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K-State Today

May 29, 2019

A letter from Vice President for Human Capital Services Jay Stephens

Submitted by Human Capital Services

Dear University Community,

Once when I was living in Oregon, I learned a really good lesson in listening. I was walking on the beach in Brookings, Oregon, where I typically spent my time looking down at the sand and rocks for pieces of sea glass. My wife was walking toward me from a distance. She kept trying to tell me something and I was having a hard time hearing. Finally, she pointed out toward the open ocean. I turned to look out at the water and saw a gray whale breach the water for a spectacular jump. Even when it can be hard to hear at times or things distract you, listening and observing carefully is always a good idea.

In that spirit, this coming fiscal year Human Capital Services has an eye to the future and will be focusing on overall strategy implementation, our internal customer service to one another, and our customer service to our external customers, or stakeholders.

What does this look like in a practical sense? First, I want to acknowledge the great work that has been accomplished over the past year on several key strategic initiatives that are a direct result of listening to our customers: We built and are now delivering the K-State New Employee Welcome program. I wish to acknowledge everything Diana McElwain, Amanda McDiffett and Gary Leitnaker have done along with our partners in this program from the president's office, the Office of Institutional Equity and the K-State Alumni Association. We also accomplished design and delivery of the new K-State Supervisory Foundations Pillar I program. I cannot say enough about Shanna Legleiter, Megan Hoelting, Charlotte Self and our amazing partners in this effort: Business management faculty, communications studies faculty, family studies and human services faculty, the Staley School of Leadership Studies, the provost's office, the Office of Institutional Equity, chief diversity and inclusion officer, and the Office of the General Counsel.

Secondly, we have four strategic initiative teams whose work is centered around a global competency framework. We have many outstanding university partners from outside HCS who are working with us on this effort as part of our strategic initiative teams and our community of practice who are all listed on our website. They are divided into four teams: competency modeling, career paths, performance management and career development. We have listened to those teams, our pilot groups, feedback we received from competency session participants and our HCS Strategic Advisory Council. Our conclusion after listening to those groups is that we need to slow down this project. We have so many big changes and initiatives on campus and we want to be mindful and purposeful. We will be taking the next academic year to focus on communicating what a competency is, how it lays the foundation for better career paths, career development and performance management. Before any implementation of a competency model takes place, we need to lay that foundation with you and we will take the time to do that right.

Finally, as K-State experiences all of these shifts and changes across the institution, it is important that Human Capital Services is positioned to be responsive, innovative, and focused on continuous improvement as we carry out the great work that we do. As a result of our focus on meeting university needs, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Shanna Legleiter as associate vice president for Human Capital Services. Shanna has demonstrated successful stakeholder interaction and customer service through her role as director of learning and development and will continue her leadership efforts for the division regarding overall strategy and customer focus. I will rely on Shanna's leadership to assist with guiding HCS through focusing on the strengths of our internal department and building on those relationships. Employees in Talent Acquisition, Compensation and Organizational Effectiveness, and Learning and Development will report to Shanna. We will not be refilling the director of Talent Solutions position.

I have opportunities to listen every day. We all have opportunities to listen and observe. Turning those listening opportunities into positive, strategic action is an exciting journey. I witnessed a breathtaking sight years ago on the Oregon coast as I walked the beach, listened and observed. While I can't promise jumping whales, I can say HCS is committed to listening, observing and providing great service.


Jay Stephens
Vice President for Human Capital Services