In mid-March, just as the COVID-19 crisis was beginning in Canada, Michener’s Human Resources team put out a call for volunteers.
In the midst of the pandemic, UHN was short on people to screen patients for the illness at hospital entrances and to help out at the staff Respite Centre. When Michener’s Manager of Human Resources, Kristi Steed, asked Michener staff to redeploy to fill the need, she expected some interest, but the response was overwhelming.
“I was hopeful there would be support,” Kristi says. “In the end we had a great response, and it was so immediate. Many staff members reached out right away and asked how they can help.”
With the uncertainty and stress that staff, patients, students and faculty are going through in the face of COVID-19, Michener and UHN’s community has been in upheaval. But the community has also pulled together in remarkable ways, and Michener’s response to the redeployment positions is just one sign of that.
Redeployment opportunities allow Michener staff to exchange their typical full-time work for a weekday, weekend or evening shift as they adjust to a new work-life balance that includes managing childcare and school closures, while also giving back to the community.
“It’s amazing to see everyone rally together and figure things out quickly. The message of support and collective effort speaks so highly of Michener’s culture,” Kristi says.
While Kristi processes the responses to the request, Michener’s HR team has been temporarily redeployed to the available roles.
Sarah Thackray is a Human Resources Coordinator at Michener and has taken on redeployment shifts at Toronto Western Hospital’s Respite Centre (each UHN site has a Respite Centre where hospital staff can go to rest and refresh). The Centre volunteers carefully practice physical distancing and help keep the Centre disinfected, while staff can drop in to talk with the volunteers about what they’re dealing with on the job, participate in a relaxing activity or even sit quietly with a cup of tea.
For Sarah, the volunteer work was just as helpful for her as it was for the hospital staff: “Working at the Centre is an opportunity to hear what staff are going through, but the volunteers could also share their experiences with each other. It’s a chance to be honest and open, and right now there’s a lot of value in that.”
Redeployment opportunities are still available at UHN, and Michener’s HR team encourages anyone interested to connect with Kristi at firstname.lastname@example.org.