- Olga Nieves

Term : January, 2013
Department : Business and Management
Program : Human Resource MGMT

Olga Nieves wanted to find a way to refresh her business skills while preserving her humanitarian approach to staff development and training. She enrolled in UCSC Extension’s Human Resource Management certificate program in fall 2012 with the intention of completing the entire curriculum in three quarters.

“What I love about Extension the most is that the information is current,” Nieves says. “It’s applicable. The instructors, who are out working in the field, share their experiences with us, as opposed to at a university, where it’s all theory. There’s theory and there’s practice. We learn actual applications. This complements my needs so much more. I love to go to school. I look forward to it.”

Nieves was especially impressed with the way that her instructors reinforced the latest HR laws and policies by asking students to collaborate, setting an example of healthy workplace communication. One of her favorite classes was Organizational Development and Change.

“You learn how to effectively work with the people,” she says. “In a work environment, you can’t control so many conditions—when people go on vacation, when employees get sick. In class we learned how to get everyone to meet their full potential and work as a team.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge that HR professionals face, according to Nieves, is the need to meet a company’s bottom line while keeping employees happy and healthy.

“Our challenge is to maintain a productive environment while also treating the employees well,” she says. “We have to figure out how to meet the bottom line and how to keep employees loyal and happy, whether that’s offering benefits, extracurricular activities, stocks and bonds, or the work environment itself. How does management treat their workers? I think that’s the most challenging – not forgetting that we’re dealing with real people.”

She sees these human needs as critical to a business’ success, and is inspired by her instructors’ philosophies and approaches to facilitation, finance and organizational development. Of all the things she’s learned at Extension, Nieves says that she is the most grateful to learn “how to become an HR partner; not just someone who’s contributing, but someone who understands the business and helps the company move forward in a good way.”

Visit our Human Resources Management program page to learn more about Extension’s unique offerings. Browse upcoming HR Management courses.

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