Rodney Byrd, the new assistant director of human resources at UWG, was recognized as a Workforce Magazine 2013 Game Changer. Rodney is one of only 25 human resources professionals in the country to receive this distinction from Workforce, a national publication for human resources and workforce management professionals.
“Workforce Magazine does a competition every year where they choose a certain number of individuals under the age of 40 whom they’ve deemed to be ‘Game Changers’ in the HR field,” explains Rodney. “They’re individuals who have contributed in ways that have saved their organizations, or they’ve done something above and beyond the normal scope of HR.”
Rodney’s record of going above and beyond is well documented. Before coming to UWG, he made a name for himself at Medical West Hospital in Bessemer, Alabama. By surveying unhappy employees and implementing new tools to assess the personalities of potential new hires, Rodney reduced turnover by 3.6 percent and saved the hospital $800,000 per year.
Rodney, who joined the UWG team in June 2013, moonlights on Sundays as a minister at a small church nearly three hours from Carrollton in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He feels his two jobs are closely related. “Human resources is, first and foremost, about dealing with people,” he says. “Being a minister has allowed me to be able to listen, to empathize, to relate to everyone on every level. It instilled in me that everyone is the same in God’s eyes. So when I come into the human resources role, every employee is the same whether they’re the custodian, the vice president, or the president. I relate to them all the same way. You have to be a servant at heart if you want to be successful in HR or ministry.”
As a former financial analyst, Rodney is good with numbers, but rather than relying on his natural talents, he believes in hard work. “I have always been the type of person who takes great pride in everything he does,” he says. “I believe that if you’re going to go into a field or into a job, you should give your all. Being recognized as a ‘Game Changer’ reaffirms that my hard work has paid off in the HR field. It makes me feel proud, of course, not just for myself, but for the organization that I left and the one I am at now. When you look back on your life, you should see how you have improved somebody else’s life. Live for a legacy. Make sure you’re doing something that makes the world a better place when you leave.”