Update on development of UW-Madison’s new personnel/HR system

A message from Bob Lavigna, director of UW-Madison’s Office of Human Resources

Dear colleagues,

As many of you know, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been given an extraordinary opportunity to develop a new personnel/human resources system tailored expressly for the needs of our institution.

Over the past several months, more than 150 of your colleagues from across the campus have been working hard to help design this new system.

Our vision is that their hard work – and your feedback – will result in an HR system that will be more efficient, responsive and specifically designed to meet the needs of a world-class research and teaching institution.

The HR Design project structure includes an advisory committee and 11 work teams. The committee and work teams include stakeholders from across the campus, including faculty, academic staff, classified staff, labor organizations and students.  We have divided the 11 work teams into two phases – seven in phase 1 and four in phase 2.

Today, I am pleased to report that after three months of information gathering, analysis and discussion, the work teams are now ready to share their initial recommendations. I want to be clear that these preliminary recommendations are the initial products of the work teams. The recommendations are therefore not final;  there will be time and opportunities for the entire campus to discuss and provide feedback. Although our timeline to finalize the recommendations is tight, we are far from finished.

And that’s where you come in. The work teams have already received a great deal of input through a series of forums, focus groups and web chats – and their recommendations will reflect this input.

On April 9, we will make the initial set of recommendations from the seven phase 1 work teams available. You’ll be able to review the recommendations at the HR Design web site (

These recommendations will focus on the conceptual design and framework of the new personnel system. Their content is likely to vary in scope, approach and detail. The recommendations are intended to be a starting point in a campus-wide conversation about the new personnel system.

We plan to facilitate this conversation about the draft recommendations through a series of feedback sessions, and discussions with campus governance groups. Ultimately, the new system will also need to be approved by the Board of Regents and the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations.

After the work team recommendations are discussed by our campus community, they will be refined and finalized. Final recommendations from the phase 1 teams are due in early May. The four phase 2 teams will offer their draft recommendations in May, and produce final recommendations in June.

We have scheduled two campus open forums in April designed specifically to gather comments on the phase 1 recommendations. The first event is from 9-11 a.m. on April 17 in Union South. The second event is scheduled from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on April 19 at the Memorial Union.

You can also ask questions and give feedback on the phase 1 recommendations in two web chats with work team members. These hour-long web chats are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on April 11 and 1:30 p.m. on April 12. The topic of the first chat will be the recommendations from the teams that focused on employee categories, benefits, recruitment and assessment, and diverse workforce. The second day’s chat will cover the recommendations of the compensation, competencies and job titles work teams. The HR Design web site will have more information about the web chats in advance of these events.

In addition to these engagement opportunities, we have planned several focused events with specific departments and employee groups. You may also submit feedback directly through If you do not have computer access, please consult with your department’s human resources professional to learn more about the project and offer your views on the recommendations.

The work teams have devoted a great deal of time, effort and expertise to develop this initial set of draft recommendations. We’re very grateful for their hard work and commitment. We are now at a critical moment in this project where we need the entire campus community to engage with us. Your input is critical.

Please take advantage of the engagement opportunities we’ve planned. We hope to hear from you.

For more information on how you can participate in these future events and to learn more about this important initiative, go to the HR Design web site at