LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced the Employees of the Month for September 2017.
Name: Ola Faucher
Title: Director of Human Resource Management
What that means: Ola Faucher has been with KU for more than 45 years. In her time the university has experienced significant changes, but one constant is that when Faucher is involved, she considers the perspectives of employees. She has a strong people focus.
As director, Faucher oversees a broad range of HR functions, including recruiting, onboarding, compensation, benefits, employee relations and the systems managed in each of those sections. Faucher works hands-on with the employees within the department. Her insight and historical knowledge are invaluable as decisions are made within the department. Whenever she is involved in a meeting, she asks questions to make sure all viewpoints and contingencies are considered, and attendees come away with specific next steps to move forward.
When changes are made at the state or federal level, KU HR has to react to make sure that university policies and processes are compliant. At times, such changes require significant adjustment internally as well as significant communication to campus and staff. Faucher is proactive when these changes occur, making sure HR is preparing for the changes, as well as making sure campus is aware and has the information they need. A recent example is the changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Faucher held as many meetings as were needed with affected staff to make sure questions were answered and employees had the needed information.
Notable: Faucher has been on the steering committee for the Tobacco Free KU initiative. The initiative began in 2013 and will be effective July 1, 2018. The initiative began based on results from a student survey. During the four years since the initiative began, there have been changes in student leadership involved with the initiative. Faucher was persistent and constant in her efforts to move the policy forward to secure the chancellor’s approval of Tobacco Free KU.
Despite Faucher’s involvement in many programs, and her oversight of significant HR functions, she always makes time to meet with people if they would like to meet. Many staff and faculty have come to know Faucher in their career at KU, and she is often someone who employees turn to when they have questions or concerns. Faucher listens to all perspectives. She works to resolve issues employees are experiencing as well as provide insight and advice for success.
Faucher has a contagiously positive attitude. Every Friday, HR can count on doughnuts from Munchers Bakery to be in the breakroom, a traditional snack provided by Faucher. She is collegial, helpful, resourceful and kind. Faucher is a textbook example of putting the “human” in Human Resources.
Name: Heidi Simon
Title: Senior associate director of admissions, Office of Admissions
What that means: In that role, Heidi Simon oversees the freshman and transfer recruitment efforts. Simon also serves as a resource to two assistant directors and 17 admissions representatives. She coordinates the strategy of where KU recruits, which college fairs to attend, high school visits, and she helps with the program structure for events. The efforts of Simon and her team result in an incoming class of more than 4,000 freshmen and 1,100 transfer students. Her work style is fluid, and she is sincerely devoted to managing a terrific team of territory reps.
Notable: Simon can dive into coordinating details, but her strength lies in her big-picture ideas. She had the idea to create yard signs for incoming freshmen who pay the enrollment deposit and register for KU. She sought partnership with the staff at the KU Alumni Association and the Office of the Provost, who all pitched in for this effort. For the yard sign initiative, Simon took the lead in coordination and execution. She worked on the design, ordered the signs and coordinated all of the delivery. To date, more than 1,800 signs were delivered to admitted students' yards in the Greater Kansas City area (including Missouri), Douglas County, Topeka and the Wichita area. Leading up to the delivery of the signs, she spent many hours in the office — sometimes until 10 p.m. mapping out routes for delivery. She personally spent eight hours on a Sunday delivering signs in Kansas City, Missouri.
The yard signs have given incredible publicity to all of KU. They say "Rock Chalk Ready! #I'm a Jayhawk." Simon has passion for KU and enthusiasm for all that she does. She has the ability to motivate and get other people excited, too. In addition to the yard signs, she also helps with legacy and personalized recruitment efforts for students. She is an outstanding supervisor, strong communicator and someone with vision to always improve for KU. She has been a key player in enrollment growth the past few years. She is definitely considered a "go-to" resource for any staff member who has questions.
Simon can easily convey the KU difference to prospective students and their families. She does an incredible job of building up the people around her and making each student who sets foot on campus feel welcome. She personifies the best of KU.