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With the activation of the employee labor pool in the pandemic’s early days, the teamwork within Human Resources (HR) at Massachusetts General Hospital became essential to filling key roles throughout the hospital. One such team—Dianne Austin, director of Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement and Workforce Diversity, and Emmanuela Menard, recruitment specialist—has been closely working together to help the Mass General North Shore Center for Outpatient Care meet the challenges of the pandemic.

Dianne Austin
Dianne Austin

“It’s all hands-on deck during this time as teams are created depending on the labor pool request to assess the need and deploy employees,” says Menard. “I’m so impressed with all the hard work everyone has been doing—both within HR and across the entire hospital. Everyone is always ready, willing and able to jump in where more help is needed.”

Austin and Menard tick down a list of new duties in helping meet the mask distribution and attestation needs of staff at the Danvers hospital. That includes calling and emailing with employees to fill labor pool roles, and answering questions and concerns about assignments; confirming with workers, managers and labor pool requestors who have been deployed; following up with managers who have staff who have been tapped for the labor pool who may have questions as well; meetings with the managers in need of labor pool assistance to discuss new or ongoing needs and creating and updating deployment schedules so managers have an at-a-glance view of who is on their schedule from week to week.

Emmannuela Menard
Emmanuela Menard

“These are unprecedented and overwhelming times for many, so helping an employee find accommodation or resources when needed feels great,” says Menard. “While we are in the business of providing patient care, we also have to take care of ourselves and each other. Working with Dianne has been a calming moment for me, during this stormy time for us all.”

Austin says the same is true of Menard. “I truly value the experience and insight Emmanuela brings to our newfound responsibilities. We play off each other’s experience so well.”

In addition, the experience of working with so many dedicated employees has left Austin feeling overwhelmingly positive. “It truly takes a village to keep our hospital running, from clinical staff directly caring for patients, to non-clinical roles like cleaning and maintenance crews,” she says.