Many major players faring better but challenges remain
Health Net (parent company of MHN)
2350 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael 94901, mhn.com, 800-327-2133
Sharon Lewis is vice president of organization effectiveness, supporting the western region health plan, medical and network management, marketing, product development and MHN. Ms. Lewis is responsible for leading the human resources and organization development programs and activities for these units. She has been in her current role since joining Health Net in 2001.
Over the years, she has led the human resources and organization development activities for the former health plan division, government programs, the life company and corporate staff groups, including finance and legal.
Ms. Lewis began her 20+ year career in telecommunications at SNET (now AT&T), where she had positions in the technical field, prior to changing her career to organization development. Before Health Net, Ms. Lewis was manager of organization development at PeopleSoft. As the second employee hired in the new department, she was responsible for launching new systemic and individual programs to increase both individual and team performance. Ms. Lewis holds a bachelor of science in biology from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, N.Y.
From an employer’s perspective, what would you say is the single-most challenging aspect of HR these days?
The single most challenging aspect of our work is finding talent and developing strong leaders for both today and the future. Strong leaders need to have a portfolio of leadership styles that helps employees be engaged and productive. Also, our organization is highly matrixed, which requires leaders to be more collaborative and lead with an enterprise mindset.
How have you fared on employee benefits (if you offer them)? Have you faced significant premium increases? If so, how has the company coped with that?
We offer our own employees the same Health Net products and services we offer to our members and customers. The majority of our associates enroll in one of our HMO tailored network products, which is also very popular with our member base. The company shares the benefits cost through an 80/20 model, with the company contributing 80 percent and employees contributing 20 percent.
What are your plans in terms of hiring this year? How many positions do you have open and how many do you expect to fill?
MHN, a Health Net subsidiary, is always on the go, and our hiring plans constantly evolve as the result of a several factors. We are always looking for the best and brightest individuals who can help us continue delivering effective behavioral health benefits and employee assistance program services to our approximately 5 million customers nationwide.
How difficult is it to find qualified talent in your industry?
All of the above — A, B, C and D. That’s because finding qualified talent in our industry runs the gamut from not difficult at all to extremely difficult. In the health care industry, the nature of the actuarial and underwriting work is very specific and finding a qualified and diverse applicant base can take time.
In addition, the complexity of our industry and the high level of regulation often require a level of experience that few people possess. We have found that our employees really enjoy working together, and we have a large number of applicants coming directly from referrals by associates.
575 W. College Ave., Ste. 101, Santa Rosa 95401, personnelperspective.com, 707-576-7653
Coleen Lindgren is the Recruiting Manager at The Personnel Perspective, a full service human resources firm with expertise in HR consulting, training, and recruiting. She has extensive experience both as a recruiter and an HR generalist. Her recruiting approach combines her experience of over six years with her skills as a human resources generalist for 25 years.
She earned her bachelor of arts degree in public relations and communications from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. With a focus on human resources, she has continued her education at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University, where she completed the Human Resources Management Certificate Program.
St. Joseph Health
1165 Montgomery Dr., Santa Rosa 95405, stjosephhealth.org, 707-525-5300
Debra Miller has been vice president of human resources for St. Joseph Health since 2007. In 1997, she was hired by the health care provider, which is among the largest nonprofit employers in the county. Its more than 2,000 employees work at locations including Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the region’s only Level II trauma center, Petaluma Valley Hospital and numerous mobile clinics, urgent care centers, hospice care locations, which includes home care, and more.
Ms. Miller moved to the North Bay in 1994, when she came to work for the now-dissolved HMO Health Plan of the Redwoods. Ms. Miller sits on the board of directors for the Sonoma-Mendocino county chapter of the American Red Cross, is a Retirement Plan Committee member for St. Joseph Health and is a former board member of the Community Child Care Council. She obtained her undergraduate degree from California State University, Northridge and a master’s in human resources and organizational management from the University of San Francisco.
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