Katie McCauley
Human Resource Management

KU names Employees of the Year, Teams of the Year

Thu, 05/18/2017


LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas recently recognized its Employees of the Year and presented the Team of the Year Awards. 

The Staff Employee of the Year is Michael Pisani, who has dedicated more than 25 years to the Hilltop Child Development Center and has invested countless hours of his own time each year to benefit the children and the Hilltop building. Pisani was featured as a September Employee of the Month

Staff Employee of the Year is Thomas "T.J." Droge, a network specialist for KU IT. He was instrumental in March 2016 when a a critical section of fiber was cut and internet access across the Lawrence campus and wireless internet access at the Edwards campus were lost. ​Droge was featured as a June Employee of the Month.

Team Awards were given to the KU onboarding and talent suite team and to the the JRP/Carruth-O'Leary custodial team.

The onboarding and talent suite team has affected every incoming and prospective employee of the as well as simplified the hiring and onboarding process for all departments across campus. 

The team started from scratch to bring an outdated paper process to 2017 through extensive human resource expertise and extensive IT knowledge and configuration. The team was tasked with the design, testing and implementation of the KU onboarding system as well as upgrading the current application tool, BrassRing, to the Talent Suite structure. 

Although the team was small, the work they did to automate a previously paper system was immense. They worked together through several challenges, always with the focus and commitment to deliver a great product to the university. This required extensive testing, collaboration and feedback from team members and stakeholders. 

The end result created efficiency and an improved customer experience. Individuals being hired, promoted or rehired can complete the majority, if not all, of their paperwork online. Individual onboarding appointments have been reduced from 45 minutes to an hour per person down to five to 10 minutes. Information is provided to new employees faster, improving their first experiences with KU. 

The team members are Tara Cook, Angie Loving, Terri Osborn, Jody Milford, Barbara Getter, Stacey Rinnert and Cheryl Harber.

Facilities services has recently introduced a team cleaning system that includes the JRP/Carruth-O'Leary custodial team. The team cleaning system posed a significant learning curve. The system is a totally different way to clean compared to what has been tried at KU before. The team cleaning system identifies specific duties for each custodian. The end result is that custodians can clean the same amount of area as before, but do so with fewer people and better quality.

While team cleaning calls for a staff of four custodians, this particular team consists of just three custodians who clean both JRP and Carruth-O'Leary. All three are hard workers, some of whom have been at KU for decades. Their strengths are their attention to detail and dedication to customer service. The team works well together and they work closely each night to get both buildings cleaned. They recognize the importance of communication to make sure no details are missed. This team has set a standard to help other custodial teams in other buildings adopt the team cleaning system. As a team, they clean no less than 9,000 square feet per hour.

The members of the JRP/Carruth-O'Leary Custodial Team are Wendy Hewitt, Olga Gonzalez and Luis Garcia.

Chancellor Douglas A. Girod announces leadership change in Kansas Athletics.

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