News and Updates

Updated April 1, 2017


HR Business Process Transformation (HRBPT) updates

Organizational Design/Service Delivery:

  • Transitions of work within HR have commenced. A team-based approach to role transitions will occur between now and June. These transitions will be incremental, in order to minimize disruption and ensure effective role-based training.

Shared Services Workstream:

  • Sara Oliver-Carter was hired in March as the Senior Director of Talent, Diversity, and Inclusion. In this new position, Sara will play a critical role in leading the development, implementation, and administration of University-wide, HR-based talent acquisition, talent management, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • A pilot group of 15 HR staff are currently working in the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment, reporting their experience to better prepare the HR community for a full VDI roll-out on May 1.
  • As a follow-up to January’s unveiling of new guiding principles for Penn State HR, Susan Basso and the HR senior directors hosted a live video-conference for the HR Community, sharing what the guiding principles mean to them and how HR staff can implement the principles into their own work.
  • HR and Payroll specific training has been socialized with HR and Payroll leaders and introduced to the respective staff populations. Training will be held from mid-April through late May and ranges from 12 to 53 total hours of training, depending on an individual’s role.

331 Building, Innovation Park:

  • Permits are currently out for review to Centre Region Code for the second floor construction.
  • Stemming from previous surveys that indicated a high importance on computer monitors, HR staff moving to the new building recently completed an individual monitor selection process.
  • Targeted move-in date for the first floor is June 26.
  • Preliminary targeted move-in date for the second floor in late October.
  • In order to make the move easier on staff, an HR-wide office cleaning initiative took place March 20-24. More than 6,000 pounds of unnecessary paper files and a large amount of outdated office supplies were disposed of.


  • The new appointments policy and HR88 have been socialized with the appropriate subject matter experts and meetings held with impacted staff (largely comprised of University Health Services). Drafts for final approval are currently underway.
  • On March 22, Susan Basso presented to the Faculty Senate regarding the new policy category for current HR policy where the stewardship belongs to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs office. Work is underway with Blannie Bowen to take the next steps.


  • The HRBPT Process team has completed the third phase of their work, which included the development and socialization of processes outside of Workday.
  • The HR Shared Services team continues to operationalize the various aspects of technologies and processes into their customer service plans.


WorkLion Updates

WorkLion HR Portal

  • The initial development phase of the HR Portal (including knowledge base and inquiry management components) is due on March 31, as well as the initial upload of knowledge base content.
  • The HR Portal was recently shown in conjunction with Workday to USAC and the WorkLion Ambassadors, with numerous upcoming presentations scheduled. Feedback from these presentations informs and refines the development of the HR Portal.
  • Combined user testing and training efforts with Workday have been developed and will be implemented throughout the spring semester leading up to go-live.
  • Comprehensive HR-specific training for the HR Portal will be conducted to ensure the technology is fully utilized and supported on day one of go-live.
  • Back office teams are now set and work to determine escalation paths, queues, and routing has begun.

Workday - Human Capital Management and Payroll System

  • Workday, the software replacing Penn State’s existing human resources and payroll systems, is scheduled to go-live in June – now less than 3 months away.
  • The scope of the project includes Human Resources, 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.


  • A key area of focus by the project over the past months has been testing. Multiple cycles of testing have been completed, and the team will continue testing activities till deployment begins.
  • The project has successfully completed the second round of Payroll Reconciliation Testing (PRT), a process by which we convert data from the legacy systems, run payroll in Workday for the same time period and employee population, and compare the results against the results in our legacy payroll system. There are incremental targets set for matching payroll in each PRT cycle and the target have been met in the 2 cycles completed. There are two more payroll reconciliation cycles that will take place prior to the launch of Workday.
  • The implementation team has also just concluded a phase of testing known as End-to-End Testing. This phase tested business processes from start to finish, including integrations that are built between internal and vendor systems. There are a few outstanding items, such as remaining defects, integrations and critical changes that will be tested in April during a round of “targeted testing”.
  • In April, we will also begin a very exciting phase of the project known as User Engagement Testing (UET). We will invite end users from across the Commonwealth to test real-life transactions in the system.

Training, Communications & Faculty Engagement

  • Workday training will start being delivered in May. The project training team is currently wrapping up the development of courses that were outlined for the training curriculums. The courses are a mix of instructor-led, both in person and on the web, as well as web-based, self-paced training.
  • The project presented to the Faculty Senate Benefits Committee, the Commonwealth Caucus, and the Faculty Senate at-large during the month of March. They have also been in front of the University Staff Advisory Council and the Graduate & Professional Student Association discussing Workday’s features and upcoming training opportunities.
  • On April 28th, the project will be hosting a User Engagement Testing session for the WorkLion Faculty Advisory Committee, a group of individuals who have been advising the project throughout the implementation, to practice real-life transactions that faculty and faculty “managers” would conduct in Workday.
  • The WorkLion Ambassadors, made up of HR Strategic Partners and University Financial Officers, continue to deliver key messages to faculty and other employees. Last month focused on timekeeping in the system. Faculty will not need to log hours worked unless they are in ARL or the Libraries, which treat time a bit differently, as you know. If a faculty person is a “manager,” they will be asked to approve time worked submissions or time off requests from employees who are required to submit time records, or they can “delegate” that to someone else in their unit.