Allison Niles has been working at UW–Madison for just over six years, for most of that time as the Payroll Services Manager in the Office of Human Resources (OHR). Before joining UW–Madison, she was the controller for a solar company in New York City.
Recently she was offered and accepted a role on the Administrative Transformation Program (ATP) as the HR Functional Lead for the Administrative Transformation Program (ATP). In this role, Allison will work closely with HR Strategy Lead Patrick Sheehan as well as the Core, Design and Validation Teams, to help guide their work and assist in the development of business process design recommendations that will ultimately be made to the Program Sponsors and Executive Leadership. She is excited to start her new role.
Why did you make the choice to work on ATP?
I was ready for a new challenge and had started to think about what kind of role I would like to apply for. I wanted to collaborate with smart people, have a positive impact on my organization and stay at UW–Madison if possible. ATP offered all of that and more!
How did your role in OHR prepare you for the HR Functional Lead role?
Through my work in payroll, I’ve been exposed to many administrative areas at UW–Madison. I’ve collaborated with employees in finance and research administration—as well as HR and payroll professionals in nearly every division across campus. Payroll is a function at UW–Madison in which a lot of different areas intersect and the impact to employees is direct.
What opportunities do you see in this new role?
ATP is an opportunity to participate in designing “people-first” administrative processes. I believe in the major goals of ATP: start with people, improve data access, streamline business processes, and “right size” the complexity of UW–Madison’s administration.
It’s also a chance to learn more about UW–Madison and project and change management—an immense professional growth opportunity!
What have you loved most about your work in the past? What motivates you?
I love to work on complex issues with solution-minded experts from different areas on campus. Solving problems, collaborating, improving, and streamlining processes motivates me.
How did you get into payroll/ human resources?
In college, I wanted to study acting and writing, although neither of these are lucrative career paths. In order to avoid having to take on student loans, I joined the Army National Guard for the tuition reimbursement program and my military occupational specialty was HR. I have a BFA in theater and English and am currently pursuing a master’s in organizational leadership and change at Edgewood College.
Any learning experiences (formal or informal) that have had long-term resonance in your career?
The Kauffman Seminar is a wonderful way to learn about UW–Madison and I recommend it to anyone who is able to participate. I took it years ago and still regularly reference things I learned there. The combination of different speakers really increased my understanding of the obstacles and opportunities facing higher education in Wisconsin and nationwide.
What do you do for fun?
I cook a lot, hang out with my kids and go to yoga.