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April 12, 2004

Human Resources Transformation team offers update for staff

By Louise Donahue

Staff members had plenty of questions when the staff Human Resources Transformation team provided an update on its work at a Staff Advisory Board forum on April 7.

The Staff Human Resources Office provides individual career coaching and transitional support workshops. See schedule.

While progress has been made in the effort to consolidate 26 service centers across campus and central Staff Human Resources into a single organization, the team's work is not yet far enough along to be able to provide many of the specifics the audience sought at the Stevenson College session.

The process of deciding just how to shift employees into the new framework will be developed during May and June, with the actual selection and transitioning of staff occurring somewhat later, said team member Shari Hastings, personnel/payroll manager for physical and biological sciences. "It's possible employees may know the outcome of those staffing decisions well in advance of actually transitioning into their new positions. We just don't have any exact dates yet," she said.

Team members outlined some of the challenges they face in the transformation project. Many employees performing Staff Human Resources work in service centers perform other functions, such as payroll and financial work, as well as human resources work in support of student and academic employees. This combination of work makes it difficult to assess just how many people are needed to get the Staff Human Resources job done. "It is not all strictly Staff HR," noted Hastings, adding that the team is in the process of "unbundling" all these duties and isolating the HR functions.

The transformation project will also involve writing new job descriptions, said Willeen McQuitta, director of Staff Human Resources.

Another challenge is that the mission of the HR transformation team has changed significantly since its work began. Originally directed by the Executive Budget Committee to merge the service centers into three human resources organizations--one each for administration, student affairs, and academic divisions--the budget committee now wants UCSC to have a single Staff Human Resources unit, dubbed the "supercenter" by some at the forum. "The team really had to go back to the drawing board," Christina Valentino, associate vice chancellor of business and administrative services, explained after the forum.
The Executive Budget Committee has not set a target amount of savings to be reached from the consolidation, team members told the audience. "There will be cost savings, but we're still early in our thinking," said Hastings. "We're trying to provide the best model to provide the best services."

Valentino noted that there was interest in reducing the number of service centers even before the Executive Budget Committee process because of the potential savings. "Intuitively, we think there is a more cost-effective way to manage Human Resources," she said.

While many questions from the crowd of staff members were answered with some variation of "we just don't know that, yet," the team was more emphatic when asked about rumors that all employees will be laid off and forced to reapply for open jobs. McQuitta said that although the process to transition employees has not been developed, a plan to lay off and rehire employees is not under consideration. "That is not something that I would be interested in doing. We're trying to preserve employment."

Team members said they welcome suggestions from staff members about the transformation project and noted several online outlets for feedback. The Executive Budget Committee has a confidential online suggestion box and ideas may also be directed to any member of the HR transformation committee, Assistant Provost Bill Hyder (bill@ucsc.edu), or the Staff Human Resources Coordinators Group at shrc@ucsc.edu. Members of the committee, in addition to McQuitta and Hastings, are Lori Castro (Staff HR); Nancy Eder (Social Sciences); Susan Ford (Student Affairs); Madlyn Norman-Terrance (School of Engineering); Julie Putnam (Staff HR); Cher Roberts (Humanities); Joyce Ryan (Arts); Patti Hiramoto (EEO/AA); Linda Listmann, Judith Martin-Hoyt (BAS/SHR); Scott Nostaja, AVCOR consulting; Barbara Perman (BAS/SHR); and Dee Steele (CBO).

Advising is the topic of the next Staff Advisory Board forum, scheduled for 2 to 3 p.m. in Thimann Lecture Hall 3 on April 21.

Materials presented at the meeting are posted online at the Staff Advisory Board web site.

Related links:

Program takes new approach to preventing injuries, easing employees' return to work

Staff Human Resources expands 'transition services' to assist budget-related job changes

Newsletter provides information on IT transformation project

Budget impact candidly discussed at Chancellor's Staff Forum

Effort under way to consolidate information technology on campus

Campus team tackles UCSC’s workers’ comp crisis

Currents article: Changes will streamline purchasing on campus

Currents article: Panel fields questions about efforts to streamline HR and payroll

Currents article: Staff forum focuses on HR transformation project; second forum to take place November 17

Currents article: Forum on budget process November 5

Currents article: Chancellor says budget planning will yield strategic cost cutting

Slide show on October 21 transformation projects update to managers/supervisors

Currents article: Campus 'transformation' begins with info technology consolidation

Executive Budget Committee

UCSC Budget Update site

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