Kansas State University


Human Capital Services: Connect

A message from Vice President Jay Stephens

I recently hung in my office a print of a painting entitled “Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog” by German artist Caspar David Friedrich. It depicts a man on a rocky outcrop looking over a valley shrouded in fog. I think the message for me is about taking the time to gain a different point of view and gain some perspective. Down in the fog shrouded valley, the view might be obscured but getting up on the rocks a beautiful vista is revealed. There is a lot going on for the university right now: strategic enrollment, new budget model work is ongoing, and the legislature is back in session. Perhaps it feels a bit foggy sometimes. As I think about perspective on all the strategic initiatives, climbing to the overlook I see a great future. I love this university and the people who make it special every day. All of this work is about making the university better, giving us more stability, pushing to the future and keeping K-State as a great place to learn, work and make amazing contributions.

With that in mind, I wanted to provide information on the following efforts in Human Capital Services:

  • K-State New Employee Welcome-This new employee welcome program will go live April 10 and from there on will occur on the second Wednesday every month, “Welcome Wednesday.” We will provide new employees with an outstanding introduction to K-State. Once a decision is made to hire a new employee there is a process we go through, bringing them onto campus and completing all of the necessary paperwork and steps. We are aiming to make that experience more efficient, faster and to provide people with an amazing introduction to becoming a part of the K-State family. Among those who will be involved in this employee welcome are: the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the K-State Alumni Association, faculty from the College of Human Ecology and the K-State Polytechnic campus, and HCS staff.
  • Paid Parental Leave-Late last year, then Governor Colyer issued an executive order granting paid parental leave to state employee. He exempted the regents universities and indicated they could develop their own policy. The Kansas Board of Regents asked the universities to come together to draft a policy to take to the Board. I was tasked with coordinating this effort among the regents universities’ HR departments and am happy to say we have completed that work and the proposed policy will go before the Council of Presidents and Kansas Board of Regents Fiscal Affairs and Audit Committee this month. Hopefully this will lead to full adoption by the Board and we can get this amazing benefit in place as quickly as possible.
  • K-State Supervisory Foundations-I could not be more pleased to announce that the K-State Supervisory Foundations training program will be kicking off with its pilot group in March. This effort is a direct response to what the university told us it needed in the needs assessment and climate survey. I cannot say enough about our own Learning and Development team and all the partners we have. Participants are going to receive content from some of our amazing faculty members and other experts. This is an investment in all our supervisors, those they supervise and is a strong statement about the kind of culture we want for our employees.
  • Global Competency Framework-Work on a global competency framework continues with four teams filled with people from all parts of the university focusing on: competency modeling, career paths, performance management and career development. You can view these teams on our web site and see what they are working on. The teams have explored what other universities are doing, found best practices and are providing recommendations on what might be the right approach for K-State. This initiative is a multi-year effort that will move at a deliberate pace that recognizes our ability to absorb change, the capacity we and our partners have to make it happen and the priorities of the university as a whole.
  • Process Improvements-We are also looking at internal process improvement. Some of our groups, specifically payroll, the resource center and benefits in partnership with ISO (Information Systems Office) have been pushing through process and procedures to streamline and make things more efficient. The ISO has been such a valuable partner and I want to thank Betsy Draper, Darci Potroff and Loren Wilson particularly for making this such a value-added experience.

In all of this work we are fortunate and happy that so many university stakeholders are engaged with us, have responded and teamed up with us.

Hot topics

Over the past year, Human Capital Services (HCS) has been working hard to develop a new program to acclimate new employees to K-State resources, culture and traditions. This enhanced new employee orientation program – the K-State New Employee Welcome – will provide all new benefits-eligible employees with an in-depth knowledge of K-State at the beginning of their career.

The goal of the K-State New Employee Welcome program is to bring new employees together, providing each person with an experience that will ensure that they have a sense of belonging and are connected from the start. This will be accomplished through a well-rounded approach, introducing employees to K-State history, traditions, initiatives, systems and much more. Held on the second Wednesday of each month, the program will include four hours of instruction, learning and discussion and a one-hour tour of the K-State campus.

