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April 2021 HRM Newsletter

April, 2021
Spring 2021 Staff Professional Development Opportunities

KU Human Resource Management Learning and Development provides a variety of services aimed at improving individual and organizational performance. This includes professional development programming. Listed below are programs happening April through June by Learning and Development and project partners. Register through KU’s Talent Development System at mytalent.ku.edu by clicking the links below. Unless otherwise noted, trainings will be conducted online via Zoom.


Training Spotlight: LinkedIn Learning with Lynda.com Content


All KU staff and faculty have unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning with Lynda.com content through mytalent.ku.edu. LinkedIn Learning provides an on-demand library of 16,000 courses to support your creative and professional skills. Search for topics such as project management, communication, teamwork, conflict, managing, and habits. To access courses log into mytalent.ku.edu, click the Learning tile, and search directly in the Find Learning box or click Browse all courses.

A few courses currently available:

Customer Service: Serving Internal Customers, 43 minutes

Writing Customer Service Emails, 66 minutes

Being Positive at Work, 34 minutes


Compassionate Communication Series

Offered through a partnership between HRM and the Provost Office.

Introduction to Compassionate Communication

Thursday, April 15 | 1 – 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 13 | 1 – 4 p.m.

Wednesday, June 9 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

A Deeper Dive into Empathy

Prerequisite: Introduction to Compassionate Communication

Tuesday, May 18 | 1 – 4 p.m.

Diving Deep into Feelings and Needs

Prerequisite: Introduction to Compassionate Communication

Thursday, April 29 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Handling Conflict Using Compassionate Communication, Part 1: Inner Work (NEW)

Prerequisite: Introduction to Compassionate Communication

Friday, June 25 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Tuesday, June 29 | 1 – 4 p.m.

This training is intended to support participants in applying some fundamental premises and approaches of Compassionate Communication to handling conflict. Focus will be given on addressing one’s own reactivity, assumptions, and “enemy images” one might have of the other person during conflict. This is the internal work of handling conflict. Part 2 will deal with the outer work of handling conflict and have a focus on expressing honestly during conflict and utilizing empathic approaches. Part 2 will be offered in the third quarter (July – September).


Prerequisite: Introduction to Compassionate Communication

Tuesday, April 6 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Compassionate Communication Discussion Session

Every other Monday at 10 a.m. This informal (voluntary) session is an opportunity to share with other KU staff who have completed Compassionate Communication trainings your experiences with integrating CC into your lives (personal and/or professional). It is discussion based, with a facilitator present to answer questions and provide guidance and feedback. Registration requested but not required. Dates: April 12; April 26; May 10; May 24; June 7; June 21

Join via Zoom: https://kansas.zoom.us/j/99274092679 Password: 771754


Conducting Unclassified Professional Staff/University Support Staff and Student Searches

Have a vacancy in your area and need to begin a search? Contact the employment section of HRM at employ@ku.edu to schedule a virtual training to learn about best practices in recruiting, interviewing, equal opportunity, university hiring guidelines, and interviewing practices.


Effective Meeting Preparation: Tips for Leaders and Participants (NEW)

Successful meetings require preparation. In this course we’ll discuss actions that both meeting leaders and meeting participants can take to ensure a meeting is an effective use of everyone’s time. The interactive format will cover goals and agendas, processes to achieve meeting objectives, and after-meeting reviews. We’ll also examine strategies for building teamwork and fostering an atmosphere of psychological safety.

Monday, April 26 | 9 – 11 a.m.

Tuesday, June 22 | 1 – 3 p.m.


Managing Difficult Conversations

Learn tools to prepare for and have a difficult conversation using a five-step framework from the book, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. Bring with you an idea of a difficult conversation you need to have and during class you can workshop your conversation using the framework as your guide.

Thursday, May 20 | 1 – 4 p.m.


Mental Health First Aid (Virtual)

Offered through a partnership between HRM and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center

Virtual Mental Health First Aid is a course designed to teach everyone how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use disorder or crisis as well as the skills to be helpful and supportive to someone that is struggling. Participants are taught how to apply the 5-step Mental Health First Aid Action Plan in a wide variety of situations, from helping someone through a panic attack or to working with someone who may be suicidal. After signing up for this class, you will receive email linking you to a 2-hour pre-work session to accomplish on your own prior to the live Zoom class at the date and time you have selected. There is a $30.00 materials fee for this course. Contact hrdept@ku.edu with questions.

