University of Wisconsin employees weighed in on an effort to overhaul UW’s current human resources system at a public forum Wednesday.

Harry Webne-Behrman, a UW training officer, said the forum was designed to be as open as possible to provide accurate information to people about the new system, which has been in the planning stages for several months now. He said it will be the first in a series of community conversations.

“We really need to be all involved, so whether you are first shift, second shift, third shift, whether you have easy computer access or not, regardless of your classification in the system and your power and privilege within that system, it is our intention for all voices to be heard,” Webne-Behrman said.

Vice Chancellor for Administration Darrell Bazzell said UW has to make sure the system they put forth is more efficient and more responsive to best serve employees for many years to come.

Bazzell said under the new system, no employee will experience a loss of pay. He also said the new system will include the opportunity for merit pay, which is impossible under the current system.

“We need to make sure this system provides the best opportunity to attract the best and brightest,” Bazzell said. “We need to make sure we develop them, we retain them and we reward them in ways that are meaningful.”

He said UW also needs to make sure the new system protects employee rights and that the new systems will still  be part of the state health care system and state retirement system.

Bob Lavigna, UW’s director of Human Resources and the leader of the Human Resources Design Project, said they plan to implement the system by July 2013.

“This is the beginning of that discussion, not the end,” Lavigna said. “We will continue to reach out to the entire campus community to make sure that we understand what you think this new HR system ought to be and what to accomplish.”

He said they want to make the system flexible and responsive, meeting the needs not only of employees today but also future needs. He said the new system would also embrace diversity as well as inclusiveness, and ensure employees are engaged with the mission of the university and colleagues.

Lavigna said they have put together a diverse advisory committee, which is helping the project leaders organize the reform and provide feedback to the teams as they develop their recommendations.

He also said 11 teams are working to develop the program, and seven of the groups will soon present a rough draft of recommendations for the new HR System.

Lavigna added one goal includes creating a more flexible compensation system, but that they would need to figure out how to fund the system.

He said the new plan will have no effect on faculty tenure, no impact on academic staff governing rights and no effect on employees who are currently subject to due process. He also said student employee categories are within the scope of the project.