The program design team researched several of K-State’s peer and aspirant institutions to gauge best practices to help guide the structure of this new program. In collaboration with key stakeholders and partners campus-wide, program content was developed and will be facilitated by these same partners and HCS staff. Feedback will be collected throughout the year as we continue to enhance the program.

To learn more about the K-State New Employee Welcome program, including program details and frequently asked questions, visit the HCS website.

Benefits focus

Do you have student loan debt and worry how these obligations impact your overall financial wellness?

Did you know as a K-State employee there are ways to get a portion of your student loan(s) forgiven? If you meet certain eligibility criteria, your Federal Direct student loans may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or PSLF. View eligibility criteria, repayment programs and other helpful information by visiting the Federal Student Aid website.

Employer certification may be required as part of the application process. The form can be found here and submitted to Human Capital Services for completion. When working towards eligibility this form is submitted annually, or when you change employers.

Kansas State University offers free resources and counseling to help.

Powercat Financial provides free, web-based resources to any individual seeking help with student loan planning and repayment, as well as budgeting, saving, managing debt and more. Face-to-face counseling sessions with peer financial counselors are currently only available to employees who are also current K-State students.

The State of Kansas Employee Assistance Program, or EAP offers counseling and advice on a variety of topics. Take advantage of these free financial resources by visiting the GuidanceResources® Online. EAP counselors are also available 24/7 by calling 1-888-275-1205. The EAP is available to all active, benefits-eligible employees of the State of Kansas and their dependents.

Questions? We’re here to help! Contact us at benefits@k-state.edu.

In action

This spring, Human Capital Services is excited to partner with a variety of academic units and key leaders at K-State to offer a renewed supervisory training experience.  HCS currently offers Introduction to Supervision, a supervisory program that is primarily available to supervisors of University Support Staff (USS) employees.  After February, that programming will be discontinued and will be replaced with updated programming offering more thorough and relevant content. K-State Supervisory Foundations will be available to any K-State supervisor and will be offered three to four times a year. The launch of this program will allow HCS to achieve a key K-State 2025 outcome of providing supervisory training for all employees by 2020. HCS has identified key content areas for the supervisory program as a result of the 2017 Professional Development Needs Assessment, research of peer and aspirational higher education institutions and a focus group of K-State supervisory stakeholders.

A tiered training approach offering three distinct pillars will allow K-State supervisors to achieve supervisory mastery through a variety of content areas over time.  A pilot offering of K-State Supervisory Foundations Pillar I will be offered in March and April and programming will be launched in June. Employees are encouraged to visit the website for more information or send any questions to Learning and Development at learning-develop-hr@k-state.edu.

HCS team highlights and changes

Human Capital Services strives to encourage professional development and community involvement amongst our staff. Below are a few of the proud achievements and highlights of several members of our team!

Team Highlights

Amanda McDiffett, director of benefits, graduated from TIAA’s Emerging Leaders Network program.

Lindsey Fouquett, executive recruitment manager, and Kristi Fronce, Human Capital Supervisor- Central, have been accepted into TIAA’s Emerging Leaders Network Program.

Jenny Locanthi Dowell, manager of compensation and organization effectiveness in Talent Solutions in Human Capital Services, has been elected to serve as director for the Kansas State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, or KSSHRM.

Team Changes

The past couple of months have brought many staff changes to Human Capital Services. Some of these changes may already be familiar, while a few are rather recent.

New faces

Human Capital Services is excited to welcome the following new employees to our team.

  • David Brown joins as the Director of Operations
  • Shauna Samuel serves as the HCS main point of contact.
  • LaVerne Williamson joins as an employee relations and engagement specialist.

Bittersweet goodbyes

When a team member leaves, it is often bittersweet. We hate to see them go but are happy for them as they embark on their next journey. This past month, Human Capital Services said goodbye to a few long-standing members of our community. We at HCS wish them all the best!

  • Gina Lowe, employee relations and engagement, retired from K-State after more than 31 years of service to the university.

