November 18, 2003
Panel fields questions about efforts
to streamline HR and payroll
continues campus discussion about 'transformation' projects
By Jennifer McNulty
A standing-room-only crowd turned out for a question-and-answer
session on Monday (November 17) about campus efforts to streamline
procedures in human resources and the time-and-attendance system. The forum,
sponsored by the Staff Advisory Board, took place over the noon hour at
View the slide
show of the HR transformation project, discussed at the
November 5 and 17 forums.
The two projects are at the forefront of UCSC's budget-driven
"transformation" efforts because activities in these areas are riddled
with the fragmented, duplicative, and outdated processes that have
developed under the campus's current decentralized business model.
Dozens of staff members are currently serving on a total of 20
campuswide project teams, addressing business functions, information
technology, resource management, and academic issues.
The human resources team expects to be the first to complete its
recommendations, submitting them in January to Tom Vani, vice chancellor
of Business and Administrative Services, who is overseeing both project
teams. The group hopes to have new HR procedures in place by February or
Consolidating the HR operation is designed to increase
efficiencies by replacing more than two dozen service centers with three
organizations focused on academic, administrative, and student affairs
activities. Staffing changes will result, but the goal is to fill new
positions with current employees, said Vani.
Responding to questions from the audience, Vani acknowledged
staff concerns about changing responsibilities, relocation of offices,
and, especially, layoffs. "Layoffs are always a big question," he said.
Planners hope retirements and attrition will balance out job losses
created by streamlining, but a shortened timeline and budget shortfalls
could make some layoffs necessary, said Vani.
Willeen McQuitta, director of Staff Human Resources, echoed Vani's
determination to find affected employees other jobs on campus if at all
possible. "In Staff HR, we've named a transition support coordinator to
help any displaced employees," she said, adding that services could
include job-hunting and interview-skills workshops. Asked if employees
would have to apply for positions in the new three-pronged HR
organization, McQuitta said that hadn't been worked out yet.
The campus's decentralized HR and payroll operations are overdue
for an overhaul, according to Vani and team members, six of whom helped
field questions from the audience of about 125 people. When the model
was adopted in 1995, administrators envisioned 10 centers across campus,
said McQuitta. But the number has soared to 26, creating redundancies, a
lack of consistency, and such small work groups that one staff vacancy
can cause major service problems and unacceptable delays, said Vani.
"We're way beyond decentralization," said Vani, calling the campus's
business systems "fragmented."
By embracing the transformation process, UCSC will emerge as a more
efficient organization. In some areas, technology may help the campus
actually increase service levels, said Doug Carlson, assistant dean for
academic planning in the Social Sciences Division, who is serving on the
"Change is hard, and this is going to be a great deal of change at the
individual level and at the institutional level," added
time-and-attendance team member Peter McMillan, computing manager for
the Office of Planning and Analysis.
Emphasizing that the state budget crisis overshadows the entire
project, Vani pledged to give staff as much notice as possible as
project teams complete their work and the campus acts on their
"We're trying our best to move forward in some very difficult
circumstances," said Vani, urging campus employees to "pay more
attention" to the transformation projects, to seek out information and
share it with others, and to minimize rumors.
The session was a followup to a November 5 forum sponsored by
the Staff Advisory Board to inform the campus community about the work
occurring under the Executive Budget Committee.
The next forum will take place on Wednesday, December 3.
will be purchasing. It will begin at 10 a.m. in Bay Tree Conference
Room D. Workers compensation was initially to be included
in the Dec.
3 forum, but has been moved to the forum at noon, on January 7, also
in Bay Tree Conference Room D.
forum focuses on HR transformation project; second forum to take
place November 17
Forum on budget process November 5
says budget planning will yield strategic cost cutting
21 transformation projects update to managers/supervisors
Campus "transformation" begins with info
Executive Budget Committee