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Opportunity for Growth Helps Our Contact Tracers Thrive

Feeling unappreciated or forgotten at your job often makes for long, frustrating shifts. Working hard with no opportunity for growth can eventually wear you down.

At PubSEG, we’re committed to making sure that doesn’t happen. We’re constantly looking for ways to grow our employees by promoting from within or expanding responsibilities. Whether you’re an experienced contact tracer or a relative novice, hard work often leads to new opportunities.

“I feel like PubSEG promotes from within more often than other companies, mainly because we’re growing so fast,” says Dawn Stolte, PubSEG’s Head of Operations. “A lot of employees who started as contact tracers are now lead contact tracers or supervisors.”

In choosing who to promote, PubSEG’s executives look for certain qualities essential to contact tracing, including communication skills, leadership ability, and problem-solving capacity. All of our contact tracers have these skills at some level, but many demonstrate an added degree of excellence.

With our contact tracers working remotely across the country, it can be challenging to measure these skills, but PubSEG’s leaders make an extra effort to get to know our employees and stay connected with them.

“It’s sometimes hard when you’re working in a remote environment to see who has those qualities,” Dawn says, “but our leads meet with their teams regularly via Zoom to really get to know each person and see what their strengths and weaknesses are. We also offer a lot of coaching sessions to help them develop. When we see they have good leadership abilities, we start giving them more responsibilities.”

When PubSEG formed two years ago as an offshoot of nationally recognized call center VSA Prospecting, the company was fortunate to immediately attract a pool of experienced contact tracers, some of whom had worked in high-population areas such as Los Angeles County and New York City. But PubSEG still provided new challenges for them.

“We were lucky because a lot of public contact tracing efforts were winding down at that time, and we were able to get some folks who already had strong foundational knowledge of contact tracing,” says Kerry Dougherty, PubSEG’s Head of Strategy and Innovation. “But we still had to do our own training, because what we do goes above and beyond contact tracing. We’re also about customer service, communication, and being there to answer people’s questions.”

The experienced contact tracers were supplemented by a large pool of people who may have been new to the position, but who brought skills that made them well-suited to the role.

Dawn cited two specific examples of recently promoted PubSEG employees.

One of them was working on a contact tracing team that was having a few issues. When Dawn met with each member of the team one-on-one, she thought this particular employee had some strong suggestions for helping things run more smoothly. Dawn decided to promote her to lead contact tracer.

She’s now running two different teams as a supervisor.

Another employee joined PubSEG from the VSA side, with no previous contact tracing experience. Within four weeks, she had become a team lead, because, in Dawn’s words, “she really knew how to

take charge of the team and run with it. You have to be able to manage all different types of personalities, and she did that.”

Contact tracing obviously isn’t for everybody. You’re regularly dealing with people who are scared, angry, confused, or some combination of all three. With COVID-19 cases surging, it can feel like the work is never-ending. The stress levels can be intense.

The tracers who do the job and do it well are extremely dedicated. At PubSEG, we believe that’s a quality worth rewarding.