Maureen Parks, Associate Vice President and Executive Director for University Human Resources at University of Illinois system, delivered a speech to the MS TM students.
We are often engrossed in innovations, technology, and sometimes marketing but our course doesn’t touch upon much HR functions. But as she explained how the human resource department is organized across the university, we are all intrigued by the complexity and the importance of this function.
Notably, the fact that the university employed a centralized system across all three University of Illinois campuses at Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield was very interesting. All functions such as recruiting, hiring, on-boarding, incentives, counselling etc are centralized. Our university follows a system where the rest of the departments in the university act as clients to the HR Department and the HR Department acts as a consulting division. In most cases, the decision is ultimately left to the department concerned and the HR department simply advices best practices and helps the department concerned through the implementation.
It was also interesting to hear how the HR department at the University of Illinois has improved process efficiency. We understood how important it is for Process Management, Finance, and HR departments to work in tandem in order to bring out optimal solutions to everyday problems of running organizations. The above process efficiency became so popular that University of Illinois currently has made several youtube videos and also holds HR workshops. Many universities, including the big 10, have drawn inspiration and are redesigning their own HR departments. One of the key takeaways from the HR department here is that they quantified every process. This quantification in turn helps to gather data and is later analyzed and used to redesign processes which are inefficient. They also automate functions and made information available online and more easily accessible to employees.
As for the student questions, on the lighter note, my fellow MSTMer Bill Zhang couldn’t help but get the brilliant idea of how this HR department can take over functions of other universities and make more money. Maureen Parks gracefully answered that question by saying that other universities may not want U of I employees working for them but they assist other universities in making their processes efficient.
The clip of the talk can be viewed here: http://www.ms-techmgmt.illinois.edu/videos/HR department. m4v