The HR team that is part of the Williamson Hall Cluster may be small in number, but they do much to serve ASR. The unit's three staff members make up Cluster 5 of the 40+ clusters that provide finance/accounting and HR services across the University. They serve several different departments, which include Admissions, McNamara Academic Center, University Counseling and Consulting Services, University Honors Program, and ASR.
The HR team is a local partner to the central Office of Human Resources and provides services on a local level to the ASR staff and managers.
Team members Marit Gladem, HR specialist, and Olga Kavun-Wozniak, HR/Payroll cluster lead, are responsible for many tasks. "We post open positions, provide consultation during the search process, perform background checks, and meet with new employees to review policies and benefits," Marit said. They also appoint staff, maintain and update employees records in PeopleSoft, manage different types of leaves, and assist managers with performance management issues. Melissa DeWees, principal office & administrative specialist, is responsible for posting student job openings, student hiring, entering the biweekly payroll, and processing employee absence requests.
The Williamson Hall Cluster was created in 2007. Prior to that, Marit and Olga had different roles within ASR; Marit worked in the Office of Student Finance as the department's HR contact, and Olga worked in Continuity and Compliance. Melissa joined the cluster in 2008, shortly after the cluster was formed. "The purpose of the cluster was to support one or two large departments, as well as a few smaller ones, to help provide more adequate HR staffing." Olga said. In addition to HR, the Williamson Hall Cluster also provides finance/accounting services and has four accounting employees.
The team is most busy with recruiting efforts and the hiring of student workers in April for summer employment. The month before school starts in the fall is also hectic. Fortunately, their work is mostly steady rather than having the peaks and valleys that other positions may experience.
Keeping track of changing policies, procedures, and benefits is the biggest challenge the team faces. That, and helping employees understand that the HR staff are not the rule makers. "We're just the enforcers," Marit said.
And sometimes being the enforcer is a delicate matter. "It's hard because we act as employee advocates, but we also support management," Olga said. "We really have our feet in both worlds."
Each of the five departments that the unit serves has its own set of policies and procedures, which the team must continuously be aware of. For example, ASR places a strong emphasis on professional development. As such, after six months of employment, ASR employees are allowed four hours per week to use to attend a class on campus. This is harder for smaller departments to do, however, because of coverage loss.
But, at the end of the day, it's all about making life as easy as possible for employees. "The best part of my job," Marit said, "is knowing that you helped someone, and that person didn't have to go to five different places to find the answer."
Marit Gladem, HR Specialist
Olga Kavun-Wozniak, HR/Payroll Cluster Lead
Melissa DeWees, Principal Office & Administrative Specialist