Kimberly Hongisto, benefits and onboarding specialist in Human Resources at Northern Michigan University, is one of the 2021 Excellence in Service Award recipients.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) required the university to provide its employees, including student employees, with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. In order to comply with FFCRA, Hongisto played a vital role in tracking absences and assisting faculty, staff and student employees with unique questions related to their leave time and potential illnesses. This required a new and responsive approach for dealing with an unexpected type of absence management.
Hongisto collaborated with others involved in the overall leave management process to make it easily understood by those in need. She spent countless hours on the phone answering questions and offering guidance about how FFCRA paid leave is applied based on various situations. She would then send written communication to each employee outlining the responsibilities needed to apply the leave correctly.
“Throughout the process, Kimberly had the unique ability to put callers at ease,” stated her award description. “She calmly and professionally explained the leave process and maintained an open line of communication at all times. Kimberly is a warm, friendly and caring individual who supports the needs of our faculty and staff on a regular basis, and especially during the pandemic.”
NMU honored several individuals and teams during its virtual 2021 Faculty and Staff Recognition Celebration. Employees were also honored for years-of-service milestones and retirement during the event. See all of those highlighted, along with the award winners, here.