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January 2019 Human Resource Management Newsletter

January, 2019
Performance Management System - Self Evaluation Due January 11, 2019

On October 15, 2018, all regular staff members due an annual evaluation received an email from the Performance Management System notifying them that the 2018 Annual Performance Evaluation had been launched and the self-evaluation was available for them to complete. The self-evaluation is due January 11, 2019.  Once the employee completes their self-evaluation in the 2018 Annual Performance Evaluation, the employee will forward the self-evaluation to their supervisor within the Performance Management System. The entire evaluation process is to be completed by March 1, 2019.

Hands on Training has been scheduled specific to the 2018 Annual Evaluation Form in the Learning Management System.

Step-by-Step Instructions for the evaluation process as an employee can be found at: Performance Evaluation - Step-by-Step Instructions for the Employee

Step-by-Step Instructions for the evaluation process as a supervisor can be found at: Performance Evaluation - Step-by-Step Instructions for the Supervisor

Nominate Exceptional Teams for Special Recognition
Nomination Deadline: January 31, 2019

Any group consisting of three or more members is eligible for consideration for the Exceptional Team award. The nomination should be based on a project or assignment that is above and beyond the team’s normal course of duties.  Project participants may also be drawn from a cross section of University departments. This year’s nomination deadline is extended to January 31, 2019, and the winning team will be recognized at the Employee Recognition Ceremony to be held in May.

To access the nomination form go to Nominate Team Award Form.

Annual Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for All Faculty and Staff

The University of Kansas is committed to a culture in which students, faculty and staff can study and work in an environment free from sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence and discrimination. Our efforts to create a safe and empowering institution begin with a common frame of reference and set of expectations for acceptable behavior. We gain and reinforce this shared knowledge by all of us participating in annual sexual harassment prevention training.

The “Harassment/Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct/Violence Reporting Obligations” training module in KU’s MyTalent system will be available for a limited time at the beginning of the year. All faculty and staff must complete the training between January 2 and March 1, 2019, and those who miss the deadline will be prompted regularly until the training is complete. Doing so takes considerable resources, and thus I am asking for your support to plan accordingly and complete the training before the deadline.

The importance of this training and the value to the well-being of our students and employees is so great that it is one of only two trainings required of all faculty and staff. We will remind you when the “Harassment/Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct/Violence Reporting Obligations” module becomes available in January, and I encourage you to complete the required training at your earliest convenience.

It is vital that you have information and understanding about sexual misconduct, its varying forms, and the effects it may have on individuals and workplace environments. The training also will help you know how to recognize, intervene and report sexual misconduct, as well as how to best support survivors.

2019 Goal Plan Available - begin setting 2019 goals in the Performance Management System

The 2019 Goal Plan is now available in the Performance Management System.  Staff and supervisors of staff now both have the ability to add goals to the 2019 goal plan.  The 2019 goal plan can be accessed by logging into mytalent.ku.edu

At least one goal must be established during the 2019 calendar year.  A best practice is 3-5 goals.  It is advised that goals are established as early in the 2019 review period as possible.

Step-by-step instructions on how to establish goals as an employee can be found here: Step-by-Step Instructions - Goals - Employee

Step-by-step instruction on how to establish goals as supervisor can be found here: Step-by-Step Instructions - Goals - Supervisor

Additional training for the Performance Management System, to include desk side coaching can be requested by emailing hrdept@ku.edu for more information.

Thank you for supporting the professional development of your staff by engaging actively in the Performance Management system.  

2018-2019 Student Employee of the Year Award

This award was established to recognize student employees that embody service excellence, dedication, and whose academic achievements remain stellar.

Departmental supervisors can submit their nominations online at career.ku.edu/seoty. Only one nomination per student will be accepted. Supervisors may nominate up to three students. Departments may nominate multiple students, as long as no more than three students are nominated by a single supervisor.

All nominees and their supervisors will be invited to attend a ceremony on April 16, 2019. During the ceremony, the winner and four finalists will receive a solid brass Jayhawk. The Student Employee of the Year will be awarded $500 and entered into the National Student Employee of the Year competition.  All nominees, the winner and the four finalists will receive a Jayhawk pin and a certificate of recognition.

Students must meet the following criteria in order to be nominated for the award.