Thursday, April 22 | 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Monday, May 10 | 12:30 – 5 p.m.


Ombuddy Café – Empathy That Fuels Our Life’s Actions

The KU Ombuds Office is hosting virtual walk-in hours this year for anyone interested. No appointment needed. Please "stop by" and join the discussion.

Join via Zoom Meeting: https://kansas.zoom.us/j/99769638742 (Passcode: 131682)

From 10 AM -11PM on April 5, April 19, May 3, May 17


Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Offered by the Institutional Opportunity & Access (IOA)

This training will inform the learner of how unconscious bias negatively affects the workplace, interactions with our colleagues, and impacts productivity. The training uses a simulated module to explore the ways in which unconscious bias can appear in our work and everyday decisions. The training will also provide resources and strategies to recognize unconscious bias and remove its effects from decision-making. This training is especially ideal for members of University search and selection committees. This is the same content IOA provides during the STEP course.

Wednesday, May 5 | 9 a.m. – noon


Virtual STEP: Supervisory Training for Excellence in Performance, 3.0 

Virtual STEP 3.0 is the virtual edition of this long-standing course. It includes new topics relating to supervising remotely and staff mental health. Every Tuesday for eight weeks participants meet via Zoom for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Some weeks include reading and video watching in addition to class time. STEP 3.0 is a comprehensive program for supervisors of staff. Additional topics are hiring process, managing employee performance, compliance, workplace accommodations, communication, organizational change, counseling and disciplinary action, trust and relationship building, self-management, ethics, handling microaggressions, and addressing sexual harassment.

Tuesdays, April 20 – June 8 | 9 – 11 a.m. and 1 – 3 p.m.


Summer Tuition Assitance Deadline Extended

KU provides eligible employees with assistance to cover tuition for one class (up to 5 hours) per semester.  To access the Online Tuition Assistance Application and for information about the program, please visit the Human Resource Tuition Assistance for Employees webpage

Please note: The Office of the University Registrar's Summer 2021  Academic Calendar states that the schedule of courses is to be published on Thursday, April 1st. As a result, Human Resource Management has extended the Summer 2021 Tuition Assistance application deadline to Friday, April 16th.

Applications must be received on time.  Application availability and deadlines are as follows:

  • Summer 2021 Semester:  The application will be made available March 1, 2021, and the deadline is April 16, 2021
  • Fall 2021 Semester:  The application will be made available June 1, 2021, and the deadline is July 2, 2021
  • Spring 2022 Semester:  The application will be made available October 1, 2021, and the deadline is November 5, 2021
Performance Management System Goal Setting

At this time, all Staff University-wide should be using the Performance Management System, in partnership with their supervisors to establish goals for 2021.  More information about the Performance Management System can be found on the Human Resources Website. Training materials can be found here:

Performance Management System - Goals Step-by-Step Instructions - Employees

Performance Management System - Goals Step-by-Step Instructions - Supervisors

If you or your department would like to request additional training to include hands on training, please contact Katie Varner at kdvarner@ku.edu.

A video on best practices in setting goals can be found on the Human Resource Management Website.

Be Active-And Be Outdoors-in Douglas County!

KU employees are invited to register for this Zoom webinar on Wednesday, April 28 from 12 -12:45 pm. Lawrence and Douglas County are blessed with wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation. Our rivers, lakes, parks and trails provide ample opportunities for year-round recreation. This webinar will explore some of the most treasured outdoor spaces for recreation and physical activity, with particular attention to our local trail system. Join to learn about our growing trail system and talk about how using our trails can help you improve health by being active and simply being outdoors and in nature! Presented by Chris Tilden, Ph.D., Research Project Manager for the University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research and Chair of LiveWell Douglas County. Registration is required. Attendees can earn one HealthQuest credit for participating (up to a maximum of 13 credits for events hosted by the KU Faculty/Staff Wellness Committee in 2021).

Walk-Ins Welcome at Immediate Care Clinic

When a need arises during the workday, faculty and staff are able to be seen at the Immediate Care Clinic (ICC) on campus. Watkins Health Services provides accessible and quick medical treatment for KU employees on a walk-in or appointment basis. The clinic is open weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm when classes are in session or 8:30 am to 4:30 pm when classes are not in session. Virtual appointments are also available.

