With debates over the new proposed human resources plan for the University of Wisconsin underway, the Faculty Senate will take the next step in the process of developing the plan by voting on the proposal Nov. 5.
The upcoming vote comes after more than a year of planning around the Human Resources Design Project, which resulted in the creation of the HR Design Strategic Plan. The plan has generated feedback since its release in September.
Robert Lavigna, director of human resources and head of the Human Resources Design Project, said there are many beneficial features in the proposed plan, including creating a unique recruiting and hiring system, giving staff governance rights and installing additional training and developmental opportunities for employees.
“It is significant to have the authority to create our own system that will meet the needs of a world-class university and not be governed by a state government system that is designed for state agencies,” Lavigna said.
Vice Chancellor for Administration Darrell Bazzell said those heading up the Human Resources Design Project have received an enormous amount of feedback on the plan throughout the process of developing its finalized version.
Bazzell added there have been about 10,000 direct contacts at UW involved in conversation about the plan through various methods including public forums and web chats.
“It is a project that affects every employee on campus as well as the students here,” Bazzell said. “So that is the exactly the type of campus engagement we are looking for.”
Bazzell said within the process of obtaining feedback on the plan from around campus, some labor groups continue to voice concerns over some aspects of the plan.
According to Bazzell, conversations are still underway with the labor groups regarding areas they would still like to see modified in the plan.
Lavigna said labor organizations are concerned with the plan’s impact on seniority in the workplace and job protections, adding there has been conversation with the organizations over the structure of the compensation system for employees.
“We’ve identified a compensation approach that will allow for pay raise to be based on several different factors, including internal equity, performance, market and cost of living,” Lavigna said. “There has been some debate over what role each of these factors should play in the compensation program.”
Lavigna said one of the work teams developed to design the plan proposed integrating the systems of benefits of the classified and unclassified occupations at UW. He added some expressed concern over this idea, worrying the benefits to each would be unequal.
According to Lavigna, the plan does not call for these changes to the benefits programs, as the committee feels the need to make those changes in a more “thoughtful way” and collaborate with the governance groups and labor organizations.
Lavigna added while the voting process is beginning, feedback on the plan is still being considered, and it will be developed with the expressed concerns in mind.
Bazzell said the vote will bring more important feedback to the process of developing the right finalized plan. He added the Faculty Senate has been well prepared to vote and give feedback on the plan.
Although it is impossible to predict the outcome of the Faculty Senate vote, Lavigna said he believes the plan allows the university to “collect and retain talented employees.”
“We’ve worked very hard to engage the entire campus in this opportunity to construct a system that will specifically meet the needs of a world-class research and teaching institution,” Lavigna said.
According to a UW statement, the Academic Staff Assembly will vote on the plan Monday, Nov. 12.