2018-2019 award:

Currently enrolled at KU through Spring 2019

Degree seeking part-time/full-time student

Undergraduate or graduate employee (Must be classified as a student hourly)

Employed by the department for a minimum of six months part-time or three months full-time between June 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019 (anticipated)

Maintain a minimum G.P.A. of 2.5.

The deadline to submit your nomination is February 8, 2019

Questions? Email seoty@ku.edu career.ku.edu/seoty

Tuition Assistance Deadlines and Policy Update

KU provides eligible employees with assistance to cover tuition for one class (up to 5 hours) per semester.  For more information about the program to include eligibility, and courses that qualify, please visit the Human Resource Tuition Assistance for Employees webpage

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

Summer 2019 Semester: Online Tuition Assistance Application will be available March 1, 2019, and the deadline is April 5, 2019

Fall 2019 Semester: Online Tuition Assistance Application will be available June 1, 2019, and the deadline is July 5, 2019

Spring 2020 Semester: Online Tuition Assistance Application will be available October 1, 2019, and the deadline is November 1, 2019

Additionally, the Tuition Assistance Policy has been revised regarding the payment process for tuition assistance courses approved at educational institutions other than KU (i.e. Third Party Billing).  This change is in effect beginning the Summer 2019 semester. Take a look at the revised policy and more information on the Human Resource Management Website.

State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) – Plan Year 2019

Please refer to the 2019 SEHP Benefits Booklet for detailed information about plan design changes (page 5) and premiums (page 22-23), and updates. Please refer to the Open Enrollment website for additional information.

Paycheck Deductions
Health insurance elections made during Open Enrollment for health, dental, vision and spending accounts, became effective January 1, 2019.  The first deduction will be taken from the January 11, 2019 paycheck and we encourage you to review that paycheck to review the premiums and contributions associated with the SEHP elections you made for calendar year 2019. (How to guide).

The SEHP allows HealthQuest credits to be earned through 12/31 and those credits will impact the premium discount for the following CY.  If you earned credits to qualify for the HealthQuest premium discount, but those credits were awarded late, they may not be reflected on the first 2019 check (dated 1/11/19).  The SEHP will process adjustments to reflect the correct premiums in future checks.

Click on this worksheet to find the semi-monthly premium rates for both no-discount and the full $20 semi-monthly HealthQuest premium discount. For employees who have spouses covered, under the SEHP medical plan, both the employee and the covered spouse must have earned enough credits to qualify for the full $20 semi-monthly discount. If only one earned enough credits, then a $10 semi-monthly discount would have been earned. If you have questions about the HealthQuest premium discount, please contact the SEHP at kdhe.HealthQuest@ks.gov.

If your benefit deductions appear incorrect, please contact the Benefits Office immediately at benefits@ku.edu and be prepared to provide a copy of your Open Enrollment confirmation printout. 

Twelve-month staff will have deductions from 24 checks (the first two checks each month).  When the month has a third paycheck no deduction will be taken.

Prepaid Summer Benefits for Eligible Faculty and Staff

Employees with prepaid summer benefit coverage will prepay summer health insurance, optional group life insurance and/or MetLife voluntary insurance premiums during the designated spring semester payroll periods. If you will not be returning to KU in the subsequent fall semester, the prepaid summer deductions will be refunded.

Academic year faculty and staff with positions designated as less than twelve-month will have Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and/or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) deductions taken from 16 checks (the first two checks of the months of January through April and September through December).  These deductions will not be taken from any other paychecks received during the year. 

A memo will be sent to academic year faculty and staff in the Spring about the prepaid deduction schedule.

Health Savings Account (Employee & Employer contributions)

The Employer HSA and HRA contributions will be deposited in four quarterly installments for active employees.  The employer contribution will be based on your enrollment on the 1st day of each quarter.  The first HSA employee contribution deduction will be taken from the January 11, 2019 paycheck. 



Paycheck date

1st installment

January 11, 2019

2nd installment

April 5, 2019

3rd installment

July 12, 2019

4th installment

October 4, 2019


Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
FSAs for calendar year 2019 became effective January 1, 2019.  The first 2019 deduction for health and/or dependent care FSAs will be taken from the January 11, 2019 paycheck. 

