Message from Chancellor Blank on new HR system

To UW-Madison Faculty and Staff:

July 1 marked the beginning of our implementation of HR Design, a new human resources (HR) system designed specifically for UW-Madison. For many years, our university has sought the authority to create our own personnel system. In 2011, the state legislature gave us this authority and on July 1, after almost four years of hard work, the new HR system became a reality. With HR Design, the UW-Madison personnel system is now separate from both the state government and UW System personnel structures.

I want to thank everyone who helped us get to this point, including the human resources professionals in our schools, colleges, and divisions; as well as in the Office of Human Resources.

The goals of HR Design are to design a 21st-century personnel system that will enable us to attract, develop and retain a workforce that has the right talent and is diverse, engaged and adaptable. This updated structure will help position UW-Madison to continue to be one of the world‚s great universities.

While HR Design will initially affect our University Staff (until July 1 known as Classified Staff) colleagues most directly, the new system will affect everyone on campus, in one way or another. For example, our new UW-Madison-specific onboarding, employee performance management and direct hiring policies will help us attract, develop and retain talent across our campus.

The development of HR Design involved many campus engagement events that attracted more than 20,000 attendees. As a result, we incorporated extensive feedback from across the campus, including from shared governance and other stakeholder groups.

While many of our personnel system changes go into effect today, the HR Design project very intentionally took a strategic and long-term view of how we attract and manage talent on our campus. Therefore, the full implementation of our new system will occur over time. In other words, this is a process and not an event!

For instance, we will be undertaking a major benchmarking study starting this fall, comparing our job title and compensation structures to comparable structures elsewhere. Until this study is completed we will not be making major changes in compensation and job titling, although we know there are places where we will want to consider more immediate changes.

I encourage you to visit the redesigned OHR web site at to familiarize yourself with our new HR policies and how they will affect you and your unit. The site also includes HR Design supporting materials and descriptions of related training programs.

Thank you for your help as we begin this transition.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank