The Ufirst Project

HR Community Focus Group: What We Learned from You!

Thank you to our HR Community members who participated in one of the 10 focus groups in December! Over 140 people provided valuable insight that will inform our community building strategy.


What we need

To facilitate trust and build a service oriented HR community we need to foster:

1. Communication

•Identifying easy ways to facilitate getting the right information, to the right people, at the right time with appropriate context.

2. Collaboration and Relatedness

•Getting to know each other – putting faces with names and learning more about each other as people.

•Understanding who in our community does what and where our strengths lie.

•Having comfort and the time to seek and to give help.

•Defining, understanding, and embodying our shared goals as a community.

•Making the building of relationships and collaborating a priority.

3. Professional Enrichment - Outstanding Team Member Experience

•Developing clarity around what is expected of us.

•Having opportunities to learn and to improve, both in terms of easily finding what is available to meet learning needs and making learning a priority.

4. Shared principles and values

•Numerous were discussed, but the most important are accountability, transparency, clarity and respect, all of which will resulting in building an HR community based on trust.

•Sharing a common service-oriented focus and purpose - What is HR’s role in supporting the success of our customers and what does HR need from our customers to partner successfully?  Finding our why to support focus, importance and engagement.


What are our challenges

1. Size and complexity

•Multiple technologies, processes, procedures, and policies that are complex and don’t facilitate good work.

•We are a large group spread out over multiple locations.

2. Communication, feedback and engagement

•Limited avenues to provide feedback and ideas for improvement.  When these are offered, the perception is that there is often a lack of response.

•We are not good at providing or accepting constructive feedback with an eye toward improvement.

•Lack of transparency around the sharing of information and more specifically the reason why decisions are made.

•Inconsistent and insufficient communication of information needed to be successful in our jobs.

•Lack of appreciation for contributions and celebration of successes.

•Healthy dose of skepticism around improvement based on experiences and previous change project history.

3. Working together

•Rightsizing workload and getting manager support, as it can be difficult at times to get away from our desks to focus on learning and collaboration to build trust and foster community.

•Lack of clarity around job expectations.

•Lack of consistent accountability in multiple directions – among HR practitioners, between managers and employees, between customers and HR practitioners, etc.

•Working in silos and not always focusing on the greater good for the University.

•Lack of understanding of the HR role and lack of assumption of good intent.


What we have

•There is much optimism in support of change.

•There is a desire to focus on service excellence and purpose.

•There are already collaborative ventures across all three partners – Temp Services, Benefits, and Compliance and Immigration among them.

•There are work groups all around grounds who already communicate and collaborate well.


Next Steps

•Drafting and finalizing the community building plan based on these great ideas and input and integrating it into the change management process to support successful implementation.