March is Employee Appreciation Month. Each week this month, we will put the spotlight on an outstanding staff member who is instrumental in keeping our institution moving forward—even when faced with monumental challenges like those presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. We begin with Alfreda Williams, manager of information systems and records in the Office of Human Resources.
No matter what’s going on in the world, employees expect payroll to continue. As manager of information systems and records in Human Resources, Alfreda Williams knows that well. She leads the team tasked with maintaining all of the information relevant to the university’s faculty and staff, including payroll information—a process that complements the accounting component managed by the Controller’s office.
Known for her reliability, Williams is backed by institutional knowledge accrued over two stints at the university—first from 1992 to 2000 and then from 2003 to today. Her supervisor, Jamie Ryan, said it “helps [him] sleep at night” knowing he has someone with such a depth of knowledge on his team.
And Williams’ knowledge has been especially valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on, it became clear that there were certain aspects of the records team’s work that couldn’t be done remotely, with payroll being among their most important functions that required their presence on campus.
“Payroll has to go on,” Williams said. So she and her staff, which consists of two other employees, have reported to campus without skipping a beat.
In addition to handling information pertaining to payroll, Williams’ team is also responsible for keeping track of all the information that relates to an individual’s employment at the university—from their time of hire to when they depart campus. It involves plenty of paperwork, though the department is moving toward more electronic information—a move necessitated by the pandemic.
Ryan, senior director of accounting and information systems and records in Human Resources, applauds Williams’ adaptability during the pandemic, especially as many of the university contacts with whom she works operated remotely.
But flexibility has always been a hallmark of Williams’ work. At the end of June and beginning of July each year, her team faces what they refer to as “busy season.” With one academic year ending and another starting, personnel changes are common during this time and keeping all of the information up-to-date and accurate is a large task. Ryan said he’s been impressed with how the team continuously fine-tunes its process every year to become more efficient.
“From my viewpoint, [Williams is] a delight to manage. We have developed a really good relationship over the years,” Ryan said.
And Williams’ reliability in her role benefits individuals far beyond the Office of HR.
“Giving that excellent customer service, that’s what we’re all about,” Williams said.