Jo Vonna Hill

Contact Jo Vonna Hill

Jo Vonna Hill has been an HR practice Consultant and team member at Pagel, Davis and Hill, (“PDH”), a Professional Corporation, since early 2012.  Ms. Hill’s experience in Human Resources commenced in the mid-1980’s working for Hermann Hospital Human Resources Department as a coordinator for employee benefits and health insurance claims.  She then became the HR Manager of the corporate office which oversaw staff dispersed through a chiropractic group comprised of nine clinics, reporting to Clifford Kirby, M.D., Executive Director.   Soon after taking over management, she discovered employee theft in six of the nine clinics.  Ms. Hill and the Executive Director then contacted Pagel, Davis & Hill, P.C. (“PDH”) for legal counsel.   This is when Ms. Hill and Martyn Hill of PDH crossed paths for the first time.  An undercover investigation ensued which led to the termination of doctors and staff of all six clinics.  In order to avoid any interruption of business, prepare for the major confrontation and re-staffing of the clinics, she secretly recruited, hired and trained office personnel to replace existing staff from all six clinics once they were escorted from company property.  The result was a seamless transition in a single day in which the company experienced no disruption in service.

In the early 1990’s Ms. Hill became the Administrative Assistant to a Senior Manager at GE Capital, managing seven junior managers, 30 collection agents, and associated staff.  In 1994, after marrying Martyn Hill, Ms. Hill served as a legal assistant both as an employee of the law firm and outsourced to numerous companies.  This included experience with a natural gas production company and several construction companies.  This work ranged from filing P4 & related reports to union certified payrolls, to developing employee handbooks, safety manuals, hiring and firing, payroll, responding to EEOC and TWC claims, litigation support, payroll tax reporting and audit, insurance and workers compensation audits, and similar responsibilities.

In 1999 Ms. Hill pursued her music ministry at Cypress Creek Christian Church.  After fulfilling the educational and experience requirements, she was appointed as a Licensed Minister of Contemporary Worship, managing staff and coordinating musicians, audio/visual employees, lighting engineers and over 100 volunteers.  In addition to resolving internal human resource issues, during her tenure as a minister she received training and gained listening and communication skills to assist individuals in crisis.   She then received certification from St. Luke’s Hospital as a Licensed Lay Chaplain which enabled her to interact with seriously and/or terminally ill patients and their families.  Such training and work experiences prepared her for work under PDH’s lawyers to assist employers with employees in crisis.  Despite her Lay Chaplain and ministerial training, Ms. Hill does not provide employee counseling of any type.  She does, however, coordinate available resources (whether employer-based health insurance or community-based resources) with employee needs – especially during a personal crisis such as divorce, serious sickness/death in the family, etc.   Employers often find it difficult to show compassion without crossing unhealthy boundaries, and sometimes need guidance and even scripts to assist employees facing serious personal issues.

Ms. Hill resigned from the ministry in 2010 to focus on her career in Human Resources.  She worked under PDH lawyers to support HR needs consistent with the PDH philosophy of “Business Lawyers First”®.  More specifically, employees do not work in a vacuum. Employees pursue and perform career functions based in large measure on life experiences prior to and during the employment relationship.  No employment policy or rule of law can completely isolate work from life’s other challenges. State and federal laws strangle an employer’s inherent difficulty in screening, evaluating, managing, motivating and sometimes terminating the employment relationship.    Thick, off-the-shelf employment manuals and policies that no one fully understands often exacerbate rather than alleviate the real world difficulties associated with managing employees.  An employer’s good intentions to one employee often create friction and sometimes liability to a different employee who may feel unfairly treated.

First, one size does not fit all – and most employment manuals appear written for Fortune 500 companies.  Second, different industries involve different risks and challenges.  Third, all jurisdictions are not the same.  Fourth, entrepreneurs are unique, and so are their management style – meaning that managing an organization’s human capital should minimize risk and anticipate unknown problems, but do so within the existing profit based framework.

While there are no panaceas, competent and common sense human resource protocols can minimize conflict and maximize productivity.  Ms. Hill and PDH lawyers work as a team with clients to develop and execute employer policies maximizing employee productivity and minimizing conflict.  PDH’s lawyers and Ms. Hill have worked to establish an HR System that is compliant with current laws and regulations.  Our team creates customized handbooks and policies for clients along with corresponding customized management modules.  Our modules effectively cover the life-cycle of employees from recruiting through termination of employment.  Our team also provides training in the accurate application of each module.

Establishing common sense protocols via employment handbooks, legally mandated and approved forms, and helpful scripts, can facilitate a healthy employer-employee relationship.   As indicated above, however, not every problem can be anticipated and reduced to a written policy; and the attempt to do so often creates more problems than it resolves.  Often Human Resource staff needs support when trying to decide on how to handle difficult employee issues.  When support is not provided to HR staff oftentimes upper management is not informed of a problem until it is too late.  Thus, Ms. Hill works within the PDH legal team structure to efficiently find a solution within the client’s budget.   Not every problem deserves a law partner’s time or bill.  To save money and time, many employers avoid involving a lawyer until facing a legal predicament significantly larger than the likely legal bill.

Ms. Hill serves as a paralegal and is charged with interacting with and coordinating Human Resource legal work performed by Pagel, Davis & Hill, P.C. with clients.   During client interviews, she often provides information on available resources which can be matched with employee and client needs such as health insurance providers, benefits vendors, third party administrators and Health & Safety resources.

Areas of Responsibility

  • Paralegal - Human Resources/Employment
  • HR consulting and counseling in the following: Organization development, benefits, training, performance management, HR internal analysis/audits,  EEOC investigations, FLSA compliance, FMLA administration, EEO/AAP, governmental regulations compliance,  policies, procedures,  HR start ups
  • Benefit Coordination

Affiliations

  • HR Houston – Member & Various Certificates
  • SHRM Member - The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India.