Organizational Design

Among the most recognizable and impactful changes for the University community will be the HR organizational design, which will realign personnel and redefine responsibilities to transform Human Resources at Penn State into a more strategic organization.

In its future state, HR will be comprised of three distinct areas: HR strategic partners and HR consultants, HR Shared Services, and Centers of Expertise.

HR strategic partners and HR consultants

Replacing HR reps will be HR strategic partners and HR consultants, positions that will be directly aligned with each of the colleges, units and campuses. 

  • HR strategic partners will primarily serve as advisors to senior leadership, helping to implement the strategic priorities of their respective colleges, units and campuses.
  • The HR consultants will advise managers on issues such as performance management, salary planning and staffing, as well as supporting the HR strategic partner with data analysis. HR consultants will also coordinate work with the units in the Centers of Expertise that will be responsible for talent acquisition, talent management, labor and employee relations, as well as compensation and benefits.

Redefined from the dual-direct reporting relationship, the budget for these positions will be shifted to Human Resources, ensuring full-accountability to the vice president, as well as increasing consistency and reducing risk for the University, a model similar to the financial officer and development models currently used at Penn State. 

The concept of HR strategic partners and HR consultants was successfully piloted in the Colleges of Education, and Arts and Architecture in 2014. An important finding of the pilot was that the relationship with the senior leaders of those colleges remained unchanged although the positions and budget moved to HR. 

HR Shared Services

There are three key areas within HR Shared Services:

  1. The Professional Services area will provide benefits, compensation, employee development, talent acquisition and employee and labor relations expertise, primarily as resources to management and the HR strategic partners and consultants.
  2. The Operational Excellence area will provide analytics and project management expertise to ensure that HR is most effectively implementing and monitoring the HR services being provided.
  3. The HR Operations area will provide customer service, benefits expertise, data input and onboarding as well as coordination of part-time staff and academic staffing. 

Centers of Expertise

The Centers of Expertise (COE), tasked with designing core strategy, policy, programs and plans, will be comprised of four HR specialty areas:

  1. Labor and Employee Relations will oversee policy management, academic and staff employee relations and labor relations
  2. Talent, Diversity & Inclusion will be responsible for talent acquisition; diversity initiatives; workforce planning; and organizational effectiveness employee development, and performance management programs
  3. Compensation and Benefits will oversee executive, faculty, staff and technical service compensation; retirement and health and welfare benefits; and childcare
  4. HRIT Strategy will create information technology strategy design, development and implementation

The functional experts in the Centers of Expertise will focus on implementation of HR best practices, vendor management, contract negotiations, and strategic HR initiatives.