Employee of the Month - Shauna Cruz

October 2016Human Resources

Shauna Cruz

“I am completely humbled by the [Employee of the Month] award,” says Shauna Cruz. “It feels awesome to know that I have colleagues who are kind enough to outwardly appreciate the work I do. Winning was the cherry on top!” It’s an apt metaphor for someone who is also a professional baker.

Yes, Shauna is a professional baker. She went to culinary school in Southern California in 2008 and completed an externship with Schwab Executive Services at Stanford. She baked professionally for a short while but now only does so as a hobby. 

It’s complicated

So, while it’s hard to say what Shauna’s colleagues appreciate most about her – her HR prowess or the sweet snacks she provides –they certainly value the contribution she makes to the department day after day. Colleague Galina Malukhina says, “She is a very intelligent, efficient, knowledgeable and accessible HR administrator. I don't know how she manages to organize her time to be able to always answer my questions within a few hours. She grasps issues immediately and takes time to explain complicated HR matters. Her responses are clear, thorough and timely. Her comments are always thoughtful, and recommendations have been exemplary at all times.”

As human resources administrator in medicine operations, Shauna provides HR support to five divisions within the Department of Medicine, which means she is the first point of contact for all HR inquiries and a resource to staff and faculty on HR policies, procedures and practices. She reviews hundreds of timecards, conducts new hire meetings and exit meetings; assists with recruiting efforts; and explains complicated guidelines related to time and labor, leave, visa sponsorships and compliance training.

It’s complicated even further because each division – and each situation – may require something different. Noah Hiken says, “Shauna has an incredible amount of HR knowledge. She handles one of our most complicated and largest divisions, Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC), which has close to 250 employees. SPRC has not only a lot of employees but also a very high turnover rate because it employs many short-term and seasonal coaches, exercise trainers and research assistants. Furthermore, Shauna supports four very research-intensive divisions, which include BMI, BMIR, BMT and PCOR. These divisions have about 160 employees combined. Shauna is excellent at making sure these departments have all of the staff they need, from clinical educators to academic staff research associates (ASR’s). The ASR appointments are particularly tricky because they have to coincide with grants the divisions are awarded, and many of the ASR’s require visa applications or visa renewals, which can be a bureaucratic nightmare.”

There’s a template for that

Cecile Bonini echoes Noah’s sentiments about the demands of the job… and how skillfully Shauna manages it. One way she does so is by sharing her knowledge with others. Remarking how “diverse” and “demanding” Shauna’s groups can be, Cecile says, “She manages her work load with a big smile on her face, always remaining calm and serving as support and a trainer to the rest of the HR team.”

More than once, we heard about this ability: to teach others. In fact, Shauna’s guides, templates and checklists may be as legendary as her baked goods. These documents are tools that she creates not only to share her expertise, but to help others be efficient in the work they must do. She’s even developing a mini lecture series on some frequently challenging topics. Noah Hiken tells about a time when he was attempting to create offers and perform hires using aids created by Shauna. He says, “Shauna efficiently gathers the information she needs and passes those techniques on when she trains others.” When he still got stuck on a particular task, he says, “She graciously took ten minutes of her time to walk me through the salary calculator to make sure I did it correctly and learned it well.”

Cecile Bonini has a story, too. She says, “We recently hired two new people, and Shauna has served as a trainer/mentor for them. They meet with her on a regular basis, and she goes over new duties with them. This often means that she creates process guides and templates for the work and communication that they will need to do. Shauna is meticulous. She embodies the excellence that our Department strives for. She is a Stanford alum, after all.  She keeps detailed notes and checklists and has great follow-up, which means that her work is done well and in a timely manner.”

Sweet talk

While Shauna’s skilled at being organized and helping others succeed, she says her favorite part of the job is being one of the first people that the Department’s new employees meet. She says, “I try to create a welcoming and informative start to their career at Stanford.” And she’s a great ambassador in that regard. Elsie Wang says, “Despite the large volume of work, Shauna always goes above and beyond and makes herself available to answer questions and provide support and assistance. Shauna is approachable, friendly and an absolute joy to work with.”

Shauna has worked in HR for the Department of Medicine off and on since 2005 (and most recently since April 2015). As much respect as Shauna’s colleagues have for her, the feelings are mutual. She says, “The HR team in the Department of Medicine is such a great team to work with – it’s hard to stay away!”

One benefit of having Shauna back in the Department is, of course, the sweets. Colleagues call this “an added perk, since she brings in samples of delicious cookies, cakes, scones, etc.” Cecile says Shauna offers the department the best of both worlds: “She shares her wisdom and her treats.”

But baking isn’t Shauna’s only hobby. She says she is also a beginning photography enthusiast, enjoys travel and “loves everything about coffee.” She’s involved with her home church and tries to participate in yearly, short-term mission trips.  For example, she has worked with a group in Northern Israel that helps renovate bomb shelters in low-income communities and another in China that mentors college students and supports orphanages and rural communities.