New chief human resources officer switches up the department

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Courtesy of Oakland University

Grace Turner, Managing Editor

Changes to Oakland University’s human resources (HR) department have been made since the new chief human resources officer, Libby Ciliberti, started work on July 11.

Ciliberti and Chief Operating Officer Scott Kunselman are working to make the department a one-stop shop for “clients,” or departments within the university. Kunselman said he hopes the changes will make the HR department run more smoothly and save the university money in the long run.

Since Ciliberti’s hire, the department has been consolidated. Previously, HR was divided into two sections — one for faculty and one for staff.

In some aspects, the consolidation was as simple as moving all personnel records (I-9 forms, background checks, benefits documents, etc.) to one location.

Other aspects included creating a job-posting system that was the same for both faculty and staff.

The department is also working to create a system that puts one HR employee in charge of each department, with many HR employees overseeing multiple departments. That way, the department heads can always contact the same person for all HR needs.

This will require some cross-training, Ciliberti said, as each HR employee will have to become an expert in many aspects of HR and know where to direct department heads based on their needs.

The department is also working to create a better performance management system, according to Ciliberti.

The human resources page for the University of California, Berkeley, defines performance management as “an ongoing process of communication between a supervisor and an employee that occurs throughout the year, in support of accomplishing the strategic objectives of the organization. The communication process includes clarifying expectations, setting objectives, identifying goals, providing feedback, and reviewing results.”

This communication will include an appraisal program, annual reviews and evaluation processes, training and career development programs. The processes will be matched to the fiscal year’s timing, Ciliberti said.

She also said she hopes the performance management system will allow for more employee recognition.

Moving forward, the department will focus more on employee satisfaction, as well. The first satisfaction survey was completed, Kunselman said.

Changes were also made before Ciliberti’s hire. Kunselman had an expert analyze OU’s compensation equity and discovered that OU’s was low — many employees were being paid below market levels. This caused the university to lose employees to higher-paying jobs at other companies.

Half of OU’s information technology department found work at other institutions in 2015, Kunselman said.

The compensation equity was raised to market level and is now constantly monitored by experts at OU to stay consistent with the market. The increase in pay costs the university more, but saves money that would have to be spent on hiring and training new employees, Kunselman said.

Decreasing the time it takes to fill administrative positions will also save money, Kunselman said. Any time there is an interim, he or she is often paid more than the person who will be hired because they are filling a double role.

HR doesn’t plan on changing the headcount in the department, Ciliberti said.

Ciliberti’s position was approved at the Feb. 22 Board of Trustees meeting and was filled after a national search, according to a press release sent out by Kunselman on June 7.