Looking to the future.
The initial project timeline included a task going forward of “Review/Revise/Refine”. While some were uncomfortable with that unknown, the message was this should be a process of continuous improvement. We shouldn’t wait to evaluate the effectiveness of HR programs. The HR Metrics for Success, developed by the project Advisory Committee and adopted by the Steering Committee, provide a blueprint for that assessment. Much has changed in a short period of time. It will be prudent to review the policies, programs, and impact on a regular basis to make sure that HR is meeting the needs of the university and its employees.
Presented here in three categories - program development, stakeholder engagement, and resource support - are those future opportunities currently evident.
The performance management process will come full circle for the first time in early 2019. In the spirit of continuous improvement, an assessment should be conducted to determine how it is working and what can be done to make it better.
Also starting in 2019, the new, required employee career development plan will be documented in Talent@VCU as part of the annual performance review process. Follow up throughout the year should be expected to assist employees and managers realize the full potential of this new requirement.
Lastly, in the category of new programs to be implemented, a succession development pilot project scheduled for Spring 2019 integrates performance, career and leadership development. Succession development provides managers with the tools and support to engage in strategic workforce planning.
This was a critical aspect of the HR Redesign Project and it received very positive feedback. A new HR Advisory Committee has been formed to allow HR to stay connected with key constituents across the university, to hear their voices, and to incorporate their needs into HR priorities. Committee members responded enthusiastically to the invitation to participate. Keeping them engaged will be essential going forward. The committee’s initial charge outlines four areas of focus (1) Oversight of HR Metrics to track progress; (2) Policy review and development to assure the new HR plan is meeting the needs of the university community; (3) Advice and guidance on new programs and initiatives; and (4) Feedback on HR customer service and service delivery strategies.
Also in the category of stakeholder engagement is finalizing and supporting revisions to the governance structure to ensure that University and Academic Professionals have a voice in university governance. Staying connected to the new senate will be critical for continued, effective communication between employees and HR. To facilitate that relationship, it’s been recommended that they create an HR committee and that the chair/co-chair serve on the new HR Advisory Committee.
The third and final category of future opportunities is resource support, with three specific recommendations. First is to develop better leave management tools for employees and managers and to undertake a comprehensive communications campaign about the new leave plan. The change to a “paid time off” program is a major change for the university and does not appear to be well understood. Having more readily available data for employees and managers on the amount of leave available, advanced, and reconciled will help. More information about leave usage and reporting is critical to improve understanding of this valuable benefit.
Another resource opportunity is the full implementation of the learning management system (LMS) functionality in Talent@VCU software. The initial introduction of the LMS was for required compliance training, but there is so much more capability for this module in the software. Expanding the content available, organizing the content to align with the university’s competencies, pre-packaging “certificate” programs, and incorporating course evaluations and program assessment are just a few of the opportunities for enhancement.
And finally in the category of improved resource support is the need to create automated “epafs” and to build an online “onboarding” process. Modernizing these processes will free up HR (in the schools and units as well as staff in VCU HR) from burdensome transactional work and will significantly enhance the new employee experience. Having one place for new employees to complete all needed forms and obtain all necessary information to begin their VCU career will accelerate the new hire process, improve their effectiveness, and create a more positive first impression of their new employment experience.