Spotlight Magellan Health: Healthcare HR Professionals

National Healthcare Human Resources Professionals Week recognizes the indispensable contributions of human resources professionals within the healthcare sector. Celebrated the week of March 11-15, these dedicated individuals serve as the backbone of healthcare institutions. Human resources professionals navigate complex regulatory landscapes, address personnel challenges, and cultivate environments that focus on employee well-being. We’re spotlighting three of Magellan Health’s HR professionals who each explain why they chose a career in healthcare HR, and the most rewarding and challenging aspects of working in this field:

  • Angela Navarro, human resources business consultant, Magellan Federal
  • Angie Pinto, compensation consultant, human resources, Magellan Federal
  • Kathy Fox, senior director, payroll and Workday technology, Magellan Health

Continue reading to learn more from Angela, Angie, and Kathy on their experiences as healthcare HR professionals:

Why did you want to pursue healthcare HR and what is the most rewarding aspect of working in this field? 

Angela: My family consists of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. I knew those fields were not my passion, however I still wanted to help people and make a difference. Instead of saying, “I help care for people,” I can now say, “I care for the people, who care for the people.” I find it most rewarding to see how I can assist healthcare workers and take some of the weight off their backs during their times of need.

Angie: I love helping people! Working with people, solving problems, and coming up with a resolution together is so rewarding. That combined with my love of compensation has brought me to HR.

Kathy: HR found me, and it has been great! I come from a process improvement background and then transferred to HR. Working in payroll and HR technology provided me with the opportunity to help create a positive environment for company employees through timely pay and ensuring personal data is documented and protected.

What are some challenges you face in this profession and how do you overcome them?

Angela: In every profession there are both good and bad aspects. Employee relations may have challenges, but it is up to me to find the positive aspects and propose a solution for every challenge.

Angie: There are challenges (or adventures as I sometimes call it). It could be the market and specific jobs, new business and contracts, updated policies, etc. We overcome these challenges by working with leadership and fellow HR partners collaboratively. Working in this field requires a team effort!

Kathy: Working with a diverse group of individuals can be daunting, but by truly seeking to understand and address needs, it becomes manageable. I find that listening and providing guidance or education can go a long way to resolving issues. Many times, it just comes down to a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about how something works.

Is there anything you would like to highlight about working in healthcare HR? 

Angela: At Magellan, the highlight is that our staff cares for members of our armed forces who are fighting for our freedoms and that is something to be proud of.

Angie: Working in healthcare HR is rewarding, and we have so many groups that include compensation, payroll, benefits, etc. I truly believe we are making a positive impact for our employees and continue to strive to improve our processes to ensure the best results.

Kathy: The Magellan employees have demanding jobs. We must make sure that they have the support network to address their HR needs. If we do it right, it allows our employees to focus on their clients.

What does National Healthcare HR Professionals Week mean to you? 

Angela: It is a time we say thank you to all those employees who pour their hearts into their HR support roles in the healthcare system. It’s also a time to recognize those who promote both the organization and employees in an unbiased manner.

Angie: It gives recognition to those that work in this field a moment to be seen when many times we are working behind the scenes. I love that it gives an opportunity for HR professionals to be recognized for their work and given a spotlight to shine.

Kathy: We are recognizing individuals who are normally working behind the scenes to help support the company’s workforce in so many ways such as talent acquisition, training, compliance, payroll, staffing levels, and so many more services.

Spotlight Magellan Health: Healthcare HR Professionals

The third week in March is designated to recognize the Healthcare Human Resources (HR) Professionals and their important role in the continuum of care. This week celebrates the hard work HR professionals do who work in hospitals, health systems, clinics, and other healthcare organizations. Today’s healthcare landscape creates more complex issues for HR professionals who navigate challenges like talent shortages, compensation and benefits, employee wellness, and government regulations. We’re spotlighting three of Magellan Health’s Healthcare HR Professionals who each explain why they chose a career in Healthcare HR, and what is the most rewarding and challenging aspects of working in this field:

  • Tammy Curry, lead payroll specialist, has been with Magellan for three and a half years.

  • Karen Cronan, principal compensation consultant, has been with Magellan for five years.

  • Beth Moore, human resources business consultant, Magellan Federal, has been with Magellan Federal for eight years.

Continue reading to learn more from Tammy, Beth, and Karen on their experiences as Healthcare HR Professionals:

Why did you want to pursue Healthcare HR and what is the most rewarding aspect of working in this field?

