HR Design moves ahead on several fronts

April 29, 2014

by Greg Bump

Last week's legislative approval of a new UW-Madison personnel management system gives the green light for implementation of most of the HR Design strategic plan on July 1, 2015, but work has been continuing on other components of the plan as well.

HR Design Strategic Plan

Details of the HR Design Strategic Plan can be found here.

One important component of the HR Design strategic plan is improving employee performance management across the campus.

The Office of Human Resources (OHR) has developed a draft policy that is being discussed with governance and other stakeholder groups across the campus.

In the policy draft, performance management is defined as providing coaching, feedback and support to employees about their work, needs and accomplishments. This should include discussions of developmental opportunities as well as an annual evaluation.

As originally outlined in the strategic plan, the draft policy is designed to improve consistency across campus but allow individual units to tailor their performance management processes to meet their specific needs. The target date for full implementation of the policy is July 1, 2015.

“The goal is to provide the campus with a general framework and training to assist managers and supervisors in regularly facilitating meaningful conversations with employees regarding their performance and professional goals,” says Patrick Sheehan, employment relations program coordinator in the Office of Human Resources (OHR), who has been working on the draft policy, along with co-lead Angie Rosas of OHR.

Another component of HR Design that has been making headway is the new employee onboarding policy. Onboarding refers to the process of integrating new employees into the university and providing them with the tools and resources to be successful and productive.

“We want to give our units flexibility to design programs that meet their needs and cultures.”

Christine Ray

Christine Ray, an OHR training officer, has been drafting a policy calling for each campus unit to have an onboarding program for its employees. Ray says the policy specifies some parts of the program, such as beginning onboarding activities when an accepted offer is in place and continuing them through the first year of employment. But many of the details will be left up to the individual programs, divisions, schools or colleges.

“Our goal is to ensure that new employees are welcomed on campus and provided with the tools and resources to do their jobs effectively,” Ray says. “We want to give our units flexibility to design programs that meet their needs and cultures.”

The onboarding policy is being developed with feedback from governance groups and division human resources representatives and reflects best practices in businesses and other universities, Ray says. Like the proposed performance management policy, the target date for full implementation of the onboarding process is also July 1, 2015.

Another important goal of the HR Design strategic plan is to develop consistency, where it makes sense, across employment categories to reduce confusion for employees, job candidates, and campus administrators.

Margy May and Jamie Harris, who are both with OHR, are working on consolidating academic staff and classified staff policies and procedures.

The goal is to have one web location where all policies and procedures can be found for convenience and ease of use. In some cases, where academic and classified staff policies are the same, such as the process for reemploying annuitants, it makes sense to consolidate them.

“Instead of having policies located on two websites, they will be combined and located on one. This change will give the campus community a better organized and more effective tool,” says Harris, who works with classified staff.

May, who works with academic staff, says in conjunction with consolidating policies, an important HR Design component is to improve communication by redesigning the Office of Human Resources web page.

“We plan to create a new look and make the site a lot easier to navigate,” she says. “The positive feedback we are receiving makes this an exciting project to work on.”

Performance management, onboarding and HR policy consolidation are just three of the ways that HR Design will positively impact UW-Madison’s ability to attract, develop and retain talent. OHR will continue to collaborate closely with the campus community as we move forward in these and other areas.

As part of this collaboration, the next series of campuswide forums on HR Design is scheduled for June.

The first is on June 10 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gordon Dining and Event Center. The next is on June 12 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Microbial Sciences Ebling Symposium Center.

The third session will be on June 12 from 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at the Health Sciences Learning Center. The events at the Gordon Dining and Event Center and Health Sciences Learning Center will be translated to Spanish, Tibetan, Hmong and Mandarin. The event at Microbial Sciences will be in English only.

For updates on more HR Design components, click here.