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Highlights | HR is here to help

  • Human Resources (HR) supports both employees and the organization.
  • HR helps with anything from hiring and compensation to providing resources and navigating policies.

Human Resources, aka HR, is made up of five primary areas: talent management, compensation and benefits, training and development, compliance and workplace safety. A big part of HR’s role is to help employees and the organization navigate different laws, policies, benefits and life events.

“It is my personal goal to try to make sure things are as fair as possible for the employees and the organization,” says Kristine Wegener, director of ITS Human Resources & Administration. “Organizations need to reach their broader goals, but they cannot reach them without their people. HR is about creating a workplace environment where people can do their best work and the organization reaches its goals.”

UW’s HR resources you might not know about

The university’s HR teams offer many valuable resources to staff. Here are three great perks worth exploring.

  1. Building professional development
    • Looking to improve your leadership or professional development skills? The UW Medicine Organization Development and Training (OD&T) team has a class for you. Check out OD&T course offerings.
    • Need help with career planning and development? This step-by-step Career Planning Resource (PDF) from the UW Professional and Organization Development (POD) team provides a framework and worksheets to get you closer to your dream job.
    • Seeking a mentor or wanting to help a colleague along in their professional journey? POD’s mentoring tools are a perfect place to start.
  2. Staying active
    • Want to incorporate more movement into your daily routine? The Whole U team is here to help. Carve out 15 minutes to dance or perfect your downward dog pose and join the team for a virtual Daily 15 Minute Movement Break.
    • Trying to find a convenient and consistent workout class to do each week? Join Lauren Updyke, the director of the Whole U, for a virtual weight training class every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:15 or 7:15 a.m. (PT).
    • Interested in running but do not know where to start? Want to realize your dream of completing a marathon but feel intimidated by the training involved? The Whole U offers training plans for all fitness levels! Check out the 5K Running Plan for Beginners or follow the 16-week training plan to help you reach the finish line of half- and full-marathon races.
  3. Navigating life events
    • The Washington State Employee Assistance Program (WA EAP) provides free and confidential access to counseling, legal advice, financial guidance, work/life solutions and more. To learn more, visit the WA EAP Resource Guides and Materials.
    • Looking to save money and meet your financial goals? Check out the discounts offered to UW employees for more options to save on your day-to-day expenses.
    • Feeling overwhelmed with personal or health-related matters? UW’s time off and leave policies are here to help ease the stress of navigating numerous life events.

The humans behind human resources

Have you ever wondered what HR people are really like? Here are three things you should know about HR from HR professionals.

We are employees too.

“We have feelings, we may make errors, and sometimes situations can really impact us when we hear about the hardships employees go through outside of work; we really care about employees’ wellbeing,” says Jenny Klohe, leave and accommodations specialist at UW Medicine.

HR practitioners are doing their best to do their jobs, just like other employees.

“People put HR on this pedestal that we are separate from others and anyone around us can’t be themselves. I am a regular person, too,” says Wegener. “There are all these qualities we have outside of our professional lives that everyone else potentially has, too.”

We are not always “bad news.”

A common misconception about HR is that if you need to talk to HR, someone gets into trouble. In fact, a lot of what HR does is help staff access the information they need.

“We’re a hub for helping,” says Laura Barry, leave and accommodations specialist at Harborview Medical Center. “HR is always happy to help — even if it’s just to point you in the right direction, our doors are always open.”

We don’t always talk to your manager.

Many employees hesitate to go to HR because they believe that HR reports everything back to their managers.

“I’m here to serve whoever is asking for help,” says Wegener. “Maybe what you need help with is how to approach your boss about a topic around career development. We want to empower you to go to your boss and have that discussion.”

HR is here to brainstorm ideas, offer suggestions and help you build the skillset you need to have those conversations on your own.

Learn more

HR is here to help. Find the contacts and resources you need, from employee support to career development.