Tammy: I love working with numbers, so payroll is natural for me and exciting. From my understanding, across the board at all companies I’ve ever worked for, payroll is the most important and vital department in the company. The most rewarding aspect of working in this field is knowing that the company’s biggest asset, our employees, are paid correctly and on time. That makes both me and the employees happy!

Karen: I have always been interested in medicine, physiology, health, fitness, and wellbeing. That combined with my love for mathematics and compensation attracted me to HR and compensation roles in healthcare.

Beth: Magellan Federal HR is a third career for me and a great fit following directing federal behavioral health contracts and an Air Force clinical social work career. I most enjoy providing HR consultation to leaders across the employee experience from organizational design informing staffing solutioning of new business to complex employee relations and retention areas.

What are some challenges you face in this profession and how do you overcome them?

Tammy: Working in payroll can be challenging at times but can also be immensely rewarding. The biggest challenge that I face in my profession is having to chase after employees to submit their timecards for pay processing.

Karen: In recent years with the pandemic and rapidly changing economic environment, it has been challenging to keep up with the market with respect to the ability to attract and retain talent.  The pandemic induced early retirement of so many baby boomers, which greatly affected the talent pool.  That, combined with the much smaller cohorts of younger generations, has really strained recruiting efforts, and driven up salary demands.

Beth: Post-COVID, many behavioral health professional workplace location options have moved to a tele-work environment. While this expands the options for the job seeker, it can be challenging for staffing site locations. In my role, I work closely with operational leaders and talent acquisition to develop plans to mitigate these challenges and look for innovative solutions to meet the staffing requirements.

Is there anything you’d like to highlight about working in Healthcare HR?

Tammy: Healthcare HR provides a range of opportunities to progress, which includes payroll, benefits, compensation, recruiting, and human resources. I love knowing that if I’m not challenged in my current position, there is always room for growth.

Karen: I find working in Healthcare HR rewarding because in healthcare, we provide very important care and services to fellow human beings which makes a positive impact in the world.

Beth: I particularly enjoy my role in Federal’s Health Services Division and Strategy and Growth consulting on organizational design, human capital labor category solutioning, and workforce planning.  It’s the collaboration with the team that’s exciting with the goal of aligning business objectives with Magellan’s strategic goals.

What does National HR Healthcare Professionals week mean to you?

Tammy: HR professionals are learners who seek new ways to solve old problems, enablers who make others better, and value creators who help all stakeholders win. National Healthcare HR Professionals week means that HR professionals in healthcare organizations throughout the nation are recognized for their vital role across the continuum of care.

Karen: It gives those of us who work for healthcare companies an opportunity to highlight and celebrate our participation in serving those in need.

Beth: It’s recognition of one of the many areas HR professionals may focus. Healthcare is a dynamic and challenging field for HR professionals and it’s great to see the specialization recognition.

Spotlight Magellan Health: Sharon Butler

Sharon Butler is our leader of people strategies at Magellan Rx Management and is an integral part of our thriving culture. She inspires our teams to use their strengths to overcome challenges and deliver a pharmacy experience unlike any other. We sat down with Sharon to talk about her love of human resources, the current state of the industry, how the pandemic has affected HR professionals and how people make the difference in any organization.

What’s your background, and how did you get into Human Resources?

I love sharing this story because it’s the last place I thought I would be. I grew up in a poor neighborhood in Albany, NY in a family that didn’t value education. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to attend college later in life that I met so many people who were resetting their path and going back to school after finding themselves in a job that didn’t fulfill them. It was then and there I realized my passion for people and believe there is so much more to illuminate a person if they are exactly where they want to be versus where they can be.

This realization led me to study organizations and leadership, dedicating my career to understanding the power of giving people an opportunity to do great things. There’s not an organization out there that’s great because of something other than people. If you think about it, organizations can’t achieve anything without people driving change.

How do you think your life experiences have shaped your work as a Human Resources professional?

I have learned through personal experience that some of the hurdles in your life are the ones you create and put in your own way. You can do anything if you have the passion and power to do it. You can’t just dream it. A dream isn’t a strategy, it’s the motivation that pushes you forward.

I’ve also learned that your career can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing.

I have now been with Magellan for 14 years, and I’ve seen firsthand that when you tap into someone’s personal strengths, you unleash an incredible amount of potential within not only yourself, but your team as well. As a leader or manager, placing people in the right seat creates a highway for growth and development.

