By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, December 2019
Michelle Meyer, director of human resources at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH), hadn’t planned on a career in health care, or a career in human resources for that matter.
“Like most of my HR peers, I fell into human resources by accident,” she said. “What has kept me in HR is the diverse and ever-changing nature of our profession.”
Initially, Meyer’s career plans focused more on technology. She had gotten a degree in word processing from Southeast Community College in Lincoln, before she started working at CCH in May 1987.
Meyer’s official position was in the education department where she developed patient education pamphlets and helped coordinate education and training opportunities for employees. But thanks to her technology skills, she was given other tasks as well.
“This was the dawning of the IT age, and I was one of just a few employees in the hospital who knew anything about computers, so I also helped answer questions and assist with IT issues on the handful of personal computers scattered throughout the hospital,” Meyer said.
In 1991, a new opportunity presented itself at the hospital and Meyer began splitting her time between patient education, computer work, and processing payroll. Eventually, CCH created an official IT department and Meyer began devoting her time strictly to payroll and compensation for more than 17 years.
She transitioned to a new position at CCH again in 2008 when she became the employment and benefits coordinator.
“I truly enjoyed this position as it gave me the opportunity to connect with our employees more on a one-on-one basis, from recruitment to the on-hire process, to answering questions and concerns about their benefits from their hire date through their retirement,” Meyer said.
Eight years later, the human resources director position opened up and Meyer decided to apply.
“I really had never aspired to be the director of human resources; after all, I was working in a great department surrounded by great people, doing what I love – helping people,” she said. “But when the opportunity presented itself, I thought, ‘What do I have to lose?’ Either I continue working at a job I love, or I get yet another opportunity to grow and learn something new…and remain at a phenomenal organization.”
Meyer got the job and has served as human resources director since April 2016.
In this position, she is responsible for the recruitment and retention of employees, ensuring CCH maintains a competitive employee compensation and benefit program, and overseeing the employee performance evaluation system.
She also directs an HR team that coordinates the recruitment, employment, benefits, compensation, payroll and employee education functions at CCH, and develops and/or revises HR policies and procedures to ensure that the hospital is in compliance with all state and federal employment laws and guidelines. Additionally, she works with various managers on co-worker relations, grievance resolution and disciplinary action, and oversees the Project SEARCH program.
With this many duties, the job offers plenty of variety.
“No two days are ever alike, but I really enjoy the challenge and variety that comes along with that,” Meyer said.
She also enjoys working at CCH where she said she has been well supported by the senior leadership who give her the opportunity to attend trainings and conferences and join HR associations so she can collaborate with her peers.
Though Meyer had not initially set out looking for a career in health care, she’s happy she ended up in the field – and at CCH in particular.
“Health care is a great profession for anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of others,” she said. “The staff and culture here are second to none and I’m very proud to tell people that I work at Columbus Community Hospital. I feel very grateful and blessed.”
For more information on Meyer or job opportunities at CCH, columbushosp.org.