University of Wisconsin–Madison

HR Communities of Practice

The HR Communities of Practice (CoP) Office actively engages the Human Resources and Payroll communities in education, resource sharing, and networking, with the goal of improving HR and Payroll practices across UW–Madison. The HR CoP Office also serves as a major link between the HR and Payroll communities and the central Office of Human Resources (OHR) to help improve the quality and consistency of HR and HRS service delivery.

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To foster the healthy development of learning communities and experiences though which human resource and payroll professionals enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities in service to the larger UW–Madison community. This includes:

  1. Supporting and facilitating peer-organized and led “communities of practice” in response to needs and aspirations of their members. (See below for more information.)
  2. Creating and implementing training in emerging areas identified in those learning communities.
  3. Envisioning, developing, delivering, and evaluating the HR Competency model, certificate program and associated programs to provide effective learning opportunities to campus HR and Payroll Professionals.
  4. Serving as liaison between UW–Madison HR and Payroll and the UW System Service Center.
  5. Generally serving as operational, training, and facilitation consultants to the HR and Payroll communities, partnering with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to improve processes and develop and oversee delegations of authority.
  6. Fostering the building and sustaining of relationships across communities.

What are Communities of Practice?

“Communities of practice” are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and seek to learn how to do it better through regular interaction. They share three common elements:

Domain: Communities of practice are identified by a shared area of interest or need. Membership implies a commitment to the domain and a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people. At UW–Madison, for example, a domain might be information technology, a specific HR function, an implementation response to emerging HR laws and regulations, or facilitating effective group processes, teaching and learning.

Community: Communities of practice are comprised of people who share a sense of belonging. In pursuing an interest in a specific domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, share information, and provide support to one another. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other and care about their standing with one other. They may also experience conflicts whose resolution is supported by the community’s sense of trust and respect.

Practice: Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, and ways of addressing recurring problems. At UW–Madison, they may share common functions (such as financial analysts or HR Managers) or skills and interests (such as leadership skills) which they seek to develop further. The practice model allows for the time and sustained interaction necessary to this development.

Contact Us

Office Hours

7:45 am–4:30 pm

Phone and Email



HR Communities of Practice Office
Office of Human Resources
University of Wisconsin–Madison
21 N. Park Street, Suite 5101
Madison, Wisconsin 53715

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