Our data tells us that we’ve had 455 internal promotions over the last 12 months and that we continue to focus on supporting effective career conversations and encourage every employee to start a conversation. I’ve seen a correlation between employee driven career discussions and success of achieving aspirational goals.

We can’t impact what we don’t measure. We are focused on pulsing engagement and investing in what makes our employees feel valued. Our pulse surveys provide us with data for leaders to use to ensure they are having the impact intended. This is one tool that should be used with a variety of tools to ensure we continue to understand each other regardless of role. These surveys allow us to have impactful conversations to gauge overall organizational wellbeing. Now that we are far more virtual than ever before, we must continue to create connectedness, check in with each other in a variety of ways and respond to the ever-changing climate of our work.

How has the pandemic impacted Human Resources professionals?

HR professionals have really had to stretch outside their comfort zones, beyond the predictable outcomes they are used to. What we’ve all seen happen over the last few years in our communities with regulations, politics, human behaviors and attitudes changing is also happening within organizations. We can’t build a policy to navigate it, we must lean in and care about it.

We have had to consider every perspective to make the right decisions for us as an employer, and to make the right recommendations for employees as one size does not fit all. While some organizations have used this as an opportunity to be defined by their policies, we’ve found that we’re too complex and dynamic to pick one side or another on many points related to the pandemic. The passionate people at Magellan Rx are navigating through every circumstance in the most caring way possible.

These last few years have impacted everyone. Leaders, managers and employees are recognizing the need to practice self-care first before care for others. I’ve been starting my day with MAGIC Mornings, which I’ve recoined for myself ‘Miracle Mornings,’ this practice affords me a margin of time to focus on myself and set my day through exercise, meditative prayer, affirmational writings, gratitude journaling and intention or goal setting. I’ve been doing this for four months now and have noticed a complete shift in how I approach and move throughout my day. I encourage teams and individuals to rethink how they start their days and prioritize their wellbeing to avoid burnout.

What’s your perspective on the Great Resignation?

My observation of what the data suggests is that people are reacting to what adds value to their lives. The notion of an employee leaving their job, and possibly their career, is changing attitudes and expectations. Employees have more of a voice than ever before in what they are willing to do, and not do, for a paycheck. We need to listen.

Do you think organizational culture plays a role in the Great Resignation?

Absolutely. For a long time, organizations have been trying to define an attractive culture with policies and programs like education reimbursement, wellness credits and unlimited PTO. What we are seeing during this Great Resignation is a shift in focusing on employee’s wellbeing and how they are treated. Cultures are formed by how leaders behave and employees feeling truly valued. It isn’t about a program; it’s about behavior.

What we’ve noticed at Magellan is that while our turnover rate has inched up, it isn’t at the national average, and we are still able to attract talent to our positions. We believe that this is a direct reflection of our strong culture of caring people who are leveraging their strengths in their everyday work and modeling positive behaviors.

What do you think is needed to create a thriving culture? 

First and foremost, authenticity and accountability from leaders. Then, you must focus on people because people make the difference. You do this by unlocking their strengths and unleashing their potential. Mix that with a little fun, and you’ve got a solid foundation to build a thriving culture.

Our secret sauce at Magellan Rx is that we don’t have a one size fits all strategy for any person. We start by focusing on an individual’s core strengths, which allows leaders and employees to deploy very tailored career development, growth performance and learning opportunities.

How do you think teams have remained resilient these last few years while some haven’t?

I think there is a lot of masked resiliencies happening right now – pushing through versus truly evolving through the challenges – which can be very dangerous because it means we are closer to burnout than we know.

You can tell resiliency is occurring when you are faced with the next challenge, and it energizes you because you learned from the last challenge and are able to use your learnings to evolve through the next obstacle.

For those that haven’t, do you have any advice?

There is no time like the present to pause and take inventory of all the things that you have pushed through, map those things to what you have learned, and really understand the impact of your work. When you are focused solely on what’s ahead and what’s not done, you deprive yourself the opportunity to pause and learn. Look back at the path you’ve laid and the wake you’ve made.

What should organizations do to invest in their people?
Create safe spaces and support systems for employees to stretch, learn and grow in their careers.

Think about their world, their environment and what they are trying to transform. Don’t forget to ask their opinion on what great looks like and listen, because at the end of the day it’s the people who make the difference in any organization.