How a Focus on Fairness Guides DVL Group’s Christy Magee

 Christy Magee, senior director of HR, DVL Group

Leadership & Management Remote & Hybrid Culture

As an HR leader of a 150-person firm, Magee shares insights on what has 94% of employees saying the company is a great workplace.

Most companies struggle to create a workplace that employees believe is fair and equitable.

It’s also one of the ways companies have struggled in the post-pandemic era amid a rise in remote and hybrid work.

For leaders like Christy Magee, senior director of HR, DVL Group, Inc., the importance of fairness was one of the big lessons of the pandemic.

We spoke with her about her journey in the HR field and her insights into the future of work for the latest in our “How I Got Here” series.

Here’s what Magee shared about why she loves her job, her favorite career advice, and what she would love to change about the workplace today:

What was the hook that first got you interested in workplace culture?

Magee: Studying the Hawthorne effect in social psychology in my sophomore year at LaSalle University! I loved the idea that something as simple as lighting, pay, or work breaks could increase productivity, therefore increasing profits.

I decided then I wanted to go into organizational behavior. Twenty-five years later, I am still here!

What has been the biggest challenge you faced in your career when trying to build a great workplace culture?

Magee: Different companies along the way have led to different challenges. At DVL, when I first started, we were dealing with a recent unsuccessful acquisition. Challenges included different handbooks, policies, procedures — even holidays were different for both companies!

They never integrated the people aspect. Building a relationship with the right decision-maker and getting all of those things streamlined helped create a sense of fairness, caring, and integrity.

What is the No. 1 lesson you have learned about what it means to be a great workplace in a post-pandemic environment?

Magee: Fairness. I was blessed with a culture at DVL that already embraced work-life balance prior to March of 2020. Work is a “verb” not a “place” at DVL. It was about finding the right balance after June 2020 on who needs to be in the office and for how many hours per week to stay successful in our collaborative culture.

The “Hybrid Workplace Policy” put in place in June 2020 still exists to this day and balances the needs of business collaboration and work-from-home desires.

How do you think AI will change your work? Are you excited for those changes?

Magee: AI, like all tools we use, needs to be used with care. I am cautiously optimistic that it will assist HR teams in new ways by simplifying current HR processes. We tend to overcomplicate processes. This is a way to simplify it.

What’s your favorite career advice you’ve ever received? Why?

Magee: I started out in operations and was managing a team. My manager happened to walk in my office on a bad day. He was walking up behind me and said, “I can tell by the back of your head that you are in a bad mood. Also, by how down your team is in the front office.”

It was like a light bulb going off that my bad mood impacted the whole team and I had no idea. He told me to get up, walk away, and take a break to talk to him about what’s going on. It was a good lesson in reaching out when you need help. If you are not a team of one, don’t act like it!  Talk problems through with your team and mentors. You are not alone.

What’s a recent book or podcast you loved that you recommend to our community?

Magee: There are a lot of new books out there. I recently took a group of new leaders through the “Strengths Finder” book and test. They really got a lot out of what their leadership strengths are that they were unaware of.

We are also reading “4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication” to help us with those tough conversations, in and out of work.

What about your job makes you excited to come to work every day?

Magee: In a nutshell? Problem solving. Whether it’s a filling a gap with the best applicant, listening to a co-workers concern, strategy planning, streamlining processes, or helping a new hire with questions, I truly love being a “resource” to humans.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about how workplaces operate in the world today, what would it be?

Magee: Improving mental health. At this moment, my mobile phone is ringing, text messages, emails and IMs are also ringing. How can we expect ourselves to continue to mindfully work with so many interruptions of our day?

I love that these different forms of communications exist, but the multi-tasking required to tend to all of them while doing our jobs safely and effectively wears down our mental health.

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