Finance and Operations; OUR Clemson

Talent Management: Elevating the employee experience at Clemson  


Clemson employs more than 6,000 full-time faculty and staff. Each employee’s career path and development vary drastically, as does their Clemson Experience.  

Enter the Talent Management team within the Office of Human Relations.  

The group of two dozen support staff focuses on creating exciting and unique experiences and education that impact faculty and staff throughout their employment lifecycle, starting day one on the day they apply to Clemson.  

“Our unit within HR strives to offer opportunities and guidance that will positively impact each faculty and staff member, anywhere within their journey at Clemson, with a real desire to impact their employee experience,” said Michelle Cato, senior director of talent management at Clemson.  

Three women pose for a photo with the Tiger mascot at the Madren Center.
Michelle Cato (right) with members of the Talent Acquisition team (Mary Collins Boyles, left, and Brennan Ledford, center) at the 2024 Degree Attainment Luncheon.

One of several teams within OHR, Talent Management consists of three focused groups: 

  • Talent Acquisition 
  • Training, Development and Retention 
  • Strategic Consultants  

Through their work, they’re working to help achieve the pillars of Clemson Elevate.  

“We have to create an excellent and fruitful experience for our faculty and staff to deliver that to our students,” said Cato. “And to double research, it will take having the right people in the right role at the right time.”  

“We’re looking at how we create excellent and fruitful experiences for our faculty and staff members so that they can, in turn, deliver that to our students,” said Cato. “When we look at doubling research, we’re looking at who the right people are for the right roles and how we can increase our talent pool to meet our goals.” 

Talent Acquisition  

The employee lifecycle starts with the talent acquisition team. From postings and advertisements for jobs at Clemson to candidate sourcing and interviews, talent acquisition partners are focused on recruiting top talent to the University.  

“I fundamentally love to make the match,” said Lisa Dash-Grimes, director of talent acquisition. As her team looks to recruit the best of the best, they’re “focused on improving efficiencies so that we can hire quality candidates.”

Attracting and hiring exceptional talent is essential to accomplishing Clemson Elevate.  

“We want candidates applying to Clemson to take away, first and foremost, the Clemson culture,” said Dash-Grimes. “Through strategic networking, we are focusing on connecting individuals in every corner of our state to potential employment at Clemson.”  

Training, Development and Retention  

Through programs like annual required training, new employee orientation and CU Grow, faculty and staff have become familiar with Clemson’s training, development and retention (TDR) team. Responsible for various engagement and development initiatives, the TDR team focuses on the employee experience: developing opportunities for training, engagement and growth.  

A woman speaks at a podium in front of greenery.
Jaz Hamilton-Allen speaks at the 2024 CU Grow graduation ceremony.

“What I enjoy most is knowing we equip the Clemson Family with unique personal and professional skills that set them up for long-term success,” said Jaz Hamilton-Allen, development and retention manager on the TDR team. “Development isn’t just about learning new skills; it’s about driving innovative strategies that engage and empower individuals to take ownership to be their best selves. I’m honored to work with a team that makes a marked difference in the lives of others.”   

Whether it is customized training, individualized development plans or specialized onboarding support, the TDR team ensures faculty and staff are supported as they pursue their personal goals and the goals set forth by the University. 

International employment is yet another area supported by the TDR team. The international employment team is responsible for compliance and employment verification for all international individuals who work for the University. While a large portion of what they do focuses on compliance and taxation, they also take pride in providing guidance and triaging questions from new employees.   

We get to be the welcoming face to our new arrivals,” said Pablo Unda. “We work with many student employees, especially graduate students, and we want their experience to be positive – especially at the beginning. They are coming to a new country, working through a new system – we want to assist them in that transition.”  

Strategic Consultants  

A woman wearing a white dress and blue cardigan, shoulder towards camera, trees and bushes in the background
Latoya Daniels.

The Office of Human Resources has three strategic consultants who work in tandem with individual colleges, divisions or units across the University to accomplish major strategic goals that involve human resources: strategies such as organizational development, change management, succession planning and workforce planning. They are a critical link to strategic resources that optimize the success of faculty and staff and their important work.  

The team focuses on Clemson Elevate in everything they do – from developing career progressions to helping organizations build a culture of success and inclusion.  

“We are connecting all of these initiatives and seeing how these groups have organized their priorities to meet these pillars,” said Latoya Daniels, HR strategic consultant. “We’re listening and are here to connect their needs to resources throughout HR and the University to reach their goals.”  

Focused on the people  

Talent management is all about the people: how they come to Clemson, how they experience Clemson and how they work together to improve Clemson.  

“I get excited when I see [my team] able to drive value into an organization,” said Cato. “I want our campus community to know we are here to help them and how we can help them build their organization for long-term success and create a forward-focused, innovative and diverse team.”