Yale revamps HR division

Yale Chief Human Resources Officer Rob Schwartz has begun an extensive reorganization of his department to meet the University’s needs more efficiently and provide better opportunities for worker advancement.

As part of this effort, the University will create a new staffing and career development unit that will focus on getting the best employees to work at the University and then help them to advance within Yale, Schwartz said. Another major element, he said, is the placement of “HR generalists” in each department who will act as first responders to HR related questions.

“We believe it will provide a significantly higher level of customer service to the clients,” Schwartz said, referring to Yale staff members.

It is “absolutely foundational” to Yale’s drive to improve efficiency that the University have an exemplary administration system, Vice President for Finance and Administration John Pepper said. Recruiting talented employees and giving them the opportunity to advance will help reduce costs and improve service in travel, procurement, facility maintenance, renovations and other areas, Pepper said.

The new director of the staffing and career development unit will focus on reducing the number of days it takes to fill open positions, increasing diversity, and improving service to clients, interim Director of Staffing and Career Development Cathy Vellucci said. According to an copy of an article that will appear in Yale’s next HR newsletter, the staffing and career development unit will also help find new positions for laid-off workers.

The unit will help people know what their options are for advancement and show them how to achieve their goals by, for example, telling them if they need additional training, Vellucci said.

“The issue up until this reorganization has been that people who have done staffing have had a myriad of other issues on their plates … so recruiting has really suffered because of that,” she said.

Velluci said Schwartz told her the new staffing and career services director will likely be named within a week.

Rather than trying to figure out whom to contact in HR, Yale employees will be able to contact an HR representative assigned to their department, Schwartz said. These generalists will act as the first level for union relations for each department, he said. Each will be a person who knows the area to which he or she is assigned and will be able to bring in outside resources, Pepper said.

Local 34 President Laura Smith, head of the union local that represents Yale’s clerical and technical workers, said the moves are a positive change and are “in the spirit of best practices.” They encourage department supervisors and managers to deal more directly with problems before they become bigger, she said.

“It demonstrates on the part of the administration that there is a commitment to looking at things in a different way,” Smith said.

According to the newsletter article — which the department gave to the News in advance — there will also be other organizational changes. Donna Cable, a former assistant director for placement and staff relations, will manage labor relations staff and Chuck Paul, formerly the director of HR information systems, will lead a technology and data support team and work on self-service initiatives for the department.

Human resources is also working on ways for staff members to communicate with each other more easily, the article said.

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