Reading Time: 4 minutes
HR in a Small Town: Navigating Relationships and Finding Support
Get our best people analytics content right in your inbox.
In this episode, Hanna Waugh, the Human Resources Director at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, speaks about her journey in HR and the unique challenges she faces working in a small town. She emphasizes the importance of being a trusted confidant and support system for employees, as well as continuously learning and staying updated with employment laws. Hanna discusses the strategies she has developed to navigate relationships in a close-knit community.
Meet Hanna Waugh, a people-focused HR enthusiast with a journey that weaves through industries and hearts alike. Hanna’s career story is one of building connections, from her role as a National Recruiter in Modis to her compassionate guidance as a Human Resources Director at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery. With a knack for fostering engagement and a genuine passion for people, Hanna’s career is a testament to the power of personal touch in the world of HR. Here are a few of the topics we’ll discuss on this episode of People Analytics:
- She loves HR because it allows her to make a positive impact on people’s lives and provide support during challenging times.
- Hannah believes that listening is a crucial aspect of being a great leader and supporting employees. Sympathy and understanding go a long way in making employees feel heard and valued.
- Maintaining a close network of HR professionals in a small town provides valuable support and advice.
- Recognizing and valuing the contributions of every employee, regardless of their role, creates a positive work environment.
- Taking time off and prioritizing self-care, even if it’s just for a day or during lunch breaks, can greatly impact overall well-being.
- Keeping a folder of positive emails can help you appreciate the difference you make in others’ lives.
- By creating a supportive work culture, you can make a positive difference in the lives of those around you.
Connect with Hanna Waugh:
Connect with our host, Lindsay Patton:
- 01:25 – “We’re an orthopedic group up in the high Colorado Rockies, serving our small local communities, focusing more on the patients who might not have access to orthopedic care, rather than the patients who can fly all over the world to receive the care, although we treat them too. And I do it, oh God, why do I do it? I do it because I love people and I love problem-solving. And at the end of the day, there’s something nice about, you know, you may not get to leave your work at work, but the work that you take home has such an impact on other people that you can make or break their day as well. And I think that’s important to me to not be on the side of ruining someone’s day, but making somebody’s day at work better when they’re spending 40 hours or more a week at work.”
- 21:01 – “You know, I think culture is so important, especially as these younger generations come up, and they talk about, you know, what they want in an organization, and they want to go with, and the mix of the remote work during Covid-19 to now a hybrid, and now offices having people come back in person. A culture that I am really focused on building is a culture of, you know, work for reward. Obviously, you know, we want to see high performers, we want to see those things, but also a culture where we have an understanding that not every day is perfect. Not every time you’re going to be able to do a ton of wonderful things and get everything right. And a culture where, “hey, if you need to take a day, if you need to have time, if your dog has passed away, or you’re just having a really rough day, there is a sense of understanding where you can take that, and you can do what you need to do within yourself”, because life is always going to come at you, and you don’t need work hitting you from the other side saying that, no, you can’t take the time you need.”
- 22:35 – “I really like that mentality because I feel like, you know, in school, and I, I’ve said this on the show before, in school we are rewarded for extra credit, but then we go into work and if we do extra credit, it’s often, quote unquote rewarded with more work instead of actual, you know, benefits or things that we want. So I really love that you cultivate a culture of, you know, reward for the, the quality of work done.”
- 25:25 – “I mean, sometimes I wish I were a robot. I feel like my body would operate a lot better, but we’re not robots. No. Yeah. I just really love that mentality and appreciation goes a long way because, you know, when you walk into a new day and you get something that you weren’t expecting, that even if it’s just that $5 gift card that can really, really give someone a boost.”
- 15:28 – Lindsay: “So we talked quite a bit about the challenges, but are there any benefits to what you do in a small town?”.. Hanna: “I really, really think so. I have been there for people who have become friends. I have been there for people who took their first pregnancy test, and I was the first person to find out. And being able to create this culture of knowing that just because it’s a small town, you are still a trusted confidant. And what you’re saying is not going to go back out in the community. And they feel like they end up trusting you, and they end up trusting your organization more.”