HR wins national award for innovation

Friday, June 8, 2018

In 2013, the idea of transforming human resources at Penn State seemed daunting and time-consuming. Fast-forward to 2018 and through dedication, innovation and the University’s support, the Penn State Human Resources team has not only completed its multi-faceted transformation, but are garnering both regional and national recognition for their efforts.

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) recently announced Penn State’s HR team as one of two recipients of the 2018 HR Innovation Award. This award, distributed annually, recognizes innovative thinking in higher education HR.

In order for Penn State’s HR team to successfully complete its multi-year transformation, it took an innovative approach to updating thirty-year-old technologies; reviewing, and when necessary, updating, more than 100 University policies; and streamlining HR processes for the entire University. Additionally, the team moved into a new office, The 331 Building in Innovation Park, which houses a dedicated Welcome Center for Penn State employees, retirees, graduate assistants and prospective employees, as well as an Onboarding Center for new hires.

“For the past four years, the HR team has worked tirelessly on a holistic plan to establish an HR organization that is positioned to successfully support the strategic goals of the University,” said David Gray, senior vice president for finance and business and treasurer.

One of the most recognizable components of the HR transformation is the new HR and payroll technology, WorkLion. Since launching in December, WorkLion has been accessed nearly one million times, providing employees on-demand service to information and resources.

Additionally, since December 2017, HR has responded to nearly 24,000 inquiries in WorkLion and on average, fields approximately 4,300 phone calls per month.

“Our team has worked extremely hard to improve HR initiatives and processes across the University,” said Mary Beahm, interim vice president for human resources. “Earning this national award is a testament to our long journey, however; we don’t plan on stopping now. Our team is dedicated to continuous improvement in all areas of HR.”

Members of the Penn State HR team will accept the award in October during the CUPA-HR national conference, held in Indianapolis. In addition to the national award for innovation, the Penn State HR team also recently won the CUPA-HR regional award for HR excellence.