University of Wisconsin–Madison

The HR@UW 2017 Conference in Review: A Celebration of Partnerships

UW–Madison’s second HR@UW Conference for the HR and Payroll campus community took place on Monday, December 4, 2017 at Union South, drawing roughly 235 members of the university’s HR and Payroll community as well as HR professionals from UW Extension. Registrations reflected approximately 110 different departments and 75 different job titles across campus.

91% of participants reported that they felt the conference was a good use of time.

The conference theme was Building Partnerships for Success, and in that spirit, the conference began with a keynote panel of thought leaders on engagement, inclusion, and diversity versus a single presenter. This was a previously untried approach, which was generally well received.

I was so impressed by the content & [panelists]. I really enjoyed hearing each of their perspectives on the connection between diversity and inclusion work, and human resources. I will be sharing [ideas from this session] with my team.

This is an amazing way to kick off the conference! It was great to have the importance of EID in all of our HR initiatives discussed by the panel and throughout the conference!

The panelists talked about a highly charged topic in a very candid and easy to follow format.

A fabulous topic. I wish I had a transcript….

The keynote prompted a few requests for more time for questions, discussion, and synthesis of ways to apply concepts and initiatives that the panelists shared—a good lesson learned.

While the safety goggles exercise was noted as “particularly engaging,” there was some concern about the wastefulness of the exercise. Note that lettering can be removed from the glasses by scribbling over the ‘permanent’ writing with a Sharpie and wiping the glasses clean while the ink is wet.

After the keynote panel, 25 presenters facilitated learning across 17 topics ranging from the ‘opportunity of conflict’ to civics 101 and the process of rulemaking. Sessions drew an average of 30 attendees.

Session breakouts were well received. A favorite was Laura Patricia Minero’s highly interactive session, Allyship in HR: Providing Culturally Responsive and Inclusive Customer Service. Attendees were overwhelmingly positive about this session.

This was the most thought-provoking session I attended. It forced me to see how my own feelings about culture and identity are so connected to how I identify and treat others.

The exercise …was a new way to look at items I would not have thought could be so influential.

[This session was] out of my comfort zone but I was glad I went.

Minero is working toward her PhD in Counseling at UW–Madison.

Other favorites included Brian Gittens and Kristen Seguin’s Navigating the Muck: Leading Change in HR Service Delivery; Jessica Swenson’s session, Conflicted About Conflict?, which prompted one attendee to “want to attend more conflict management training,” and Jennifer Sell’s Plain Language session, which was called out for being able to be used immediately.

The inaugural HR Business Partner Award drew nominations for eight members of our campus community, and was granted to Ann Bradshaw, Human Resources Manager in the Division of Enrollment Management for her partnering skill, which was particularly amplified in these nomination comments:

[Ann] has the ability to unite a group’s effort and make others’ contributions more effective than they would otherwise be.

With Ann’s guidance, we have been able to mitigate issues, and improve performance and morale in ways that are expedient, yet provide the appropriate time and space for all parties to be represented and heard.

You can read more about the award in the HR CoP December newsletter.

The conference also celebrated an inaugural partnership with Open Seat, UW’s student-run, student-serving food pantry. Prior to the conference, Alisha Arnold, Human Resources Specialist with the College of Letters and Science, reached out to the HR CoP Office to inquire about the possibility of collecting non-perishable food items for the pantry. Conference attendees donated a total of 60 pounds of food! Ongoing donations can be made at these campus locations.

Next year’s conference will take place on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. Topics requested for next year included:

  • change management
  • conflict resolution and management
  • disability, ADA and FMLA
  • EID initiatives (continued focus)
  • emotional intelligence
  • employee relations topics
  • employee life cycle and generational differences
  • employment law and compliance
  • health and wellness
  • major HR projects/initiatives at UW–Madison
  • motivation and being the best one can be
  • optimizing social media for recruitment
  • performance management and goal-setting
  • productivity tools in Microsoft
  • rate and title information
  • TREMS for the advanced user
  • time management and prioritizing daily work
  • things HR can do/offer in promoting diversity, beyond recruitment and beyond the public sector

Additionally, there were requests for several of this year’s sessions to be repeated. Watch the HR@UW Monthly Learning Series for those that will be offered throughout 2018.

We look forward to continuing to partner with you in 2018!

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