Skip to main content

Human Resources receives regional, national HR excellence award

group photo in front of the B
Human Resources group photo, B Plaza, photo Patrick Sweeney

Boise State University Human Resources has received the 2020 regional and national award for HR Excellence from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), which provides leadership on higher education workplace issues in the U.S. and abroad.

This regional and national award honors transformative HR work in higher education by recognizing teams or individuals who have provided HR leadership resulting in significant and ongoing organizational change within their institutions.

“I believe the reason this journey has been a success is that we not only worked within our walls but also reached out to our campus, met with them, worked with their ideas. We told them they were important, that what they did was vital. We bonded together as a team and with our campus colleagues,” said Denise Ooley, a HR professional who has been with the university for 32 years.

The Boise State HR department recently restructured to align with its desired vision of employee engagement and to respond to the rapidly changing workforce. The HR department developed a robust five-part People Strategy (vision, strategy, data-informed decisions, employee experience and people projects) that focuses on an inclusive work culture where everyone is valued and one’s daily work has meaning and fulfillment.

The HR department then defined three distinct employee experiences to invest in: the Welcome Experience, the Growth Experience and the Farewell Experience. Throughout the restructuring process, the HR team gained leadership buy-in, participated in a listening tour that resulted in greater awareness of the employee experience and higher engagement among employees.

“This journey did not happen overnight,” said Ooley, who was instrumental in including swing and night shift employees in the Listening Tour live listening sessions. “It started with a series of conversations; we sometimes changed paths (not the direction) and morphed a few times. Everyone in the office was involved; it was not just one person charging the way.”

Boise State HR was awarded a scholarship fund of $1,000 for the regional award and $3,000 for the national award. This contribution is made possible through the generous support of American International Group (AIG), the sponsor of the HR Excellence Award.

As the recipient of the national HR Excellence Award, the team will be honored at this year’s CUPA-HR annual conference and Expo Oct. 4-6 in Orlando, Florida.