The Ufirst Project

Take Advantage of Workday’s Built-in Dashboards!

photo of workday data dashboard


Workday Dashboards

Data is the world’s new currency. With these dashboards, University leaders get real-time, easily accessible, accurate data - the information they need to review, benchmark, and plan.


Check out a few dashboards:

  • Talent and performance: Identify at-risk teams and top performers with leadership potential
  • Recruiting: Identify pipeline candidates, successful recruiting sources, and open positions
  • Pay equity: View how people are paid across your organization and take appropriate steps toward gender parity or other goals


These dashboards are built right into Workday and you can create many more on your own.

How Will I Access Historical Data in the Future?

A review of data will be available in Workday

Where will historical data be stored?

Historical HR data from Academic, Medical Center, and UPG will be available in the Medical Center Data Warehouse. We are working to migrate the historical data based on sunsetting timeframes for each system. 


How will I run reports that I run today?

End users requiring access to historical HR data (for data prior to July 1, 2018) or legacy HR reports will need to submit a request to the new HR IMPACT team. Upon review of the request, the IMPACT team will partner with the Medical Center Data warehouse team to develop and deliver the report. 


What data will be available in Workday?  

Workday will have limited historical data at Go-Live consisting of the following:

  • Payroll Balances: 6 months
  • Workday Hours: 18 months
  • Terminated Employees: 18 months
  • Retirees: 2 years
  • Compensation History: 2 years
  • Performance Ratings: 2 years
  • Learning History: Required courses with completion status and 7 years certifications
  • Benefits Elections: 6 months
  • Do not Hire Applicants: ALL


What’s next?

Stay tuned for more information on how to submit data requests. 

A Uniform and Intuitive User Interface

graphic showing the Workday platform on a computer
  • Workday provides a consistent experience across all devices and applications
  • The user interface makes navigation straightforward and allows important information stand out clearly.
  • You’ll see the latest announcements and inbox items that need attention at a glance.
  • Having all of the Workday applications on your home screen helps you get what you need quickly and easily.
  • The new card interface allows you to group items on your home page (such as announcements and inbox items - so that they are at your fingertips.


Ufirst Technology and Process Preview and Feedback Academic Session

A full room of attendees at the Academic Session at Newcomb Hall on February 22

A full room of attendees at the Academic Session on February 22

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Ufirst Technology and Process Preview and Feedback Academic Session on Thursday, February 22 at Newcomb Hall. The event was a great success due to your contribution and feedback!

Event details

The Academic Division Session included an overview of Workday, featuring Workday basics, life events, managing my team, dashboards and reporting, and learning management. There were also three breakout sessions, each with a focus on the recruiting and onboarding processes for staff, faculty and professional research staff, and students.

Pat Hogan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, kicked off the event, saying, “I’m glad to be here with all of you today. Great to look out and see a room full of people who are excited about where we are with Ufirst and who are eager to see what’s coming!”

Sean Jackson, Ufirst Executive Director, gave out Amazon Fire tablets to six lucky winners and participants mingled with the UVA HR leadership team over coffee.

What we heard from participants

  • “Today has been really enlightening for me. Now I know what everyone’s been talking about!”
  • “I didn’t expect to see so many people here. It’s standing room only!”
  • “It’s great to see so many schools and units here. It seems like everyone understands how important this is.”
  • “Thanks for doing this. I learned a lot!”

Survey ratings

  • 4.7 out of 5: The ability to see real time costs when I enroll in benefits is useful
  • 4.5 out of 5: Workday Learning looks easy to navigate
  • 4.5 out of 5: Having access to real time data is useful


The Ufirst project has been a tremendous undertaking that has involved countless employees across the University, bringing together teams from the Academic Division, the Medical Center, and UPG.

Together, we reimagined HR at UVA to meet the changing needs of the University and all of its employees. We have developed a new organizational structure and examined the way we complete every task associated with Human Resources so that we could make improvements.

The work done through the Ufirst project is important not only because of the ways it will improve HR services across the University but also because it will help us work together closely across divisions on other important efforts in the future. We are at our best as an institution when we are working together.

Tom Katsouleas, Executive Vice President and Provost, mingles with Corinne Clasbey and Jody Knowles

Tom Katsouleas, Executive Vice President and Provost, mingles with Corinne Clasbey and Jody Knowles.

What’s next?

The Health System session will be on Monday, March 12, from 1 -5pm, at Pinn Hall Conference Center. This event will be live-streamed and recorded. To register for the in person event or to view the livestream, please visit the Ufirst website.


