Theresa Richmond (HR Center Director) and I recently gave a presentation on the lessons learned in the creation of Berkeley’s HR Center at the CUPA-HR’s (College and University Professional Association for Human Resources) Western Region Conference in Austin, Texas.
During our session we reviewed the steps we took (from design and development to implementation) to launch our Human Resources Center last year, which has a client base of about 2,500 employees. Other universities were interested in learning from our experience as many are facing the same need to improve the efficiency of HR service delivery.
In the 9 months since the HR Center opened, we have changed some of our processes and policies to reduce workload and improve customer service. We have implemented methods of collecting client satisfaction metrics included in our service level agreements. We are testing automated workflow tools that provide us information on the effectiveness and efficiency of specific business processes handled by the HRC. From our clients we are tracking levels of satisfaction with the services we provide, whether they feel supported by HRC staff, and in the case of new hires, whether they are satisfied with their onboarding experience.
Creating a shared services center has changed both culture and business processes in what was a decentralized service delivery environment in three major units of the university. Roles and responsibilities have changed at the department and central office levels.
The HR Center began as a pilot to test the concept of a shared services center delivery model. From it we are reaping tremendously-rich information that is helping us understand the resources needed, the automation required, and the possibilities for further transformation. We began with the goal of improving service and efficiency, and reducing cost and risk. In just 9 months we can already see progress on all fronts. Even with the best possible planning, launching such a project involves missteps along the way, stumbles along with the successes. We continue to measure our success in part by the speed with which we learn, recover, and recalibrate.
This is indeed an exciting time to be in Human Resources at UC Berkeley!!