Corporate Identity Shift
5 Questions with Healthesystems’ AVP of HR, Jennifer Locklear.
We’re not so young and hip anymore.
Webber Kerr’s President, Adam Lloyd, meets with Jennifer Locklear, AVP of HR for Healthesystems, to discuss how they have embraced cultural change in what was once a start-up environment and are better for it today.
Healthesystems is a specialty provider of innovative solutions to help workers' compensation insurance payers manage the utilization and costs of prescription drugs and ancillary medical services provided to injured workers.
AL: Jen, 10 years ago Healthesystems was a start-up. Today it is an established mid-size company in your space. What are some of the changes at Healthesystems that are most noticeable to you as you look back 10 years?
JL: The biggest change is how we develop our employees. Ten years ago, most of the people we brought on were thrown into a fluid, loosely structured environment that required them to fill multiple roles as needs arose. There were several positive aspects to that environment. Employees learned the industry and company very quickly.
Now that our roles are more specialized, we’re able to focus on staff development and prepare employees for a long-term career with us. We’ve built a robust Training & Development department that offers programs in multiple formats. We teach all new hires about our very specialized industry and business so they have context. Other programs focus on building specific skills and teaching our core values.
AL: There is often the perception that you go from young, energetic, innovative to mature, experienced, knowledgeable. Assuming this is true for a minute, how does this play into your current hiring & talent strategy? Is it easier or harder to hire the talent you need today?
JL: Both. I think it is easier in the sense that we now know exactly what we are looking for and what experience is required to do certain jobs well. It becomes a little more challenging because that creates tight requirements that significantly narrow the size of our candidate pools in many cases.
AL: Has the change in your corporate culture had a positive or negative impact on retention? How do employees from the “early days” feel about today’s Healthesystems?
JL: I would say positive. I could certainly ask the “early days” employees. Most of them are still here! That doesn’t mean we haven’t experienced some turnover. But our leadership is strong, and our values haven’t changed. I love that about this company. Last year we were named a Top Workplace — an honor that came as a result of anonymous employee surveys conducted by an outside firm. I found it rewarding that our employees nominated us.
AL: What piece of advice would you give other HR leaders that are going through change in their corporate identity?
JL: I would tell them to become a strategic partner and thought leader who helps define the new infrastructure and sets the tone for the corporate culture. A company’s culture and relationship with its employees directly influence its ability to attract and retain the right talent. That in turn impacts the company’s ability to attract new customers and grow.
AL: I’ll offer first, keeping up with my daughter, running and a healthy dose of antioxidants daily keep me mentally fresh. What is something you do to stay young?
JL: Ah, that is an easy one: a lot of caffeine, and a little bit of working out.