HRBPT Updates Archive

Update: February 21, 2017

Organizational Design/Service Delivery

Effective December 1, 2016, all HR employees at University Park, regardless of business unit or college, came under the purview of the Office of Human Resources. This changed the reporting structure of 67 full-time employees at University Park and will increase efficiencies, accountability, and strategy-building efforts across HR.

The expression of interest process described in previous reports concluded in December 2016. In total, 127 positions were filled by full-time Penn State HR employees. Based on strategic priorities, employees will begin to move into their new roles in the next few months.

Shared Services Workstream

Lauri Catalano was hired in January as the Senior Director of Shared Services. In this new position, Lauri will play a critical role in directing the efforts of the new HR shared services delivery model.

The customer service sub-team continues to engage other Penn State units who utilize an ACD (automated call distribution) system in order to determine the optimal telephony for future needs in the Shared Services Center. 

The customer service sub-team is also defining standard operating procedures for the HR call center and informing the overall customer service culture.

Work continues on the identification of current non-HR work being handled by unit-HR staff that will be transitioned to appropriate employees within the units during the summer months.

A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has been chosen for the computing needs; an implementation plan is in process.

Mobility options for the Shared Services Center staff is being finalized.

The unit unveiled new guiding principles to better reflect the new service delivery model and updated mission and vision statements are near completion.

331 Building, Innovation Park

Centre Region Code and College Township approvals were received and construction of the first floor commenced in early February.

The furniture bid has been awarded.

The A/V package is out for bid and will close on February 28.

Design efforts are well underway, including flooring, textiles, and color schemes.

Policy Harmonization

Policy changes identified through the Workday implementation continue to be drafted. Current work is focused on a new appointments policy and revising Policy HR88 Full-Time Equivalent Appointments.

In January, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee received a proposal to create a new policy category for current HR policy where the stewardship belongs to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs office. Next steps include an HRBPT update to the Senate by Susan Basso and a later presentation on overall policy harmonization efforts.

Many of the University’s HR Policies and Guidelines are currently under review. After consultation with key constituencies, work is underway to update, consolidate, and improve policies to better serve the University. As part of this effort, policies which are no longer in use will be removed from GURU.

Process Redesign

All work processes that fall outside of Workday are in final revisions for review by the WorkLion team.

With the documentation of processes near completion, staff are currently being trained on the new process and workflows in preparation for the Shared Services implementation this spring.

WorkLion Technology

HR Portal

A multi-phase website design process has finished with input from numerous individuals in the organization.

Comprehensive internal focus groups were held on February 14 and 15. The goal was to help refine the portal design and site features, as well as gauge internal awareness and confidence.

Combined user testing and training efforts with Workday are being developed and will be implemented throughout the spring semester leading up to go-live in June.

Comprehensive HR-specific training will be conducted to ensure the technology is fully utilized and supported on day one of go-live.


The launch of Workday, the cloud-based human capital management and payroll system, is scheduled for later this year.

The scope of the project includes Human Capital Management, Payroll, Benefits, Time-Tracking, Recruitment, and Talent Management. Recruitment will go-live in a second wave.

All faculty, staff, technical service and student employees at all colleges, campuses, and administrative units will become users of this system, with the exception of Hershey Medical Center and Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Testing: A key area of focus by the Workday team is testing. Multiple cycles of testing will be done prior to go-live.

The project has successfully completed the first round of Payroll Parallel Testing (PPT), a process by which we run payroll results in Workday for the same time period and employee population, against the results in our legacy payroll system. The payroll team tested and analyzed the records of over 35,000 employees and exceeded their goals for this first round of testing. This is one of four rounds of PPT that we will conduct prior to go-live, with incremental reconciliation goals for each cycle.

The third round of Systems Integration Testing was successfully completed in December. This has set our team up to enter into a new phase of testing known as End-to-End (E2E) Testing. This phase will test business processes from start to finish in the system, ensuring that Workday is functioning as expected.

