Decorative Graphic with interlocking Icons for People, Work & Services with tagline: Working Better Together. People. Work. Services.

The PEAK Initiative

PEAK is about working better together: it’s about people, work, and services that support world-class education and research. PEAK’s ultimate outcome is the realignment of our people to the way we will do work in the future. PEAK ensures a more efficient, compliant, and equitable service delivery at the University - for both the employees who deliver services and the students, faculty, and staff whose work and studies are supported by them. 


The work of our staff varies daily. If a college or unit is small, there may be just one person or a small group of people performing a range of many different tasks. PEAK realigns people to the work being centralized and helps to ensure: 

  • Consistent responsibilities for staff across the institution who have the same title.
  • A community of specialists can work together, network, and have efficient back-up support. 
  • Opportunities for training and developing expertise in an area of focus. 

Once in a PEAK-created role, people will work in either a Human Resources or Finance Operations Center or in University Relations providing common goods services related to Marketing and Communications.


People at the University who work within Human Resources and Finance perform a number of different tasks at various volumes and speeds depending on a number of factors including the number of staff trained and available to do the work, the complexity of the work, and needs of their campus/college/unit. It is common that staff only perform some particular types of Human Resource or finance activities at irregular intervals.

Generally, when tasks are unfamiliar, it takes staff longer to perform them and a greater risk of error or non-compliance is more likely to be introduced. This may occur with important activities such as payroll or invoicing transactions. By centralizing this work in PEAK-created roles, employees can specialize and become experts in specific areas of work enabling consistent, speedy, and enhanced services for all employees. With work realignment, the entire system will be able to utilize and leverage the best practices of those skilled specialists.


Services in Human Resources, Finance, and Marketing and Communications can differ depending on the resources available to a campus/college/unit. By centralizing payroll, talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, workforce data management, and leave of absence work in Human Resources, purchasing and accounts payable, accounts receivable, and general accounting in Finance, and account management, creative, web, and analytics services for Marketing and Communications, PEAK will ensure services are optimized and consistently delivered by dedicated specialists. All campuses/colleges/units systemwide will be able to access the expertise of the centralized functions, ensuring equal and consistent service delivery.

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Learn more about the reasons behind PEAK’s design

Many of our talented staff wear several different hats in the work they do every day. Often people will work across function areas, like Human Resources, to perform payroll, work on travel expenses, entering a leave of absence, or any number of unrelated tasks. 

  • In fact, if a unit or college is small, there may be just one person or a small group of people performing a wide range of activities.
  • This can burden a staff member and create a gap in service delivery when they are out of office, take a leave of absence, or leave the University.  

From an institutional perspective, we can be more efficient in the ways we provide services systemwide. From a people perspective, our current way of working requires administrative staff to split their attention among many types of work, with inconsistent training opportunities to support that work. This increases compliance risk, diminishes employee wellbeing, and reduces efficiency. 

This operating structure also doesn’t ensure that staff with the same or similar titles systemwide (e.g., “generalist 2”) are performing the same responsibilities. This can result in people with different responsibilities being classified similarly, which can lead to inequitable training and development opportunities. Importantly, PEAK is about realigning work and people to a more efficient way of service delivery; its intended goal is not a reduction in workforce. 

Benefits of PEAK

PEAK is about working better together to ensure a more efficient, compliant, and equitable service delivery at the University - for both employees delivering and the students, faculty and staff receiving those services in the future. 

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Benefits to Our People


  • Ensures a human-centered approach to how services are delivered on our campuses that prioritizes an equitable and inclusive employee experience.
  • Creates a place where our people are surrounded by a community of those with similar skills and work where there is opportunity for collaboration, career development and up-skilling.
  • Recognizes that our people are our greatest asset. We accomplish this by offering equitable and inclusive career opportunities for professional growth through the creation of clearly defined and consistent roles with pathways to advancement.
  • Ensures our guiding principles of workforce transition will be led from a standpoint of equity and inclusion.

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Benefits to Our Institution

  • Ensures a human-centered approach to how services are delivered on our campuses.
  • It eliminates the barriers to service delivery through a purposeful alignment of our people with the work that will move to a consolidated structure, as well as the work and staff that will remain at the campus/unit level.
  • Structure people and the work they do in a way that ensures services are delivered consistently, resolving how resources across different campus/units historically lacked full parity.
  • Long-term cost avoidance; this effort ensures that cost of these enhanced services doesn’t increase over time, which allows us to be good stewards of our resources and supports our ultimate mission.

Implementation Phases

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Implementation Participants Phases 1-4

PEAK Phases 1-4 implementation by campus, college/unit

Phase 1: Implementation FY23-FY24 Phase 2: Implementation FY24 Phase 3: Implementation FY24-FY25 Phase 4: Implementation FY24-FY25
Hubert H Humphrey School of Public Affairs CFANS (including Ag Exp Station) College of Continuing and Professional Studies Carlson School of Management
Internal Audit College of Liberal Arts College of Education and Human Development College of Biological Sciences
Law School Office of Student Affairs College of Pharmacy College of Design
Office of the Board of Regents EVPP - Office of the Exec VP & Provost College of Science and Engineering College of Veterinary Medicine
Office of Human Resources EVPP - The Graduate School Intercollegiate Athletics EVPP - Global Programs and Strategy
UM Crookston EVPP - Office of Undergraduate Education School of Dentistry EVPP - MN Extension
UM Duluth EVPP - Office of Faculty Affairs School of Public Health EVPP - University Libraries
UM Morris EVPP - Office of Public Engagement SVPFO - Capital Project Management Medical School
UM Rochester Office of Equity & Diversity SVPFO - Public Safety Office of Academic Clinical Affairs
SVPFO - Finance/Controller Office of the General Counsel SVPFO - University Health & Safety Office of the VP for Health Sciences
SVPFO - Information Technology Office of the President SVPFO - University Services Office of VP for Research
University Relations School of Nursing

Implementation Phase 1 infographic of the PEAK Initiative showing key milestones

PEAK Implementation Phase 1 infographic 2.2023
Alternative format of PEAK Implementation Phase 1 Milestone infographic

Additional Resources

View a video from President Gabel about the importance of PEAK (for University of Minnesota staff systemwide - login required).

Weaving equity and inclusion within every aspect of human resources is paramount to the success of every program, service, and employee engagement, and will inherently result in fostering a diverse workforce. To learn more about the university's goal of fostering a welcoming community that values belonging, equity, diversity and dignity in people and ideas, visit the Office of Human Resources website.