  • NueSynergy will send new FSA accounts a debit card. You may continue to use your previously assigned card. Additionally, you can choose other claim submission methods.
  • Eligible claims incurred in 2018 must be filed by April 30th, 2019.
  • Health Care FSA and the Limited Purpose Health Care FSA allow up to a maximum of $500 to be rolled over into the next plan year.

For more info, watch the FSA overview video, visit the NueSynergy website or contact 1-855-750-9440 or CustomerService@nuesynergy.com

New Identification Cards:

New ID cards will be issued as follows:

  • BCBS of Kansas and Caremark have sent/will send new cards to all members
  • Aetna, Delta Dental, Surency Vision and Quest are only sending cards to new members or members who made changes in coverages during Open Enrollment
  • NueSynergy will send debit cards to new FSA account participants and to all Health Savings Accounts (HSA)/Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) participants.
HealthQuest Rewards – Plan Year 2019

HealthQuest is a wellness rewards program that is part of the SEHP. For more information, visit the HealthQuest webpage.  

2019 HealthQuest Program - From January 1, 2019, employees and spouses enrolled in the medical portion of the SEHP have an opportunity to earn credits by participating in HealthQuest wellness activities. Those who complete a required health assessment questionnaire worth 10 credits and earn the additional 30 credits by December 31, 2019, for a total of 40 credits, will receive the $480 annual discount on the medical plan premium for Plan Year 2020.  If only one of the covered individuals completes the requirements, the premium incentive discount will be $240.

HSA or HRA participants (Plans C, N, J, and Q) can earn additional employer contributions to the employee’s HSA/HRA (up to $500 each per employee and covered spouse).  

Earning Your Credits - Employees and covered spouses can earn credits in 2019 and receive the HealthQuest premium discount.

Biometric Screening - Biometric screening events are being scheduled statewide and scheduling will begin 01/02/2019 using the HealthQuest portal or by phone at 1-888-275-1205 Option 3 (available 24/7).

Sixteen biometric screening dates will be available on the Lawrence campus, from February through November 2019. Screenings are from 8 am through 1pm.

Scheduled Dates



Big 12 Room, Level 5


Big 12 Room, Level 5


Big 12 Room, Level 5


Jayhawk Room, Level 5


Big 12 Room, Level 5


Big 12 Room, Level 5


Big 12 Room, Level 5


The Jay Room, Level 1


The Jay Room, Level 1


The Jay Room, Level 1


The Jay Room, Level 1


The Jay Room, Level 1


The Jay Room, Level 1


The Jay Room, Level 1


The Jay Room, Level 1


The Jay Room, Level 1

2019 HSA Vendor Transition

NueSynergy will be the Health Savings Account (HSA) and Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) vendor beginning Plan Year 2019. A Benefit Account Welcome kit from NueSynergy, which will include a registration guide to NueSynergy’s HSA/HRA portal, will be emailed in January 2019.

Please visit NueSynergy’s website for more transition information. Personal support will also be available through NueSynergy’s customer service department at 855-750-9440.

If you currently have a NueSynergy debit card for your FSA, you will not receive a new card. If you enrolled in the HSA or HRA for 2019, your same debit card will automatically access your HSA or HRA.

If you enrolled in Plans C or N for 2019 and elected an HSA, the PY 2019 employer and employee contributions will be deposited with NueSynergy starting with the first contribution made from the check dated January 11, 2019.

403(b) and 457 Voluntary Retirement Plans

The University of Kansas offers two voluntary retirement savings plans that provide opportunities to make contributions on a before or after-tax basis.  While there are no University contributions made to either, the plans help employees supplement retirement income.

  • KPERS 457 deferred compensation plan (all employees may elect to participate)
  • Kansas Board of Regents 403(b) voluntary retirement plan (for benefits-eligible employees only)

For more information, please see Voluntary Retirement Plans, or email benefits@ku.edu

2019 Pre-Retirement and Financial Planning Seminars

A series of seminars designed to help faculty, staff, and families plan for financial security and an enjoyable retirement.  Reservations are not required and seminars are free of charge.  These seminars are not intended to provide individual investment advice. 


