As Human Resources at Columbia undergoes a university-wide restructuring, services to faculty, staff and departments at the medical center are being streamlined and upgraded.
In October, Paul Alexander, associate vice president, joined the medical center as the new head of HR. Mr. Alexander’s staff includes CUMC department-dedicated HR managers and two new benefits professionals to provide enhanced support to employees upon hire, during the annual open enrollment cycle, and with ongoing benefits issues. Consistent with the priority of Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president and dean, to aggregate the best talent at the medical center, Mr. Alexander also is working on creating processes to link recruiting, performance assessment and compensation programs.
“The medical center has been fortunate to have a highly skilled and talented workforce,” says Mr. Alexander, who has extensive experience in talent management, employee relations and policy development through his work in the corporate and academic sectors over the past 30 years. “But the best employers improve recruiting and retention through effective employee communication, focus on customer service, and training and developing its leaders.”
Mr. Alexander’s team is working with departments to create an organized, uncomplicated method for assessing employee performance. “For any organization to function optimally, employees must feel that their best efforts are recognized, appreciated, and rewarded,” he says.
By reporting both to Columbia Univer-sity Human Resources at Morningside under the new leadership of Cindy Durning, vice president as well as to medical center leadership, Mr. Alexander is in a position to help align CUMC’s human resources programs with the university’s overall HR strategies. Those strategies include: supporting local hiring at all levels; developing managerial training curricula designed to strengthen leadership; reviewing and supporting compensation decisions; and developing strategic approaches to diversity and inclusion, work/life balance and employee relations. Mr. Alexander is one of six senior HR leaders developing the strategic HR focus for Columbia University.
“Over the next few months I’ll be meeting with departmental administrators, managers, and HR administrators in the various departments and schools,” Mr. Alexander says. “The goal is to work together to meet targets and priorities and strengthen our medical center.”