Thank you!

Between the Academic Division and Health System sessions, we have almost 1,000 colleagues who are excited about having a chance to check out Workday. Thank you for your interest and participation, UVA community!

From the Desk of Sean Jackson: Trust but Verify

Sean Jackson, Ufirst Executive Director

Sean updating the Ufirst Project kanban board

As I mentioned in my post last month, trust is a vital component of our collective ability to overcome obstacles. Trust is also at the heart of continuous improvement.

A commitment to continuous improvement helps to nurture trust by instilling confidence that a person or process is behaving in a predictable and appropriate manner. It is a commitment among all participants to be focused, transparent, and observant regarding what needs to be done and how we plan to do it. Inevitably, gaps emerge between what we expect and what we receive, either in terms of the result or in terms of the experience. We improve by resolving the gaps between expectations and results.

How do we do this?

We wonder why.

When we wonder why we catalyze our observations with our natural curiosity. To wonder why means that we trust enough to invite others to participate with us in challenging our collective assumptions to their very roots. We have to wonder, however, and not just ask why. Think about the difference between saying, “Why did they do that?” versus “I wonder why they did that?” While the difference may seem subtle, it is extremely important.

When we ask only “why?” we cease to wonder. When we cease wonder, fear steps in and begins to erode trust.

When we cease to wonder, we abandon truth for judgment.

When we are committed to continuous improvement, whenever results fail to match expectations, we wonder why, and experiment until we are able to produce the desired results in a manner that delights the participants in the process.

Trust, but verify. If there is a gap, wonder why. Experiment and change until all are delighted.

That is how we pursue perfection.

Meet Your Workday Partners!

Workday Partner Kickoff 2.14.18

Workday Partner Kickoff meeting on February 14, 2018

Introducing Workday Partners
On Wednesday, February 14, over 100 Workday Partners stepped away from their Valentines and assembled together to participate in a kickoff meeting. Meeting attendees commented that they felt like they left with a better understanding about Workday. Workday Partners were impressed by its power and ease of use and were excited to learn more. Workday love was in the air!


What is a Workday Partner?
Workday Partners are school and business unit representatives from across the University who have volunteered to serve as local resources who can help if you have questions about Workday. Your Workday Partner will keep you up-to-date on the Workday implementation, help you navigate upcoming changes, and answer your questions about the new technology. In order to best serve you, Workday Partners will attend multiple training sessions, learn new processes, test training materials, and provide feedback.


Find your Workday Partner
Have a question? Find the Workday Partner assigned to your school, unit, or department.

Ufirst and UVA HR team up for a Finance Leadership Retreat

opening slide that says Finance Leadership Retreat

Melody Bianchetto, Vice President of Finance, hosted a leadership retreat and invited Ufirst project team members and UVA HR professionals to share ideas and experiences on “Leading Through Change.”



  • Gary Helmuth, HR Business Partner for Finance, developed content that would meet the team’s need for more information on Change, Performance Management, and Goal Setting.
  • James Gorman, newly appointed Senior Director of Finance, presented his experiences with large transformation efforts.
  • Carrie Baker, future UVA HR Performance Management team member, talked about Goal Setting.
  • Rose Markey, future UVA Learning and Development team member, facilitated a discussion about surviving change.


What we heard from presenters:

“This was a great opportunity to showcase how HR Business Partners will collaborate with network of HR professionals to support schools/units across UVA.” 


What we heard from attendees:

“This was more than I had hoped for -- I thought it would be a little theoretical and hard to connect to, but it was way more practical and realistic and helpful than I had imagined it might be. Good job.”


Please remember that the Ufirst project team and UVA HR are here to support you during this time of unprecedented change.



A Secure Future

photo of data storage unit with safe fence

Image Source: EY Branding Zone

Your Data Security

  • Workday maintains a formal and comprehensive security program designed to ensure the security and integrity of data, protect against security threats or data breaches, and prevent unauthorized access to the data- Workday continuously updates safeguarding mechanisms to maintain the highest security.
  • Workday is not allowed to move or store UVA data anywhere outside the United States.
  • Faculty, Staff, and Team Members will access Workday with dual authentication using DUO.

From the Desk of Sean Jackson: Welcome to the Blog!