A message from Vice President Jay Stephens

Engaging all of our university partners is critically important to achieving any of our goals and aspirations, particularly when it comes to our K-State 2025 plan. Teamwork is among the many lessons I have learned over the years, some of them a long time ago as a high school athlete. In a not too distant year, I was playing in the Nevada state championship baseball game. I was our catcher. The week before the state tournament one of our star pitchers had an emergency appendectomy and could not play. We had two great pitchers, including him. As a result, we used our first-star pitcher to reach the championship and in the title game, we used an unproven sophomore pitcher. We got destroyed.

I think the final in the championship game was 17-5. Near the middle of the game, it was clear things were out of hand. I looked out to the mound and could see our young sophomore pitcher was having a hard time emotionally. I called time and jogged out to the mound and asked, “What’s going on?” He looked at me with teary eyes (yes there is crying in baseball) and said, “I’m letting your guys down.” With all of the maturity, my 17-year-old self could muster I calmly responded, “This is it for me. I am a senior and this is the last time I will ever play organized baseball. Listen to me. We win as a team and we lose as a team. These guys are just better than we are today. Tell you what, you throw the ball, I’ll catch it and let’s get out of here.” Everyone on a team has the potential to lift each other up and help us reach our objectives and goals. Team members have each other’s back in times of ease and times when there is struggle.

As I mentioned in our last newsletter, we have reached out to and are involving many university team members in our HCS strategic initiatives. We have listened to input from a variety of places including the 2014 Climate Survey, 2017 Professional Development Needs Assessment, peer and aspirational higher educational institutions, and input from university partners.

I promised in our last edition more information about our initiatives and today you can view that information on the HCS web site. You can visit our web site to find out more about the HCS Strategic Advisory Council, who they are and the role they play in assisting us. You can also learn more about a global competency framework, timelines for implementation and the university-wide teams that have been created to work on the following items associated with that: competency modeling, career ladders and paths, career development and performance management.

In addition, you will see information about our other initiatives such as Supervisory Foundations training and employee onboarding. Those initiatives also involve many university partners. We will continue to update our progress as these teams work and accomplish milestones. We have so much appreciation for those who have and will assist in achieving our goals. Teamwork is a hallmark of K-State and a reminder that we really do have great people here.

In action

Human Capital Services acquired through a request for proposal a global competency framework through Korn Ferry® to integrate into the full employee life cycle at Kansas State University. A research-based competency library establishes a foundation so we do not have to focus our resources on reinventing the wheel.

What does a competency framework provide? A competency framework will establish common language among employees to identify and utilize skills and behaviors required for success. This will assist HCS in achieving key outcomes for K-State 2025’s career architecture strategy including identifying competencies, implementing career ladders, performance management, and career development.

What are competencies? Competencies are observable and measurable skills and behaviors that contribute to workplace effectiveness and career success.

Competency modeling brings proven benefits. Organizations that use competency models to guide their selection and development efforts enjoy several key benefits:

  • Greater alignment with business objectives.
  • Enhanced productivity.
  • Increased workforce agility.
  • Improved ability to identify and develop high potentials.
  • Better retention of top talent.

Learn more information about the competency framework initiative: HCS Strategic Initiatives.

Hot topics

Kansas State University aims to be an employer of choice for recruiting and retaining top talent. The university strives to create a positive and inclusive working culture where everyone is informed, engaged, and has a strong employment relationship with one’s manager / supervisor and colleagues. The foundation for this environment can be created through onboarding. Well engaged employees become champions of K-State 2025 through K-State’s mission, goals and initiatives.

What is Onboarding? Onboarding is more than completing new hire paperwork or attending orientation. Onboarding is a collaborative, strategic approach that provides new employees with the needed information, tools, and resources to effectively meet organizational goals. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, nine out of 10 employees decide whether they will stay or leave an organization within the first six months and the Human Capital Institute suggests engaging new hires in an effective onboarding program can maximize retention, engagement, and productivity.

