May 21, 2013

University Finalizes Human Capital Strategy

By Neal Lorenzi

THE UNIVERSITY of Illinois recently finalized a Human Capital Strategy (HCS) document, which is designed to address some of the issues impacting University employees. Wayne Stahl, Director of Organizational Effectiveness, University of Illinois, facilitated a cross-campus team to create the document.

THE HCS team defines a Human Capital Strategy as: the determination of the right mix of human capital for the short-term and projected needs of the organization based on workforce planning data and talent management systems and programs. “In our strategy, we defined human capital as what people know, how people interact, how committed people are to the organization, and the work people do that drives an organization toward achieving its strategic objectives,” Stahl said.

In the Beginning
ON JUNE 8, 2010, the University’s Administrative Review and Restructuring Human Resources Management (ARR-HR) Subcommittee issued a Final Report, which recommended that a supportive human capital strategy be developed. Such a strategy should be grounded in job analysis so that the content of the position, the title of the position, and the required qualifications and competencies are well understood.

A SECOND recommendation called for a Human Capital Strategy for Academic Professionals (APs). Areas that need to be reviewed include the total compensation for Academic Professionals, professional development, and career advancement.

WITH RESPECT to Academic Professionals, the report stated: “APs are critical to the everyday functions performed at the University and to the future success of a transformed University. They are described as ‘a workforce that breaks through traditional barriers that is flexible, self-directed, multidisciplinary, and able to adapt to the changing needs of the University.’”

Details of the Strategy
THE HCS team followed those recommendations to create the recently released Human Capital Strategy document. According to Stahl:

FOR THE purposes of our report, human capital is: what people know, how people interact, how committed people are to the organization, and the work people do that drives an organization toward achieving its strategic objectives. The guiding principles for the creation of our human capital model are:
  • Human Capital Management is a fundamental component of strategic business management. It is guided by and directed toward fulfillment of the university’s and each campus’s strategic mission, vision and values. Human capital considerations are reflected when designing and implementing operational policies and practices.
  • People are viewed at the University of Illinois as assets whose value to the university can be enhanced through investment. As with any investment, the University’s goal is to maximize the value of its people to increase operational effectiveness and efficiency, and add greater value to students, parents and other stakeholders.
  • A University-wide competency model provides a common base to implement a human capital strategy. Competencies are a guide for employees to support the University in achieving its goals. As an operational tool, the competency model is used to build and sustain the university’s pool of leaders through recruiting, hiring, development, retention, and succession policies and practices targeted for leaders with identified characteristics and work experiences.
  • Performance management systems, including pay and other incentives, link performance to results.
  • Individuals interact, support and learn from each other as a means of contributing to the high performance of their peers, colleges, units and the University as a whole.
  • The organizational structure should support high performance in the workplace.
  • Talent management only “works” if all leaders, managers and employees are responsible for hiring, engaging, developing and retaining top talent. HR enables these efforts by developing and providing tools, templates, processes, systems, analyses and training to help leaders, managers and employees be more effective in their talent management responsibilities. However, ownership rests with line management.
Potential Impact of the Document
THE IMPACT to University employees by campus and across the three campuses is potentially significant. The size and complexity of the recommendations range from developing a policy on bullying and developing processes for more opportunities for internal promotions to the modernization of the State Universities Civil Service System and changing our culture to drive continuous improvement in everything we do.

WE NOW have a strategy for human resources to integrate into the campus strategies, and UIC HR has been a leader in this area. The Chicago campus HR office has developed a robust strategy that integrates some of the elements found in the University’s human capital strategy.

THE OTHER campuses and the hospital are looking at opportunities where they can make changes and improvements to their respective organizations and collectively where the University as a whole can benefit. The challenge is to keep the momentum going while we all face financial and resource shortfalls.

Status of the Initiative
THE PROPOSED strategy was presented to the Human Resource Leadership Team on March 27, 2013, for review and approval. Members of the team are collecting input from their respective campus and University administration leadership groups, at which point they will discuss the next steps for the human capital strategy and make recommendations.

For More Information
The strategy is posted on the APAC website. “As new teams are formed to carry out these recommendations, Academic Professionals will be asked to participate directly,” Stahl concluded. “As a stakeholder group, they will be asked for input through organizations such as APAC. Our project team has had a great relationship with APAC during the development of the Human Capital Strategy document. I expect that relationship to continue to be nurtured and grow.”

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