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From the Desk: IU’s vice president for human resources shares an update on HR2020

Nov 7, 2018

In 2016, Human Resources introduced HR2020, our strategic plan for changing how we do business to better serve Indiana University. We’ve accomplished a lot since then, and I’m pleased to share some of the recent progress on several of our priorities, including:

  • Improving HR customer service.
  • Our compensation structure redesign.
  • Employee engagement activities.
  • Recruitment and hiring enhancements for staff employees.


A little more than a year ago, we launched askHR – the one-stop shop for IU employees with questions about jobs at IU, health care and retirement benefits, staff policies, and other employment-related topics.

Our customer care team connects faculty and staff across all campuses with timely and consistent answers to HR-related questions. The majority of their work involves responding to employee questions about benefits, with well over 1,000 benefits-related support cases each month. During the first year of askHR, our customer care team logged more than 51,000 customer interactions.

The Job Framework Redesign Project

The Job Framework Redesign project is a thorough review and redesign of IU’s classification structure for appointed staff positions. With feedback from across the university, we’re working to build a new job framework that accurately reflects our workforce and allows staff employees to chart their career and explore opportunities for development and growth.

Over the past six months, our compensation team hosted listening sessions across all IU campuses to share information about the project and hear questions directly from staff. The most recent sessions provided details about the elements of the new job framework and examples of how staff employees could use it to plan their next career move. As the project progresses, we will be educating staff about the new job functions, job families and career levels, and how they will help bring consistency to jobs at IU.

We know that not everyone can attend an in-person session, so we created the Job Framework Redesign Project website, where you can stay up to date on the project, view recordings of listening sessions, provide feedback and more. The site will evolve as the project continues, so I encourage you to visit often.

Staff engagement: MyVoice@IU

Last fall, we asked all staff employees to take the first universitywide engagement survey, MyVoice@IU. This quick, anonymous survey – administered by Gallup – used 22 questions to measure how staff employees feel about their work environment, the amount of pride they have in IU and their overall level of engagement at work.

The results from the survey are helping the university better understand the needs of employees, what IU is doing well and where there are opportunities to improve. More importantly, the results have inspired open discussion at the department and unit level, leading staff employees to create 335 action plans to enhance the work experience at IU.

The next MyVoice@IU staff engagement survey is scheduled for fall 2019. It will allow us to assess our work so far and continue to build on our efforts to positively impact employee engagement across the university.

Recruitment and hiring

Much of the work being done to enhance IU’s ability to attract, hire and retain top staff employees involves improving our processes behind the scenes. Using tools and direct input from HR staff and departments across IU, we’ve restructured the job posting and hiring process to include a budget and internal equity review earlier in the process to ensure a quick and streamlined turnaround for departments that want to hire a new employee.

We are also deploying new technologies and tactics to help refine our recruiting processes, including:

  • Introducing an enhanced online background check process to provide extra protection for a candidate’s sensitive data.
  • Welcoming new employees with an informative and consistent new employee orientation experience at Bloomington and IUPUI.

Faster, leaner processes are enhancing the services we provide to departments and to job candidates, placing IU in a stronger position to hire and retain top talent.

As trusted, valuable partners to the university, we want to ensure that HR helps employees, departments and campuses accomplish their objectives while creating an environment where employees feel engaged by their work and valued by the university. But, there is still much more to be done. We will continue to provide updates and welcome feedback on our work as we continue our HR2020 journey. Be sure to check back for updates and initiatives on our HR2020 website throughout the year.

John Whelan is vice president for human resources at Indiana University.

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