Seminars will be held the week of March 25, 2019 in Alderson Auditorium, Level 4, of the Kansas Union: 

KPERS Benefits in Retirement

Social Security Benefits in Retirement

Health Insurance After Retirement

Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Long Term Care

Watch for an email from the Benefits Office which will provide complete details.

Winter 2019 Staff Professional Development Opportunities

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 taking place on the Lawrence campus from January through March 2019. Register through KU’s Talent Development System at mytalent.ku.edu by clicking the links below. All classes are held in Joseph R. Pearson (JRP) 204 unless otherwise noted.

LinkedIn Learning with Lynda.com Content (new)  

Remember that all KU staff and faculty now have access to LinkedIn Learning with Lynda.com content through mytalent.ku.edu. LinkedIn Learning provides an on-demand library of 5,000+ courses to help improve your creative and professional knowledge and skills across a wide range of job functions. Visit the service page for directions.

Building Intercultural Skills Workshop (in three parts)

This series of three workshops offers practical skills for handling confusing situations and building confidence in interactions with KU’s increasingly diverse community. A $20 fee for an online profile is required – contact Alison Watkins for more details.

February 6, 20, and March 6 | 10 a.m. – Noon

Bullet Journal Workshop (new)

Do you ever worry that you’ve forgotten something important? Learn the Bullet Journal Method, which helps optimize your time by creating a record of your past, present, and future and by focusing your energy on what matters most to you. Please bring a pen or pencil and a notebook that has 100+ blank pages with you to class.

Monday, February 4 | 9 – 11a.m.


Introduction to Compassionate Communication

This class introduces an approach to communication that fosters understanding, connection, and compassion. Approaches include translating judgments into observations, emphasizing needs instead of strategies, replacing thoughts with feelings, and changing demands into requests.

Wednesday, January 23 | 1 – 4 p.m.

Wednesday, February 27 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Wednesday, March 20 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m


A Deeper Dive into Empathy, the Breadth of Compassion  (new)

This class takes participants from the basic concepts of Compassionate Communication to a deeper understanding of how to integrate empathy into their daily lives. We will practice seeing our world empathically and responding to others in ways that build connection.

Thursday, January 24 | Memorial Union Malott Room | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Thursday, March 14 | Memorial Union Malott Room | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

One Prerequisite: Introduction to Compassionate Communication

Diving Deep into Feelings and Needs (new)

This class takes participants from the beginning concepts of Compassionate Communication to a deeper understanding of the purpose, meaning and implications feelings and needs have in our lives and in the world. We will practice responding and communicating consciously based on awareness of our own and other people’s needs.

Thursday, February 21 | 9 a.m. – Noon 

Two Prerequisites: Introduction to Compassionate Communication & A Deeper Dive into Empathy, the Breadth of Compassion

Managing Difficult Conversations

Learn tools to prepare for a difficult conversation at work or home. The class is based on the 5-step process created by the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Wednesday, January 16 | 9 a.m. – Noon 

Wednesday, March 13 | 1 – 4 p.m.



The Faculty and Staff Wellness committee invites you to take a guided tour of campus locations while earning one HealthQuest point. In January, tour Stouffer Place Apartments: meet in the lobby. In February, tour the Earth, Energy & Environment Center: meet at the south entrance of Slawson Hall right outside the Beren Petroleum Conference Center.

Wednesday, January 9 | 12:10 – 12:50 p.m.

Wednesday, February 20 | 12:10 – 12:50 p.m.


Safe Zone Training

The purpose of this program is to reduce homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism on our campus, and to make KU a safer and freer environment for all members of our community, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Offered through a partnership between the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Friday, February 1 | Multicultural Resource Ctr. Room 116 | 9 a.m. – Noon

Monday, March 4 | Multicultural Resource Ctr. Room 116  | 1 – 4 p.m.


Supervisory Training for Excellence in Performance, 2.0 (STEP 2.0)

A 7-week comprehensive program for supervisors of staff.

Tuesdays, January 15 – February 26 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Unconscious Bias and the Workplace

Learn how unconscious bias negatively affects interactions with colleagues and productivity. Learn about 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. ​

Tuesday, March 26  | 9 a.m. – Noon

Yoga on the Hill

Learn to incorporate breath awareness with postures and movement to help focus the mind and relieve physical stress. This is an all levels class. Please bring a yoga mat.

