Barrett WhiteBy Barrett White

I am the Director of Operations at Physician Billing Specialists, LLC. In addition to managing operations and processes for a medical billing company, as we grew from nine employees when I started in 2014 to 27 and growing now, I began taking on HR responsibilities.

Prior to that, HR was dealt with on an as-needed basis, due to the size of the company. I created an employee handbook and began absorbing as much knowledge as I could in the HR field as quickly as possible. Our goal as a company is to be the standard of excellence in our industry while making it a positive, fun place for our employees to work.

My Circuitous Journey to HR

Having attended college in the late 1980s, I earned a liberal arts degree and worked a variety of jobs until I found my way to medical billing. My original intent was to go into writing, but I soon determined that this career was a better fit as a side job for the time, so I worked in a variety of positions that supported my writing habit. I taught preschool, ran a before and after school program, tried sales, and directed an outreach program for at-risk youth. My entry into medical billing was a textbook case of serendipity, where I was looking for a job and a friend of a friend had an open position. 

Over the course of my journey, I have worked at companies ranging from 5 to 100,000 employees.

In the larger companies I worked for, HR was a department unto itself, and they discouraged management from handling complicated personnel issues without HR assistance. In the smaller companies, it was often managers fending for ourselves as we dealt with the hurdles involved in day-to-day business and employee relations.

When I picked up HR duties here, morale was low. We had experienced a large growth period, and employees were disconnected from each other and our company mission.

It had gotten to the point where two employees had gotten into a screaming match with their manager on the floor, and I decided we needed to be better than this – we needed to become a team, and we needed to create an environment where employees were encouraged to develop and where they could enjoy their work.

We started by making a conscious decision to focus on the positive and start recognizing excellence in work and in teamwork. We created a traveling Moment of Awesomeness trophy, awarded at the beginning of every month after a parade through the office. Peers, management, and clients nominate people all month, and the person with the most nominations at month-end gets the trophy, a fun prize, and their picture on the intranet with the trophy above a list of all the nominations they received. It helps people to hear the good things people say about them, rather than only hearing from people when they mess up.

We have come a long way towards keeping the team moving in the same direction.

We have now incorporated monthly food days, monthly FAD (Fun Attire Day) Fridays, Better Know a Teammate contests, and random trivia contests for prizes. With a daily update, we let the team know what is happening for the day, what new knowledge we have, who has done a great job recently, and other assorted information.

I now avail myself of as many learning opportunities as I can. I also run monthly leadership development workshops with our team leads and management team, because the stronger our leadership team is, the better we can be there for our team.

My Hopes for HR for HR

I am inspired by the vision and the mission of HR for HR. While it is a fantastic resource for trained and experienced HR professionals, I am guessing I am one of many who became HR without background or training in the field. I'm hoping to provide insight as needed, share resources that have helped me, and empathize with the challenges of being self-taught in this challenging field.

I learn quickly, share knowledge readily, and am happy to help fellow HR professionals however I may.

Conversation Starter

How can we help fellow our HR professionals as you develop your teams, work with an ever-changing workforce and engage our employees in meaningful, productive work?

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