Rebecca Sanford serves as the Chief People Officer where she is responsible for building and leading talent management strategies and enhancing morale and organizational culture. Rebecca brings more than 15 years of experience managing employee relations, benefits, organizational planning and corporate policy to her role at Nextech. Prior to joining Nextech, Rebecca served as the director of human resources at Greenway Health, a health information technology provider.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what motivates you as the Chief People Officer (CPO) at Nextech?
I have been the head of People & Culture at Nextech for seven years and prior to that was the HR director at Greenway Health. I’m proud to lead the team that is responsible for creating a strong and inclusive company culture at the top EHR provider for Ophthalmology specialties.
At Nextech, I’m motivated to work with my team to attract and retain individuals who fit with our company culture, allowing them to thrive and advance within the company over the years.
Technology and telemedicine played a huge role during the pandemic, what are 2021 trends in EHR?
Throughout 2021, I fully expect to see the expansion of telehealth adoption in response to the pandemic becoming more permanent as many U.S. states and the federal government continue to pass legislation to facilitate its continued use. Telehealth may have first surged in 2020, but I believe it will become even more established as a permanent element of the healthcare landscape in 2021.
Additionally, I believe we will see increased adoption of other convenience-adding online tools for patients—more specifically, integrated healthcare payments solutions. The pandemic has very quickly normalized online commerce for nearly all consumers and, as a result, patients will come to expect these tools to be provided in the future.
You play a unique role on the leadership team as a CPO, how do you measure success?
We look to have the right people in the right roles at the right time, and our team’s professional contributions have to fit into their lives. We believe in inclusivity and that diverse teams are the richest and most effective teams. We actively encourage our people to bring their full, empowered selves to their work each day with integrity and respect.
More than anything, we look to our people and use feedback from their experiences to measure our company’s success. For example, more than 95% of our employees say they are proud to work for Nextech and feel connected to our broader goals through their daily work.
There is a hypergrowth in organizations adding CPOs. What do you think is prompting this move and is it replacing HR?
The spirit and purpose of what was ‘Human Resources’ has evolved significantly over the decades, shifting from a purely administrative role to more of a strategic business partnership with the goal of creating cultural consultancy. HR is no longer simply in charge of “hiring and firing,” but also responsible for monitoring and maintaining employees’ overall well-being, including factors such as mental health and job satisfaction.
The most successful organizations are those that insist on giving a strategic seat at the table to the leaders responsible for organizational culture, people/talent management and diversity/inclusivity, and I think we can see the benefits of this in the results of those companies.
The organizational culture has shifted dramatically, and as we have to look back at the impact of the pandemic, what can organizations do to keep employees engaged, inspired and challenged during remote-management?
The landscape of the workplace has changed tremendously in the past year, and nearly all of us had to learn to integrate work life with home life in one way or another. We have seen certain organizations fare quite well throughout this shift by taking a more progressive approach to adopting technology and leveraging virtual platforms to engage team members. Those who failed to do this early on have floundered and struggled to catch up with those who did.
I have little doubt that we will continue to see the need for virtual/online communities in the workplace even after we come out of the pandemic. I would not be surprised if many companies continue offering remote work opportunities to their employees in perpetuity.