Within UNLV’s office of human resources lies the employee relations team, a team of professionals whose job it is to empower managers and employees to succeed in their everyday roles. The leader of the pack is Jared Christensen, who serves as director of employee relations.
Since his arrival at UNLV in July 2021, he’s been responsible for providing and offering guidance, direction, support, and resources on important employee relations matters. From performance management and employee engagement to policy navigation and labor relations, he is all about creating and maintaining a positive relationship with employees at UNLV.
Tell me about your career.
After graduating from Utah State University in 2006 with my bachelor’s degree in management and human resources, I took a job with Mercer Human Resources Consulting. I did that for a brief period and went on to work for the University of Utah in their human resources department. Before coming to UNLV, I worked for Management & Training Corp., where I spent the bulk of my career as director of corporate human resources. I had a lot of growth and development there, but I traveled extensively and eventually decided that I needed to find something that allowed me to spend more time with my family. That led me to move to Nevada to pursue a new opportunity at UNLV.
What inspired you to get into your field?
When I went to college I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, so I decided on management and human resources because I thought that would give me the broad skills I needed to be successful in a variety of career fields. I was also swayed toward human resources because my father spent a portion of his career in the field and really enjoyed it.
How do you decompress after a long day at work?
Whether I am happy, sad, or stressed, I love to have cold cereal. I have a whole pantry of different types of cereal, but Honey Bunches of Oats is my favorite. My team jokes about my cereal obsession, but my nightly cold cereal routine is pretty effective for me.
Best tip or advice for someone new to UNLV?
I would tell people to learn about the different resources and programs that the university offers. There are so many things happening on campus that even after a year and a half of working at UNLV, I have only scratched the surface.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I spent three years in Mexico and three years in Argentina during my childhood, and when I turned 19, I served a two-year mission for my church in Spain. These were great experiences for me growing up.
What trait do you most like about yourself?
I think I have a quick wit and a sense of humor. I feel like I am a jack-of-all-trades and very well-rounded. I love sports, the outdoors, super nerdy things, playing video games, and talking politics and behavioral economics.
What was the last book you couldn’t put down, show you binge-watched, or band you kept on replay? Why?
I like to read a lot of things from Malcolm Gladwell, whose writings often deal with the unexpected implications of research in the social sciences, like sociology and psychology. I also enjoy fiction and fantasy books. As far as shows go, I love The West Wing. That is one that I binge-watched hard. I also enjoy sitcoms like The Office, Modern Family, and Seinfield.
What kinds of activities do you like to do with your family?
I have four kids who are very active and heavily involved in sports. Basketball, softball, soccer, flag football… they’re involved in a lot so that keeps my wife and I busy. We also love to go camping in summer. It allows us to disconnect from the world and reconnect with each other.
Favorite holiday food or unique tradition for your family.
One of the holiday traditions that we have is that every year around Christmas time, we give our kids a new Christmas ornament that has something to do with that year. When we first started doing that, most of our tree was full of generic ornaments, but now our tree is covered with memories from over the years.
You just won Megabucks and want to give back to the community. What would you support and why?
I would love to fund scholarships for underprivileged children. That is something that has been near and dear to me. When I worked at Management & Training Corp., we did a lot with Job Corps, which is an education and vocational training program for low-income and at-risk youth. Being involved with Job Corps was a great experience.
My wife and I have also been involved in the foster care program, which has increased our awareness of how kids can benefit from educational support and resources.