October 25 responses

Given that respondents highlighted their own priorities, we’ve provided a full roundup of their responses (edited for length and clarity):

“I would work on culture building and helping staff actively practice conversation. Culture is a recurring theme—how can we build a culture that’s more positive and collaborative? The other thing we need to work on is communication—not just difficult conversations, but communication as a whole.”

Diversity and inclusion are hands down the highest priority for HR (and campus as a whole). We are missing out on an incredibly rich range of thought, perspective, and talent. We have some blind spots we need to uncover so we can truly welcome and celebrate diversity.”

Performance management. Supervisors have a hard time having difficult conversations with problem employees who haven’t been held accountable. When problem behaviors crop up, supervisors want to ‘get rid of’ employees. When these cases come to HR, they’re no longer about failure to meet goals.”

“I would spend a year focusing on how to infuse professional development into our culture, including making development of others a core competency and an expectation for supervisors. Every employee should have a real development plan based on their strengths, their aspirations, and organizational needs. Agile career ladders and lattices should recognize the interrelated nature of our work. We should celebrate movement of employees within the university, which diversifies perspective, challenges established practices, and creates networks.”

“I’d work on a volunteer program that utilizes retired staff in needed roles. Many positions suffer from small or poorly qualified applicant pools. We can bring vital resources back into the workforce in a limited, constructive, and thoughtful way as we face predicted shortages.”

“My dream project would be to develop a guide for a more standardized search process across all positions. It would include a typical timeline, checklist, and common contacts; guidelines for selecting committee members; diversity-related advertising outlets; tips on using inclusive language; recommended communication plans and interview formats; etc. It would eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel every time a unit has an open position, and help all applicants feel welcome.”

“I’d like to take on the challenge of helping to roll out the new applicant tracking system, providing input that helps end users make the transition.”

“A focus on leadership during times of change and uncertainty. Focus on retention and resilience when morale is low and criticism is high.”

“UI-wide orientation and training for supervisors would allow them to confidently develop staff members to exceed performance expectations while also effectively managing performance deficiencies.”

“One project would be to completely revamp our idea of performance management and evaluations across campus. What is innovative and meaningful to employee and supervisor? How can we creatively accomplish our goals of providing feedback and boosting engagement? How can we encourage employees to provide constructive feedback to their supervisors?”

“Create an onboarding program. I’ve seen it done well and not-so-well. I think it creates an impression for employees that helps them determine whether they want to continue working at the UI or move on.”

“Better integrate Self Service with our systems to the point where people want to use it as a personal information portal. There are a lot of work-related items included in Self-Service that could be separated into a different access point, making the portal less cluttered. I get the sense that people are sometimes disheartened at the thought of using Self-Service to complete a task, and that shouldn’t be the case.”

“Our hiring practices. From talent acquisition to the actual nuts and bolts of the hiring process, we have to make changes to speed up and attract a more diverse, qualified population. I work primarily with entry-level positions, and we lose people to other companies and institutions.We need a new website, a quicker posting timeline, and standardized hiring plans for each department. We need candidates cleared before they proceed down the hiring pipeline, and we need a simpler process to get appointments generated and people working.”

“I’d have a Lean-type event for Benefits on how we handle requests from employees, students, retirees, and others. We need a more robust system for tracking calls, entering notes, logging completed forms, etc. We also need an updated billing system to reduce the time we spend entering data and tracking down who did what and why.”

“As an organization, we fail on the onboarding process. Onboarding requires a lot of planning and preparation. If done properly, it should span a new employee’s entire first year. We need to identify resources, help foster mentoring relationships, and facilitate engaged meetings to track what’s going well, where more training would help, etc.”

“In IT, we’ve been working on a skills inventory project. We did a pilot last February and will roll out a skills survey to 600 campus IT staff late this fall. The survey asks them to rate their skill levels in multiple areas and identify any skills they’d like to develop. The goal is to get a snapshot of current skills, decide what we need, identify gaps, and make workforce planning decisions. I think this could have broader impact and help promote engagement, maybe starting with HR professionals.”

“Create a service center for HR—one call for triaged support. Uses would include leave of absence requests, policy questions, time/attendance inquiries, application questions, etc. With ongoing changes, customers are confused about who to contact. Having a single place to get help would simplify matters and provide a chance to collect data on customer needs.”

“I think it’s extremely valuable to emphasize supervisor development, from the onboarding phase to ongoing training and support. We’ve previously had a very sporadic and segmented approach, and we can make great strides. Focusing on supervisors creates a ripple effect that improves competencies and employee satisfaction university-wide.”

Branding and marketing the UI as an employer of choice, developing a system where it’s easy for applicants to view and apply for positions, and efficient for HR staff to review and manage applications.”

Centralize. I work in a small department and have a variety of tasks. I’m learning new stuff every day, but have done some things only once. I like the variety, but certain tasks (like FMLA) are relatively uncommon and have a lot of rules. Start centralization there.”

“More efforts to support diversity and develop tools for creating success in a diverse workplace. We need to see beyond the small picture and support new waves of employees. We should envision workplace learning as continuum and provide resources to address issues like cultural miscommunication.”