The clinic provides treatment for common illnesses like colds, coughs, sore throats, sinus infections, ear aches, pink eye, rashes, bites, headaches, stomach aches, urinary discomfort and minor cuts and abrasions (non-work related). For convenience, ancillary services like lab work, x-rays, immunizations and prescriptions are also accessible onsite. Employees still need to have a primary care provider for preventive and on-going care and treatment of chronic conditions. Work related injuries are managed by Lawrence Memorial Hospital as the University’s approved provider.

KU affiliated corporations may also use the clinic. Family members, former faculty and staff and retirees are not eligible for care.  Co-pays are collected at time of service and claims are submitted to most insurance companies with the exception of Medicare or Medicaid. For questions or to schedule an appointment, call the ICC at 785-864-95652.

Ambler Recreation Center Membership

Faculty or staff who are currently employed on the Lawrence campus, Edwards campus, or KU Medical Center are eligible to purchase a membership to the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center.  Faculty/Staff can purchase a membership on a weekly, monthly, semester, or annual basis. Faculty/Staff can also payroll deduct their membership on a 9 month or 12 month basis. Verification of status will occur prior to activation of membership.  Faculty/Staff can also purchase their membership online by visiting KU Recstore. Faculty/staff must bring KU Photo ID with them.  Prospective faculty/staff are eligible for a one-time one-week trial at no charge by visiting our administrative office during business hours (M-F 8a-6p).  For more information about KU Recreation Services,  please visit the KU Recreation webpage

Nominate Exceptional Staff for Employee of the Month!

The next deadline for Employee of the Month nominations is June 1, 2021.  This is a great way to recognize exceptional University staff members and show your appreciation for their contributions.  Winners receive a $750 award, a surprise visit from a member of the Provost’s Office, and they become a candidate for the 2022 Employee of the Year Award.


Nominations need not come from an individual’s manager or supervisor, anyone can nominate staff whom they feel go out-of-their way to help others or exceed the normal requirements of their jobs.  This program is open to all regular staff with half-time or greater appointment, with a year of service at the time of nomination.  Employees of most affiliated corporations are also eligible for this program. 


To access the nomination form go to Employee of the Month Webpage there, a paper nomination form can be completed or the online nomination form can be completed. 


Vacation Accrual Reminder

An eligible employee may earn up to 176 hours each fiscal year and may have a maximum balance of 304 hours at the end of each pay period. Once the fiscal year maximum of 176 hours has been reached, the employee will not accrue again until the completion of the first payroll period of next fiscal year.

Most full-time employees will earn the maximum 8 hours per payroll period and will reach 176 hours after the 22nd payroll period of the fiscal year. This year the 22nd payroll period is 4/4/21-4/17/21, check date 4/30/21.  Thus, most employees will not accrue vacation leave beginning with payroll period 4/18/21-5/1/21, check date 5/14/21.

If an employee is at or near the 304-hour maximum vacation balance at the end of any pay period, they will not earn full accruals for that pay period.  If an employee has not accrued the full 176 hours by the 22nd pay period, the employee would continue accruing for the last four pay periods of the fiscal year until they reach 176 hours or until the end of the fiscal year, whichever comes first. 

There are usually 26 payroll periods in a fiscal year.  The Payroll Office Fiscal Year pay period calendars are located at: payroll.ku.edu/.

 HRM vacation website link.

Supervisor Resources

Supervision is an important responsibility. Over the course of the last three months, HRM Employee Relations has sent a monthly email highlighting some important reminders and tips for supervisors. Some items have covered in the emails have included goal setting, providing honest feedback, and the value of recognition. These messages will continue monthly for supervisors., and we are also in the final phases of launching a KU Supervisor website that will serve as a one-stop site for all things supervision. If you are a supervisor, check your inbox for these monthly messages and look forward to utilizing the website. Below is a sampling from this month’s supervisor message focused on recognition.

The pandemic may have dulled the natural and spontaneous ways we have traditionally engaged our employees. Remember the days passing someone in the hallway and saying  “that was a great presentation you made” or dropping into an employee’s office just to say “thank you” or quietly leaving  a handwritten note of appreciation on their desk? 

Working remotely or not -- recognize and value those we lead and supervise by considering the following:

Recognize your employees weekly; plan time on your calendar to focus on recognition
Individualize the recognition to each employees’ unique style and preferences
Sincerely and authentically express your thanks to your employees and team
Encourage your employees to recognize their peers and engender team-recognition

Supervisors, we appreciate your dedication and service to the University of Kansas and to your staff teams. If you have questions or need additional support in your role as supervisor, please contact us at 785-864-4946 or hrdept@ku.edu, and we are happy to assist!

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