Deborah Middleton

September 2017

Finding Balance

Our Chief Human Resources Officer Deborah Middleton is an expert at balancing things – whether it’s the needs of employees and managers at a growing organization, or a soccer ball.

This is evident in her office, where you can find her white board filled with priorities for the organization alongside photos of her family and a signed soccer ball from the award-winning team she coached for her daughter and her teammates.

When Deb joined Mission Hospice in January 2016, she started by reviewing key compliance areas and by meeting individually with each manager. “It was important for me to find out what they needed and wanted,” Deb says. “With the growth of the organization, it was clear that more process and structure would be helpful.”

Deb knew just what to do. For nearly 20 years, she served as HR Director at On Lok, a nonprofit that helps seniors stay independent and active. During that time, the organization tripled its staff and expanded from its base in SF to multiple locations throughout the Bay Area. Deb became expert at developing workflows, processes, and systems for a growing organization.

She’s been busy. In the past 18 months, she’s worked with managers to overhaul the staff performance management and compensation program, and revamped employee benefits.

To support our growing team, Deb has hired two HR team members who help with new employee orientation, personnel and compliance issues, employee leaves of absence, and performance evaluations, among other HR responsibilities.

Next up on Deb’s white board priority list is automating workflows to save time, minimize errors, and get employees on board more quickly. She’s also working on projects to improve communication and help managers become better at their jobs.

One of the things that keeps this work interesting, Deb says, is that “the requirements are always changing. We are constantly evaluating which best practices are the best fit for us.”

Throughout the organization’s growth and change, employees know that they can count on Deb for her deep professional experience, broad smile, and laid-back approach. “Our staff views us as a real resource for them,” she says. “I hear this from all levels, and I know this because of the traffic coming in and out of our offices!”