In April, we will begin a very exciting phase of testing for our project known as User Engagement Testing. We will be inviting end users from across the Commonwealth to test real-life transactions in the system. Feedback during the user engagement testing will help inform our Communications and Training materials in the final lead up to go-live.  

Training, Communications & Faculty Engagement: Workday training will start being delivered in May. The project training team is currently developing courses that were outlined in their earlier curriculums. The courses are a mix of instructor-led, both in person and on the web, as well as web-based, self-paced.

Susan Basso presented on the HR Business Process Transformation and Workday implementation at a recent Academic Leadership Council (ALC) meeting.

As an outcome of that meeting, the project team decided that Faculty “Managers” will be able to request ongoing delegation of certain tasks such as approving time worked and time off requests from staff, part-time staff, and/or any student employees they manage. More details on how to delegate will be shared with faculty in the coming months.

However, Faculty who manage staff employees will still need to conduct performance management responsibilities in the system.

The project is working with the Faculty Senate Benefits Committee and Faculty Senate at-large to present during the March meeting.

In January, the project put up a banner announcing Workday in the current self-service portal known as ESSIC. This has driven a significant amount of traffic to the project website, as over 19,000 unique employees viewed the message in January alone.

The project is planning a number of campus-wide roadshows that will be opportunities for employees – of all types – to come to in-person or virtual meetings where they learn more about Workday and see the system for themselves.



Update: December 2016

HR organizational design/service delivery coming together

Through an expression of interest and thorough selection review process, the HR organizational staffing process has completed its final phase of internal staffing. To date, the process has included an initial announcement of supervisory and high-level, non-management positions.

On Dec. 16, the Expression of Interest Selection Committee announced the accepted offers from the final phase (Phase 4) of the expression of interest process, filling nearly 40 additional positions.

As a result of this process, Human Resources at Penn State is now more unified, strategic, and customer service-focused than ever before.

HR Shared Services Center rapidly taking shape

Working with the Office of Physical Plant and the facility sub-team, a schematic design including work group locations, hard wall construction, and general building flow on the first and second floors of the 331 Building in Innovation Park has been approved by Human Resources Vice President Susan Basso. The facility team now turns its attention to furniture and workspace design.

The customer service sub-team is currently engaging other Penn State units who use an automated call distribution, or ACD system in order to determine the optimal telephony for future needs in the HR Shared Services Center.

The technology sub-team is investigating potential virtual desktop configurations and creating technology options and budgets for collaboration and workstations.

Benchmarking visits with similar facilities continue to help influence the layout and design of the 331 Building. Recent visits included trips to North Carolina State University, TIAA, and Steelcase.

To keep the department informed, the sub-team leads streamed a live presentation and Q&A session with the University’s HR community on Nov. 14, and a website has been created to help inform and update staff who will be working in the center.

Policy harmonization continues

Policy changes identified through the Workday implementation continue to be drafted, and those changes will be incorporated into policy harmonization work where applicable.

The new academic policy category is continuing to be socialized in more detail. Susan Basso and

HR Strategic Partner Jerry Henry will meet with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee in January to discuss the transition of some policies within the academic purview.

The HR policies that are being consolidated without significant changes are currently being drafted. Following this, drafting of policies with proposed major changes will begin. Those policies include:

o Medical Leave Policy

o Paid Time Away from Work Policy

o Unpaid Time Away from Work Policy

o A new Volunteer Policy

Eighteen substantive changes requiring much socialization will be proposed. If approved, a very detailed socialization plan will be developed.

Process redesign closing in on deadline

End-to-end process flows have been drafted and reviewed with a variety of stakeholders to ensure appropriate identification and documentation of how processes outside of Workday will take place. Reviews with the HR Strategic Partners are in progress to determine what unit-specific concerns exist. Significant changes and concerns are being coordinated with the Business Decision Body, as appropriate. The final approval of processes is targeted for the end of year so that the process owners can begin operationalizing into the HR Shared Services Center in 2017.