we want to get in front of that.

Putting those standards in place and putting that People Promise in place really helped us think strategically about where we want our efforts to be focused. As we’re asking these people to live at work according to these principles, we want to ensure that we as the company are doing that as well. We’ve got a lot of really cool things to come, and I’m really excited about it.