June 21 responses

Asked how to maximize use of HR services and strengthen business partnerships (both within the university and beyond) respondents emphasized service improvements, one-on-one relationship building, and other key factors.

General observations

“The key to having our customers see value in our services and truly want to partner with us is to learn their business. Learn what keeps them up at night. This is best done by further immersion and localization of our HR professionals. Transactional activity can be centralized, but we’ll find customers are more willing to engage someone they know and trust who is embedded in their organization.”

“I personally think we’re already doing many of the things I’d suggest: training and development for the HR community, focusing on HR’s strategic role, communicating change, involving the campus in decision making, seeking feedback, and challenging the ‘can’t-be-done’ mentality.”

“I would like to see our business partnerships within the university strengthened before we focus on external organizations. Take care of the home front first—improvements are needed.”

Specific ideas

Connect with new supervisors/managers

“Time needs to be spent with new supervisors and managers so they can get to know the services HR offers. Often times, they’re hired, given a basic orientation, and told to get to work.”

  • Start with the people most likely to need HR support, and get to them when they’re fresh in their roles
  • Develop an onboarding program focused on new supervisors (Note: This is a frequent suggestion—based largely on Year of Innovation feedback, new proposals are in the works.)

Streamline hiring processes

“It should not take 3-4 months to complete a search for a P&S positions. By the time the candidate reviews, interview permissions, interview processes, and selection are complete, the best candidates have moved on to other opportunities.”

  • Cut out unnecessary steps and speed time to approvals.
  • Remember that business results build relationships.

Empower local decision making

“Support new initiatives, find ways to remove road blocks, and keep encouraging HR professionals to talk with top leadership and learn about business needs.”

  • Offer stretch opportunities to HR colleagues who are ready to embrace them.

Keep making inroads with leadership

“Ask meaningful and challenging questions to units in support of employees and business planning.”

  • Be timely, responsive, and respectful in all interactions.
  • Provide HR pros with access to user-friendly data and reports that they can pull as needed.
  • Learn how each individual leader prefers to connect, then tailor your approach.
  • Continue to position local HR pros as expert partners.

Clarify contacts and roles

“In health care, we need more clearly defined roles so HR reps know who to contact.”

  • Establish which issues can be addressed locally, at the university level, or beyond the institution.
  • Develop a communications plan to build awareness.
  • Follow up at regular checkpoints to determine how services are being used.

Hold small-group outreach sessions among HR pros

“The way HR meetings have changed this year have made them less useful for me. I am extremely busy, like everyone else, and I understand that you have an agenda of bettering the system, but I am newer to this and need better understanding of HR and its policies.”

  • Address the basics alongside the big picture.
  • Invite groups of 10 or fewer—maybe focus on HR pros from a single college, for example.
  • Meet every 4-6 months, for no more than an hour.
  • Have the same UHR facilitator every time to build relationships.