New resources support employee engagement and inclusion at UW–Madison

June 18, 2019 By Marilyn Gardner

The Employee Engagement, Inclusion and Diversity (EID) initiative led by the vice chancellor for finance and administration has recently taken a major step forward with the release of new EID principles.

The five principles provide a shared vision, common language and mutual expectations for all divisions participating in the EID initiative. They also serve as a resource to other schools, colleges and divisions that may wish to enhance their work in the area of employee engagement, inclusion and diversity.

The Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration (VCFA) EID Council, EID committees, Finance and Administration leadership and campus partners worked together to create the principles.

The EID initiative began in 2011 as a way to strategically recruit and retain UW–Madison’s talented employees and to sustain and enhance the diversity of the workforce. In addition, the initiative focuses on creating healthy, engaging and inclusive work environments.

The EID principles, each of which is accompanied by a short list of best practices, are as follows:

  • Promote shared responsibility and accountability
  • Promote, enhance and leverage diversity
  • Create an inclusive culture and community
  • Foster communication and mutual understanding
  • Provide and foster growth and development

“As a world-class university, it is important for us to do everything we can to ensure that UW–Madison is a welcoming and inclusive environment for all employees,” Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller says. “These principles establish consistent expectations that will help us build an engaged workforce and a strong sense of community.”

One method of embedding the principles, best practices and conversations in units across campus is through the activities of EID divisional committees. These committees, which are employee-led, provide an opportunity for each division to customize its EID activities to the specific culture and work responsibilities of the unit.

For example, University Housing has a Housing Engagement Team that meets monthly to review existing practices and policies and to share information, plans and ideas. “The Housing Engagement Team has been extremely valuable for us,” says Jeff Novak, director of University Housing, “ensuring that diverse voices are being heard on current events and issues that impact our staff.”

Carmen Romero-González, director of Cultural Linguistic Services at the Office of Human Resources, says, “Making sure that other people feel comfortable and welcome at work is everybody’s responsibility. As UW–Madison employees, we all want to feel engaged and feel that we are part of a diverse, inclusive organization.”

The EID principles and additional information can be found on a new Engagement, Inclusion and Diversity website. The website provides resources that can be useful to schools, colleges, divisions, and individual employees across campus. It includes a list of professional development opportunities and an EID toolkit, featuring specific tools and resources for departments or units wishing to implement or enhance EID practices in their workplace. Campus events related to engagement, inclusion and diversity are featured.

The website also provides information specific to the VCFA and its participating divisions, including the history and purpose of the initiative, a snapshot of the VCFA EID Council, and the high-level findings of a biennial EID employee survey.

Specific pages of the website are currently being translated into Spanish, Hmong, Tibetan, Chinese and Nepali in order to better serve UW–Madison’s diverse employee population.

Campus units that currently participate in the VCFA EID initiative include all Finance and Administration units and select others.