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University of Missouri System’s Total Rewards Task Force receives national award for excellence

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John Fougere

May 19, 2015

Initiative honored for transformative human resources work in higher education by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri System’s Total Rewards Task Force recently received prestigious national recognition, as the College and University Professional Association of Human Resources (CUPA-HR), a national organization that supports human resources in higher education, named the task force as the recipient of the 2015 HR Excellence Award. The award honors transformative HR work in higher education, recognizing teams or individuals who have provided HR leadership resulting in significant and ongoing organizational change within their institutions.

“Our focus at the University of Missouri System is a constant pursuit of moving from good to great in everything we do,” Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, said. “Ensuring that we have the best possible benefits package within budgetary constraints, which helps us meet our strategic goal of attracting and maintaining the best employees, is consistent with that overarching focus. I am proud of the task force for earning this national honor.” 

The Total Rewards Task Force was formed in 2013. Chaired by Vice President for Human Resources Betsy Rodriguez, the task force was charged by President Wolfe with developing recommendations to guide the university’s future total rewards efforts with the goal of providing the best possible total rewards package for UM System employees while also managing costs effectively. After eight months of data collection, brainstorming and consulting with a myriad of campus constituents and outside experts, the task force presented eight recommendations to university leadership:

  • Treat pay and benefits as interrelated parts of the overall total rewards strategy;
  • Establish a benefits rate cap;
  • Increase flexibility with the total rewards programs;
  • Utilize medical plan options to encourage healthy behavior and efficient use of healthcare services;
  • Leverage marketplace opportunities for retiree medical benefits;
  • Evaluate additional retirement plan options;
  • Evaluate staff time-off plans, and;
  • Invest in communication.

Several of the recommendations are currently in the process of being implemented.

“Many organizations make decisions around benefits and rewards at the highest levels and utilize a cascading approach to gather support for predetermined initiatives,” Kelly Stuck, associate vice president for Human Resources, said. “Our approach used collaboration and open and ongoing communications to enable staff and faculty to play a key role in shaping the total rewards package.”

CUPA-HR serves higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving more than 18,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 1,900 member organizations around the nation and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and timely regulatory and legislative information.

 

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