Onboarding aims to:

  • Increase new employee productivity by training the new employee about the department, college/unit, and university.
  • Improve retention rates of new employees within all employee groups by providing a wide array of information that employees need in order to feel engaged, successful, and connected.
  • Provide audience-specific, in-depth, timely information over an extended period of time, so that information is useful and memorable for the new employee.
  • Streamline processes and provide best practice information to enable managers/supervisors to deliver high-quality, consistent, and accurate information systemically to all new employees.
  • Foster an environment of employee engagement, where employees feel that Kansas State University is a great place to work.

Why is effective onboarding beneficial?

  • Builds K-State’s and your college/department’s reputation for being a thoughtful employer with excellent training, clear leadership, and a strong organization.
  • Helps retain your senior staff members.
  • Reduces high turnover costs.
  • Supports new colleagues and quickly moves them to efficient productivity levels.
  • Builds better team relationships across the department/college.

More information and tools are available in the Hiring Toolkit: Onboarding Guide.

Benefit focus

Electronic Incident Reporting: In November 2018, Kansas State University will begin using a new electronic incident reporting process. This electronic system will replace the former Accident Report Form. This new process will provide a better user experience for the employee, department, and administration. It will also ensure work-related incidents are reported in a timely manner to the State Self Insurance Fund for assessment.

The information gathered in the incident reporting process will also be used by K-State Environmental Health and Safety. EHS exists to support uninterrupted research and learning within a safe and healthy environment at K-State.

A big thanks to the core team who have worked diligently to design, test, and implement this new system:

  • Project Lead: Stacy Divine, Human Capital Services
  • Blake Abbe, Administration and Finance
  • Christina Aguilera, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Becky Ayres, Animal Sciences and Industry
  • Joseph Barbercheck, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Cathy Barry, Lafene Health Center
  • Jaci Begnoche, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Marlene Kunze Dolan, Housing and Dining
  • Lisa Linck, Environmental Health and Safety
  • Amanda McDiffett, Human Capital Services
  • Cindy McNulty, Administrative Support Center
  • Darci Pottroff, Information Systems Office
  • Jim Parker, Lafene Health Center
  • Kathy Roeser, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Bridget Seeman, Administrative Support Center
  • Michael Spears, Office of Mediated Education
  • Aaron Wilkins, Environmental Health and Safety

The system will be activated mid-November. Watch K-State Today for updates and more information.

Questions? Contact the Benefits Team at benefits@ksu.edu

New faces and bittersweet goodbyes

The past two months have brought many staff changes to Human Capital Services. Some of these changes may already be familiar, while a few are rather recent.

New faces

Human Capital Services is excited to welcome the following new employees to our team.

  • Richard Augustin started his new position as Payroll Manager on Oct. 11.
  • Greta Bauer started her new position as an Office Specialist III on Oct. 15.
  • Megan Hoelting began in HCS as our new Learning and Development Consultant on Oct. 1.
  • Kaitlin McGuire was hired into her new position as a Strategic Partner in Talent Solutions on Aug. 27.

Bittersweet goodbyes

When a team member leaves, it is often bittersweet. We hate to see them go, yet are happy for them as they embark on their next journey. This past month, Human Capital Services said goodbye to a few long-standing members of our community. We at HCS wish them all the best!

  • Jennifer King, Data and Analytics, last day in HCS was Sept. 21. She left the university to pursue a position in marketing in the private sector.
  • Jolene Agan, Human Capital Specialist, last day in HCS was Oct. 12. Jolene will be moving out of state to pursue her dream of owning her own business.

A message from Vice President Jay Stephens

A short time ago I hit the one year mark of my time at K-State. As a student of history I learned to examine the past but also to look to build the future informed by what came before. I think that is what we all do at a university — we build something new, discover something new and create something new often on the shoulders of what came before. Our K-State 2025 plan does just that. Based on K-State 2025 and what has already happened and what we want to achieve, Human Capital Services also has a 2025 strategic plan. We have some amazing team members in HCS working every day to make things better.

Our leadership team met in December of 2017 to develop and lay out our strategic priorities for the coming year. From those priorities, informed by our 2025 plan, ambitious goals were formed. Among those goals were an HRIS functional upgrade from PeopleSoft 9.1 to version 9.2. In a few short months, with the partnership of colleagues from ISO and ITS, we accomplished that goal.

