UVA Today is highlighting the winners of the 2011 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award winners. Today: Richard Covington of U.Va.'s Medical Center Human Resources. To see all of the stories, click here.
June 1, 2011 — During a difficult time for hiring, University of Virginia Health System managers turn to Richard Covington, a human resources consultant, for advice and guidance in finding the best employees for departments as diverse as pharmacy and emergency. He also helps in working out sensitive personnel matters.
In successfully nominating Covington for a 2011 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award, Rose Markey, director of Medical Center Human Resources, said she has heard from many managers about what "a great HR partner" and "an asset to the department" Covington is. Their comments paint "a picture of the excellent customer service he provides when helping hiring managers fill critical health care positions and his ability to provide sound advice and counsel to those who are dealing with performance issues," Markey said.
"He is an amazing employee who responds promptly, sorts out the problems and solves them," wrote managers of the emergency department.
Covington, who was hired almost three years ago, splits his time between recruitment and employee relations. He also recruits managers and others for pharmacy, patient financial services, Medical Center procurement and human resources – all the way up to the administrator and director levels.
He recently checked in on the emergency department to make sure he understood what they were looking for in new employees. He also helped the hiring managers put together a spreadsheet to track the interviewed employees, one satisfied letter-writer said.
"He did not hesitate to work closely with myself and other members of the management team to learn what our needs are and provide us with the tools necessary to be more effective in our leadership roles," another supporter said. "He dedicated a significant amount of time to help us in our recruitment efforts – which paid off, as we are almost fully staffed."
After being named Employee of the Month a year ago, Covington was asked how he approached sensitive matters. He said he looks at both sides of the fence.
"I understand from a business perspective that you have to do what is best for the organization. But I approach a situation with compassion for the employee as well. I see the big picture, not just the task at hand," he said.
"He has partnered with employees in the Digestive Health Center and Transplant to build healthy relationships, is low key and focused, is readily accessible and he gets the job done," another person wrote.