HR 2020 FAQS

What will this project mean for UHR staff, especially in units that are restructuring?

First, this project responds to concerns about workload distribution, a recurring theme in UHR’s Working at Iowa results. Organizing Payroll into Payroll Services and HR Transaction teams will let us define clearer roles and apportion responsibilities equitably. Creating a one-stop welcome/help center will route questions to a core team of experts and reduce strain on distributed unit staff.

Organizational changes will create opportunities for staff to focus on the work they’re best at or to branch out into new areas. Accompanying renovations to USB will improve overall building security and help everyone feel safer at work.

Why do this now, especially so soon after so many other changes?

Parts of this project—including Payroll restructuring—stem from Talent@Iowa assessments that started nearly three years ago. They’re supported by more recent evaluations, including an external review that complimented Payroll’s service focus and recommended specific improvements. Acting now helps us ensure that these assessments are put to good use.

In addition, this project aims to address concerns about workload distribution that go back years, as well as newer recommendations regarding building security. These and other issues are just too important to neglect—addressing them now is the right thing to do.

How will this project benefit me personally?

Details depend in part on your current role and the job you aspire to, but everyone should benefit from the job-clarity, workload-distribution, and workplace-safety improvements described above. Other opportunities may include:

  • Additional training and the chance to shift to a new role
  • Technology enhancements that streamline processes, improve accuracy, or use artificial intelligence address routine functions
  • Fewer interruptions as employee questions are routed to a central help center
  • Satisfaction in providing faster, more reliable solutions for UI colleagues
  • Better-informed decisions that draw on front-line staff perspectives and real-time data

What will the welcome center, specifically, mean for me and my unit?

Launching a new welcome center will impact anyone who regularly fields questions about pay, leave, benefits, and other topics from UI employees. Right now, these questions go directly to staff in various HR units through various help lines and email accounts. Going forward, they’ll be routed to a trained team who can triage and address questions quickly and reliably. 

For standard questions, welcome center staff will draw on a shared, regularly updated bank of responses. In time, artificial intelligence tools may be able to address these questions immediately with minimal staff time.

For more complex questions, welcome center staff will research issues with support from unit contacts as needed. They will track individual cases to ensure resolution. Data will identify areas where employee education, process or system enhancements, additional staffing, or other changes might be warranted.

We talk frequently about making HR more strategic—what does this really mean?

This means actively assessing institutional and org-level needs, researching problems and recommending solutions, and building trusted partnerships. It’s a shift from the largely transactional focus that once characterized human resources.

For HR professionals, the emphasis on strategy means:

  • Embracing technology and analytics
  • Understanding how the institution succeeds
  • Staying focused on people
  • Being ready for the new workforce
  • Marketing a modern benefits package
  • Staying abreast of compliance issues
  • Being certified and updating our skill sets

How will this project enhance the employee experience?

For UHR employees, the project will bring the workload-management, professional-development, and workplace-security benefits outlined above. 

For other campus HR professionals, the project will provide more-reliable processes; quicker answers and results; additional data on topics like pay, transactions, support contacts, etc.; and access to new strategic expertise from UHR.

For UI staff and faculty in general, the project will make HR services easier to navigate and problems quicker to solve. The one-stop welcome center will reduce wait times and transfers, while other changes will reduce issues with pay, leave, and other key functions.

What impact will the project have on HR service delivery for UI Health Care?

The project will enhance services provided by UHR to employees university-wide, including UI Health Care staff and faculty. In addition, it may open additional avenues for collaboration between UHR and UI Health Care Human Resources.

What is the overall timeline for this project?

Initial planning for all five tracks is under way. Implementation targets vary—some will be mostly complete by mid-late 2019, while others will continue well into 2020. Projected milestones include:

  • Payroll Realignment (Track 1): Draft plan January 2019; new departments April 2019; implementation July 2019
  • Transaction Service Redesign (Track 2): Draft service model reviews and revisions February-September 2019; pilot implementation October 2019-February 2020; campus implementation January-May 2020
  • HR Transaction System Redesign (Track 3): System design, development, and testing February 2019-December 2020; campus implementation March-September 2020
  • HR Service Delivery Redesign (Track 4): Issue tracking December 2018-September 2019; knowledge database development December 2018-October 2019; issue/case management software implementation January-December 2019; full implementation December 2019
  • Welcome Center Construction (Track 5): Construction recommendations January 2019; input on and revisions to construction drawings February-May 2019; bids April-Jun3 2019; construction June-December 2019; additional security improvements September-March 2020