Another of our goals is the development of a supervisor training program for all supervisors at K-State. Work on accomplishing that kicked off with meetings with a variety of campus stakeholders, listening sessions with campus partners and design work on content. This program will offer incredible resources and tools for those who supervise on campus.

We also have begun work on the foundations of implementation of a competency model and career ladders. Competencies are observable and measurable skills and behaviors that contribute to workplace effectiveness and career success. You will be hearing more about this very soon.

We established a strategic advisory council for Human Capital Services, which had its first meeting in early June. This council is made up of a variety of campus constituents from varying backgrounds. We appreciate their willingness to be our sounding board and help guide and evaluate our efforts and strategy as we continue building a customer-centric culture.

Like many of you, HCS has a lot of exciting, challenging initiatives to tackle and achieve. Keeping you informed is one of those initiatives and we hope this newsletter helps.

Benefits focus

Taking a vacation and looking for ways to save money? The State of Kansas STAR (State Thanks and Recognition) program may help. Discounts are available for travel, lodging, events and activities. Other discounts may include electronics, cell-phone companies and more! All K-State employees are eligible for the program. Check out the full listing on the State Thanks and Recognition website.

The Employee Assistance Program also offers discounts on various entertainment events, including theme parks, movie tickets, hotels and more! Sign up for Guidance Resources and Working Advantage on the Guidance Resources website.

Happy Saving!

Questions? Contact your Benefits Team at benefits@ksu.edu.

In action

How TEAMWORK made paychecks possible.

Human Capital Services was in the process of creating paychecks for June 1 when the Hale Library fire occurred. With all resources and systems unavailable, the HCS Resource Center & Operations and Benefits teams went into action. With assistance from K-State’s Office of Information Systems, Information Technology Services and the Statewide Payroll and Accounting Department in Topeka, they created alternative resources to produce paychecks just in time. Countless hours, including Memorial Day weekend, were spent working on this payroll.

The HCS Resource Center & Operations staff would like to thank the many liaisons across campus who went the extra mile to help get our employees paid.  Your patience and assistance during this time has been greatly appreciated.

New faces and bittersweet goodbyes

The summer months have brought many staff changes to Human Capital Services. Some of these changes may already be familiar, while a few are rather recent.

New faces

Human Capital Services is excited to welcome the following to our ranks.

  • Jenny Dowell, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, started her new position as Compensation and Organizational Effectiveness Manager on July 9.
  • Kaitlin McGuire, starts her new position as a Talent Acquisition Strategic Partner on Aug. 27.

Bittersweet Goodbyes

When a team member leaves, it is often bittersweet. We hate to see them go, yet are happy for them as they embark on their next journey. This past summer, Human Capital Services said goodbye to some while others announced plans for retirement. We at HCS wish them all the best!

  • Erica Graydon, Payroll Manager, left the university at the end of June to move closer to family.
  • Samantha Roberts, Learning & Development, is transitioning to a position as a STEM teacher at a local elementary school. Her last day in HCS is Aug. 31.
  • Deena Schmelzle, Office Specialist III, has announced her retirement. Her last day with HCS will be Friday, Sept. 21.

Tips, highlights and upcoming events

HCS tips

Human Capital Services team members are always ready to provide assistance and guidance on all of your human resources need. If you have any questions please visit our website at www.k-state.edu/hcs or you may contact our call center at the number listed below.

HCS Call Center: 785-532-1888

  • The Movement Challenge is underway! Beginning Aug. 19, the five-week challenge begins. Keep track of your activities and submit them for the opportunity to win prizes. Employees who participate in the Movement Challenge will earn 4 HealthQuest credits for reporting activity all five weeks of the challenge.
  • Human Capital Services is dedicated to improving services to the campus community. A few areas that we have been working to improve include reclassification requests, hiring processes, onboarding and communication efforts across campus.

Benefits Open Enrollment is right around the corner. Please keep an eye out for communications through the K-State Today and the Benefits website. As in the past, Benefit Enrollment runs through the month of October.

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