Friday, February 1 | Memorial Union Big 12 Room | 12 to 12:45 pm

Friday, March 1 | Memorial Union Crossroads Room |12 to 12:45 pm

New Faces in HRM

The HRM Employment Team is excited to announce that Jim Krieger will be joining our staff as a senior recruiter beginning January 7, 2019.  Jim brings with him HR Generalist experience from the corporate sector and KU experience as serving units as a HR Coordinator with our Shared Service Center.

The HRM Learning and Development Team is excited to announce two new staff, Amber Eshelman and Stephanie Hull.

As the SuccessFactors System Administrator, Amber will not only be managing the MyTalent site, but will also be partnering with various groups to expand our current system functionality. Long term, Amber will be aligning system optimization with departmental goals in order to ensure that we are maximizing the value of our available tools.

Stephanie’s primary focus is on performing organizational assessments throughout the university – identifying the root causes of problems and recommending steps groups can take to improve their teamwork and meet their goals. Stephanie will also lead some staff training courses, starting with a session in the STEP 2.0 program.  

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Be the best you in 2019 by experiencing the benefits of massage from Watkins Health Services:

  1. Lower stress and improved mental health
  2. A boost in immunity
  3. Pain management
  4. Lower blood pressure and increased circulation
  5. Release of knots and increased mobility

Massage therapy is just one of the many services that faculty and staff can access at Watkins. You’ll find the faculty/staff rates are very affordable. Appointments can be made by calling 785-864-9507.  Gift certificates may be purchased for a co-worker or spouse from Watkins Business Office.

You can also arrange to bring Watkins massage therapist(s) onsite to your KU department, meeting or event. Chair massages for neck, shoulders and back are available in 15-minute increments at a rate of $15 per increment per therapist. To make a reservation for onsite massage, please call 785-864-9752.

Walk-Ins Welcome at Immediate Care Clinic

Faculty and staff who develop flu symptoms or an achy back during the work day may 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.  Walk-ins are welcome weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm when classes are in session or 8:00 am to 4:30 pm when classes are not in session.

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 ICC.  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 785-864-9565.

Up in Smoke: The Truth About Juuls

What is a JUUL?

A JUUL, pronounced “jewel”, is an e-cigarette that looks like a computer flash drive and charges in a USB outlet. Once powered, the JUUL is loaded with refillable pods of liquid nicotine which are about the size of a soda tab. The e-nicotine comes in flavors that appeal to youth such as crème brulee, mango and bubble gum.

Why is it so popular? 

The answer is easy; marketing and peer pressure. Juuls are promoted as a safer alternative to cigarettes due to the fact that they do not contain tobacco. This e-cigarette is also strategically sold with a very young audience in mind and the youthful flavors are evidence of this. While JUULing doesn’t include any tobacco, it still involves consuming a potent amount of nicotine and chemicals. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 11.7% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students- over 2.1 million youth- were current e-cigarette users in 2017.  Young teens are able to discretely use this device at home or even in their classroom. Because it is odorless and slips easily into their clothing, kids take a hit privately in their bedroom or even in class when their teachers turns their back.  

What are possible signs that a child is using a JUUL?

There are signs that a child is using a JUUL even without ever seeing a device or smelling the sweetscent. Users are subject to dehydration and nosebleeds due to a chemical that retains water molecules in e‐nicotine. Also, users can experience a strong aversion to caffeine. Other potential indicators include changing habits, especially in grades or behavior, or disappearing regularly to take a hit. Parents who have young teenagers should be aware of these signs that your child may be using an e-cigarette.

Lean/Six Sigma Training

KU continues to coordinate Lean/Six Sigma certification training, taught by Heather McCain who led quality control efforts at Garmin. For the Spring 2019 semester, we will be offering the Lean Six Sigma Crimson & Blue Belt class, which consists of 2 days of training (1 day/week for 2 weeks) with a certification test during the last class. Units interested in participating in this cohort can contact Jaci Matney (jaci@ku.edu).  

Lean/Six Sigma is a process/quality improvement approach. We are focusing on this particular tool at KU to establish a common process improvement language and approach. For more information regarding Lean/Six Sigma please go to:  https://www.sixsigmaonline.org/). 

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