Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance

Inside the Employee Benefits Unit

There’s a handful of HR employees that manage health insurance, retirement, medical leave and other benefits for thousands of TU faculty and staff. We sat down with them to learn who they are and how they do it as they prepare for health benefits open enrollment. Read on for their team’s recent name change and which role they’re transitioning to Payroll.

Employee Benefits Manager Donna Yeagle

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Donna is the Employee Benefits Manager. She helps employees navigate the retirement process, plans future projects like open enrollment, and ensures compliance with federal requirements like the Affordable Care Act and the Family Medical Leave Act. It’s a job she loves, and one that keeps her looking for ways to improve processes and efficiency within the unit.

“The most gratifying part of my job is knowing that I help people,” Donna says. “Days can get crazy, but I keep a file of thank you cards, notes and emails from faculty and staff that always remind me why this job is important. It also helps that our staff is great. I have a lot of respect for their talent, and I’m very fortunate to have them.”

In the coming year, keep an eye out for FMLA supervisor training—Donna’s working on it now and hopes to have it rolled out by the end of 2017.

 

 Benefits Specialist June Hindle

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In addition to collaborating with the State Employee Benefits Division and Central Payroll, June administers the tuition remission, health benefits and retirement programs. The nature of these roles makes her a trusted counselor to TU employees.

“People often come to me with confidential information,” June says. “They worry that they can’t afford to retire, or they don’t want others to know that they’re considering retirement—it’s personal stuff.”

June retired in 2007, so she knows what people should expect once they leave the professional world. She came back to TU because she wanted to work again, but the experience helps her counsel potential retirees.

“I advise them about keeping their focus and making sure they maintain a feeling of purposefulness,” she says. “Retirement is intimidating, and I do everything I can to make employees’ transitions smooth. ”

New staff will meet June at Connections (new hire orientation), and pre-retirees will get to know her well: she meets with employees several times before they retire.

Leave Specialist Michelle Dacey

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Michelle handles some pretty serious stuff. She’s the go-to person when employees need long-term leave because of an illness or injury.

“I try my best to help people in tough situations,” she says. “People who are sick shouldn’t have to worry about mounds of paperwork. I try to make the compensation process and return-to-work transition as easy as possible.”

Having a baby or need time off to care for a family member? You’ll talk to Michelle. She’s a specialist for FMLA leave and ADA, and helps make these complex processes as simple as possible for TU staff.

 Leave and Timekeeping Associate Davia McKenzie (now in Payroll)

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Davia is the mind behind TU’s timesheets and the resource for people leaving the university. If you ever have a problem with your hours logged, issues with paid time off, or problems with compensation when leaving TU, Davia is there to help.

“My passion has always been helping people,” Davia explains. “I want to make a difference—and that’s what I do when I work with TU employees who need help.”

Sometimes helping means giving herself more work. For example, one time Davia remembered talking to a staff member about her daughter enrolling in TU, and realized that employee was about to miss the deadline for getting tuition remission. So Davia reached out.

“The deadline was about to pass, and I hadn’t received the tuition remission paperwork. I called the employee immediately, reminded her to fill out the form, and rushed to get the paperwork completed in time.”

To better align internal resources, Davia has recently moved from HR to the Payroll Office. She will no longer handle tuition remission, but you can find her in the Payroll area on the fourth floor of the Admin Building (or call her at x-6022).

 

Written by Tyler New

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