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IN CONVERSATION WITH: Caitlin Schmid, Human Resources Coordinator

May 14, 2018

 Caitlin Schmid

Caitlin Schmid is one of the first people you’ll meet if you apply for a position in our department, probably in an interview. We turned the tables recently, and interviewed her! Here is her take on her important and multifaceted role.

Q: How long have you been with the School of Nursing?

I came to work in the School of Nursing in August 2015. Prior to this, I had 13 years of experience in Human Resources in the private sector. 

Q: What is the purpose of your role?

The purpose of my role is to help people be successful in their roles.

I support department leaders, faculty members, research teams, and staff members in the School of Nursing. This includes full time and interim employees.

For example, I support the Associate Dean with recruitment, faculty development initiatives, merit, and compensation. I help faculty members build their research teams by helping them hire the right people. The tenure and promotion process can be daunting process for faculty members, so I can answer their questions about that too. I support employees by helping them reflect on their work and helping them find training or talk about their career development and get answers about things like their vacation entitlement. And I work with Melinda Sese who is part of the HR team as well to start the payroll process every week.

Q: Can you break down the types of work you perform?

 A lot of what I do is consulting and coaching. This could be sitting down and speaking with someone about recruitment, training and development, vacation, employee leave, problem solving.

 The other part is administration. You need to have good computer skills for this role. There’s a lot of administration that goes on behind the scenes to keep the School working. Everything now is in Mosaic, a university-wide computer system. Payroll is there, employee files are there, vacation entitlements, etc. I’m a Mosaic expert, so I can help people by interpreting the records in Mosaic for them.

Melinda and I also partner with the Faculty of Health Sciences HR and central HR. For payroll, for example, there’s a lot involved to make sure that it’s right. The work starts in the department and then goes to Faculty of Health Sciences HR and central HR. Faculty of Health Sciences are the experts on employee benefits, as well.

I would like to spend more time in consulting and more time on employee engagement. That’s an important piece. We have a lot of people who have been with the department for a long time, which is amazing, and we want to keep them and make sure that they’re enjoying their role.

Q: What does a typical workday look like for you?

I’d say no day is the same. Depending on the time of year, it could be tenure and promotion or summer student hiring ... Our leadership team wants to be a one-stop shop. So if someone comes to me with a question – even if it’s outside of human resources – I’m going to help them find that answer. If it’s a student who doesn’t know where something is, I can direct them to the program office. If it’s our administration team having an issue with something, I try to help them solve the problem.  I’m not always the right person, but I try to find the right person.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

I like it because it allows me to use my human resources expertise and I get to be part of an academic and administration team. I have the opportunity to learn what makes a program run and sometimes I can contribute to that.

Q: What is one of the rewards of working at McMaster University?

If I had to choose one thing, it would probably be all the opportunities we have as McMaster University employees to learn and grow. And it’s all free. I have taken part in the New Manager training. I’m signed up to do a session about inclusiveness in the workplace. These are all really important topics for HR and they’re developed by people who are experts in their field. I used to be part of the university-wide Healthy Workplace Committee. That committee organizes activities like hikes, courses on personal finance and retirement, charity events. They are constantly coming up with new ways to promote health and wellness for employees at McMaster.

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