Leading Edge Masthead
Photograph of Ujima Donalson

A message from Ujima Donalson
Assistant Vice President,
Total Talent Management

We keep saying and hearing that we are living in unprecedented times. In fact, they’re so unprecedented that sentiment now seems inadequate! The optimism that many people felt at the beginning of a rare “double date” year like 2020 faded as COVID-19 took hold, and we now find ourselves living in the kind of times we heretofore had only read about in history books.

Back in March, the pandemic felt like it might bring a pause or hiccup to our normal routines and business operations, yet now the anniversary date of when we stopped our regular “in-person” life is fast approaching and our expectations of “returning to normal” have changed. So, where do we go from here? Read More

Photograph of Josina Garnham

The power of conversation: An introduction to the Employee Experience Toolkit
Josina Garnham, Training & Organizational Development Consultant, Professional & Organizational Development

More than any other metric, employee retention — or people choosing to stay in their organization — is a powerful indicator of culture. People who choose to stay and grow at the University of Washington are key contributors to the work that is accomplished in our varied departments.

Last year Professional & Organizational Development set about to understand the factors that promote employee satisfaction and engagement at the UW. That work led us to develop a toolkit to support managers across the University with having conversations that illuminate what keeps their employees engaged. Read More

You are not alone! UWHR maintains a COVID-19 website with resources for caring for self and family, policy updates and other information. The Whole U offers classes and other resources for well-being.

Photograph of Virginia Frausto

Announcing UWHR’s diversity, equity and inclusion project
Virginia Frausto, Diversity Specialist

As Black Lives Matter and social justice protests surged over the spring and summer, UWHR experienced an increase in requests from across the University for diversity, equity and inclusion training and resources, and we intensified our efforts to support the UW in becoming an anti-racist institution. We launched a DEI site in July to connect leaders and staff with pertinent and timely information, and now the newly formed diversity, equity and inclusion project has embarked upon a year-long initiative to further this work within UWHR and across the University.

I form part of the project team along with Ebonee Anderson, whose role has been expanded from diversity recruiter to diversity consultant, and Kavir Ortega, a UW student and diversity intern. Project oversight and direction is being provided by Ujima Donalson, assistant vice president of Total Talent Management and inclusion strategist for UWHR. Our team will be operating within Professional & Organizational Development and will be receiving support with communications and administration from our POD colleagues. Read more

Photograph of Kimberly Mishra

Recognizing excellence during extraordinary times
Kimberly Mishra, Chief of Staff for Vice President for Human Resources

Each fall, UWHR invites nominations to two award programs — the Thorud Leadership Award and the Distinguished Staff Awards. We always look forward to receiving the heartfelt nomination letters that detail outstanding achievements and showcase the true excellence of our colleagues from across the institution. Like the rest of 2020, this year’s awards season will be different and will reflect the pandemic as well as the surge in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

We want to recognize the extraordinary ways leaders and UW staff have responded to the pandemic — pivoting to remote learning and working, supporting students and each other through this unprecedented emergency, saving lives and providing compassionate palliative care, researching vaccines and cures, and stepping up to do whatever was needed as we figured things out. We have also witnessed and want to honor efforts by colleagues focused on making the UW an anti-racist organization through diverse, equitable, and inclusive policies and programs that support our greater community. Read More

Photograph of Lisa Lewis

Learning together
Lisa Lewis, Publications and Logistics Specialist, Professional & Organizational Development

This past March, as the world began social distancing and many started working from home, POD transitioned its operations online. This meant shifting our popular and highly interactive in-person classes from our Roosevelt Commons East training facility to what was then an unfamiliar online learning environment for many — Zoom.

While a number of our POD and external consultants had utilized Zoom here and there, this shift required us to master this video conferencing application almost overnight. My position also changed from supporting our classrooms onsite to coordinating Zoom logistics, coaching instructors and participants with limited experience with online training, and acting as a “producer” for Zoom sessions with anywhere from 10 to 150 participants. Furthermore, the nature of my position shifted to acting as a bridge and support system by bringing all parties up to speed in this new space through encouragement and enthusiasm. Read More

What to expect from POD in the coming year

As with academic classes at the UW, POD’s offerings will remain online for winter quarter, including our quarterly classes, the Strategic Leadership Program, and Welcome Day. As long as large numbers of staff are working remotely, we will continue to deliver our classes online, which means we highly anticipate operating in the online environment through spring.

Our live online workshops combine facilitation and activities in Zoom with supplemental materials delivered via email, e-books, or self-paced online content (see course descriptions for details). We also now offer stand-alone self-paced courses that include interactive and multimedia components. Meanwhile, we’re continuing to innovate in the online space and explore new topics. For instance, The Challenge of Allyship, launching winter quarter, follows a format we developed for Conversations About Race in the Workplace: weekly facilitated conversations coupled with self-placed online content over the course of a month.

Other new offerings for winter include Managing Up and Human-Centered Design for Innovation and Creative Problem Solving. Registration opens on Wednesday, Dec. 2! In the meantime, you can find autumn offerings in our online catalog.

Professional & Organizational Development, Box 354962, Seattle, WA 98195-4962
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