February 15 Responses

Some responses offered ideas for how HR professionals can benefit staff, faculty, departments, and the university as a whole, while others focused specifically on ideas for strengthening the HR community. Major themes and proposed success measures follow:

1. Encourage internal mobility

“Staff might not know options available to them outside their department or org. Managers might not understand how staff skills can transfer across job families and classifications.”

  • Establish pathways: Delineate career paths and promote available opportunities.
  • Highlight portable skills: Identify positions that call for similar strengths, and encourage units to consider strong candidates who are changing tracks.

Measures: Increases in lateral moves and promotions; reduced turnover

2. Enhance recruitment and hiring

“Bringing in the best employees for every search at every level through active sourcing, recruitment, and onboarding would transform our university.”

  • Improve systems: Pull different hiring functions into a single system and enhance specific functions like job posting and marketing.
  • Work together: Share resources across unit lines and individual searches.
  • Enlist the community: Encourage staff and faculty to promote job postings and provide referrals.
  • Recruit our graduates: Engage and hire former students.

Measures: Stronger candidate pools; reduced time to hire

3. Help lead change

“In these times of ever accelerating change, resiliency and ability to deal with ambiguity are required competencies for every UI faculty and staff member.”

  • Transfer knowledge: Foster mentoring and other practices that transmit institutional knowledge and develop young professionals.
  • Build resources: Add training, services, and conversation around change management.
  • Establish flexible workplaces: Recognize generational shifts in the UI workplace and anticipate changing expectations.

Measures: Reduced resistance to change; meeting performance targets after transitions

4. Keep improving HR structures

“Maintaining a mix of centralization and decentralization is necessary and in our best interests. But there is still a lot of opportunity for more uniformity across colleges and departments.”

  • Standardize…to a point: Establish shared models for essential policies and practices while maintaining flexibility.
  • Define roles: Understand strengths of central, distributed, specialist, and generalist functions.
  • Provide backup: Ensure that HR colleagues in smaller units have places to turn for support.

Measures: More mobility among campus HR professionals; better coverage for essential functions

5. Shift the culture

“We have too many problems to solve to spend time and energy worrying about who gets the blame or credit, and working in silos leads us to narrow approaches that only partly address the issues.”

  • Emphasize collaboration: Bring together teams from across the HR community and beyond.
  • Address conflicts: Be brave and open, rewarding the hard work that builds stronger relationships.

Measure: Teams form on their own and complete successful projects

6. Embrace professional development

“Look for opportunities and encourage others to do the same, deepening our understanding of operations at the institutional and unit levels.”

  • Get involved beyond HR: Help solve problems in areas like budgeting, teaching, research, institutional reputation, etc.
  • Expand know-how: Take advantage of training, job rotations or shadowing, and service with professional and community organizations.

Measure: HR professionals consistently have a place at the table

7. Prioritize assessment

“Before we can truly move to the next level of strategic HR, we need to ensure our data is clean, accurate, and easy to access.”

  • Standardize metrics: Establish targets that apply across units.
  • Improve tools: Adopt user-friendly systems, including dashboards.

Measure: Consistent, accessible datasets