Feature Story: The UCO Experience

Jill Robertson, Employee Experience Specialist

As 2020 comes to a close, we begin to wonder what 2021 will bring. We faced challenge after challenge this year, and there are still many unknowns in the months to come. What we do know is that we can only overcome the challenges when we are well; both as humans and as an organization.   
For those of you who don’t know me, I started in Employee Relations in January 2019. My role has shifted over the last year and my title is now “employee experience specialist” instead of employee relations specialist. What does this mean exactly? It means I get to do what I’ve always wanted – care about the people who make an organization go. People like you.  
In 2018, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership. The program changed me in a lot of ways. I discovered I’m super fascinated with organizational dynamics and how people are treated within the organization. I’ve experienced firsthand the incredibly unique dynamic that higher education is known for. I have over ten years’ experience in higher education, working in advising, student life, public relations and, now, employee relations.  
In October, my role shifted even more to focus on engagement and communications with UCO faculty and staff. I’m not afraid to say we have some room for improvement. UCO has seen a lot of changes over the last several years, and each of you have been impacted by these changes in some way. I’m interested in learning more about that from you directly.  
I wanted to take this opportunity to let each of you know I’m available to hear your feedback as a member of the UCO team. Hit me up for a virtual coffee chat, meeting or casual email exchange. My inbox is always open! There is nothing I want more in this role than to build genuine relationships with you as my colleagues.  
My role also manages UCO faculty and staff appreciation efforts on campus, including recognition and reward. I want to take a moment to remind you of existing options to recognize your colleagues for their amazing work. Submit a Broncho Brag to be featured in future issues of The Broncho Beat. Broncho Brags are kudos or congratulatory announcements to employees who are celebrating personal and professional accomplishments. Employee Relations also has a “swag closet” where those who supervise faculty or staff can send their superstars to pick out a new UCO-branded swag item. Just email Employee Relations to arrange a time to do so. Staff are also eligible for the Exceptional Performance Award both quarterly and annually. Learn more about our efforts to appreciate and recognize UCO faculty and staff on the Hub.  
Additionally, my role oversees care and support efforts. There are so many resources available to you as a benefit of being a member of the UCO community. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Deer Oaks is available to you, free of charge, as well as your dependents and household members. The UCO Cares benevolence fund might also be an option for you if you have faced unexpected and unavoidable financial hardships and emergencies. There is a whole host of resources available to you through The Hub on the Care and Support page as well.  
Again, I’m super excited to hear from you. Email me anytime.