Sean Jackson, Ufirst Executive Director

Sean updating the Ufirst Project kanban board

Welcome to the blog! During the next few months we will be exploring topics regarding Workday and our HR Transformation. I hope to share with you things that we have learned during the last several months that will be helpful in navigating successfully the upcoming changes. As we complete the launch of our new UVA HR and Payroll organizations in parallel with the deployment of the Workday system, we will be bringing to culmination nearly three years of work that has touched every area of the University.

Perhaps the most important lesson that we have learned through this time is that we are more alike than we are different. While there is comfort and solace in the recognition of our similarities, the real treasure is to be found through the respectful exploration of those areas where we differ. This type of exploration can be difficult to establish and maintain, however, especially when there are risks, constraints and uncertainty in play. Trust is critical to overcoming these obstacles and this is why we have worked hard to establish and build trust during our journey with you. Have we always been successful? Not always. Trust can be hard to come by in our culture here at UVA. Please know that we remain committed to building trust because it is so vital to our collective success—both in terms of the Ufirst program but also, and more importantly, beyond it.

Quote from Tony Bennett, UVA Men's Head Basketball Coach: Our word in the locker room before the game was just trust.


I would suggest that any meaningful journey of change proceeds by means of reasoned trust, not blind faith. In fact, I have been reminded by several colleagues on different occasions of the old Russian proverb, “Trust but verify.” Next month, we will consider how a commitment to continuous improvement will enable us to bring life to this proverb.

Let's Remember "Why"

Dr. Richard Shannon addresses Ufirst team leads at a planning retreat

Ufirst Project Team Lead Retreat, August 2015

The Ufirst HR Transformation Project began with a hypothesis in the summer of 2015 – we could improve the delivery of administrative services across the University.

What began as the Hackett benchmarking study across multiple functions soon proved that we needed to explore this hypothesis. While there were many options, UVA intentionally chose to focus on Human Resources (HR).  The rationale came down to this:

  • The faculty, staff, and team member experience was essential to the UVA mission
  • The current HR experience left much to be desired


photo of a Ufirst event at Bavaro Hall to host the UVA Community and explain the project

Ufirst Community Kickoff January 2016

We understood that data alone wouldn’t mean anything if we did not genuinely engage the University community in “co-building” a shared vision for UVA HR. From this understanding came a small project known as the HR Strategic Design Initiative, which evolved over the course of the next 18 months into the large-scale Ufirst Project. The need for change was clear:

  • Getting basic HR work done was harder than it should be
  • There were sometimes more than 15 ways to do the same HR task and all were complicated
  • Many HR teams struggled to keep pace with the volume of work in their schools and units
  • The HR technology was painful to maintain and the user experience was worse
  • The quality of HR data was very poor and answering basic HR questions took weeks
  • There was growing distrust between “central HR” and the schools and units
  • There was minimal sharing of good HR practices across Grounds
  • Finger pointing and unhelpful behaviors heightened the pain/frustration felt around HR services
  • The cost of HR was growing rapidly while the perceived value of HR was falling faster

As the reasons “why” were compelling, the attention of the University then shifted to answering the question of “what” – what would great HR look like?  The answer to that question, we needed to work across Grounds in uncommon ways:

  • The Academic Division, Medical Center, and University Physicians Group worked across entities and degrees of codified autonomy on a shared vision for HR
  • The voice of Deans, Administrative Associate Deans, faculty members, and Health System executives were as important to the design as the perspective of HR 
  • Equal respect was paid to both how you get to the answer (inclusive approach essential in the Academic Division) and the quality of the answer (outcome focus in the Health System)
  • HR leaders from central units (UHR, MC HR, and UPG HR) worked hand-in-hand with HR leaders embedded in the schools and units


Ufirst Project Subject Matter Resource Session

Subject Matter Resource Session, December 2016

After multiple design sessions and countless hours of spirited debate (yes, even CavMan was in on the action), design principles and agreement on the service delivery components became the building blocks for the future:

  • A single HR leadership team that serves the Academic and Health System divisions
  • An HR solution center that is the transactional engine and quality & innovation hub
  • A set of centers of expertise to provide specialized HR services to the University
  • The introduction of HR service partners who will solve the most complex people issues across Grounds
  • The investment in contemporary, cloud-based HR technology to enhance the delivery of HR services

The Ufirst team thanks all faculty, staff, and team members at the University for their hard work and dedication over the past 3 years. While no one thought it would be easy, the belief that it would be worth it kept everyone going. It is remarkable to think that the original vision for great HR at UVA will be a reality in a few short months!


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