Employee Services for the University of Colorado faced unprecedented challenges this past year. The department’s Annual Impact Report still got published on time—and includes some amazing stories about faculty, staff, and students.
The second week of March, “System Administration employees arrived at their offices with instructions to pack what they needed and head home until further notice.” That meant everyone from Employee Services’ eight departments, including two call centers and 80 employees, transitioned to remote work in a matter of hours.
What If You Can’t Work from “Home”?
While the switch happened incredibly quickly, international employees and students did not all have places to go. This meant that the three-person International Tax team had to help international employees file U.S. taxes while supporting International Student Services at all four campuses.
Using Skillsoft for Health Safety Training
The Employee Learning and Development team quickly developed new courses for faculty, staff, and students. In fact, Skillsoft, which houses CU’s custom courses, counted 94,973 completed courses in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, a large number of which were COVID-19 courses.
How Do You Handle Virtual paperwork for 38,905 employees?
Carefully. “The Benefits team tackled its largest Open Enrollment period to date while being entirely remote, cross-training to provide employees with the best information possible,” the report states.
In FY 2020, more than 5,100 CU Denver employees, dependents, and retirees enrolled in CU medical plans and more than 4,900 Lynx enrolled in CU dental plans. Employee Services maintained continuity for everyone’s benefits, including enrollments in disability, life, vision, and savings and spending accounts plans. The Benefits and Wellness team also oversaw retirement plans for all campuses, including almost 1,600 401(a) enrollments and more than 1,500 PERA enrollments for CU Denver.
Encouraging Learning and Exercising
Despite everything, Employee Services also administered educational and motivational programs. For example, they continued to provide CU’s Tuition Assistance Benefit to employees and dependents. In FY 2020, CU Denver had 1,488 applications, and CU Denver/Anschutz waived 8,663 credit hours of tuition.
Additionally, the team oversaw the Move program. Did you know employees can earn $25 per month for staying active through Move? The program rewards eligible CU employees for logging 12 exercise sessions a month of 30 minutes of exercise or 10,000 steps.
Hiring During the Pandemic
Employee Services also delivered good news during the pandemic—new hires. CU Denver/Anschutz added 1,368 new employees during FY 2020. Besides that, the Employee Services team also upgraded the CU Careers platform during this difficult year, including adding changes to hiring criteria in light of the pandemic.