Launched in spring 2016, the Great Place: HR Redesign project was charged with modernizing and aligning HR policies and programs to support the university’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities. The ultimate goal is to make VCU a place of opportunity, where faculty and staff can do meaningful work, where their success is supported and their careers can thrive.
Under the Commonwealth of Virginia 2005 Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has the authority to design its own HR plan. We know that our employees value their benefits, so throughout the project we considered how to keep what employees value about working at VCU and update the rest. Our peer universities in Virginia (Virginia Tech, the College of William & Mary, and the University of Virginia) successfully transitioned to new HR plans in 2009, under the Restructuring Act.
In 2013, VCU conducted a Great Place employee survey to understand what employees and managers thought were needed to improve the university workplace. Responses from that survey, combined with the flexibility offered under the Restructuring Act, served as the foundation of the Great Place: HR Redesign Project.
The project began with policy committees researching best practices from other universities and other large employers, designing options and developing recommendations for a new HR plan. The draft policy was shared with the University Council before presentation to the Board of Visitors. It received final approval by the President’s cabinet in May 2017 and was reported to the Commonwealth of Virginia Secretary of Administration in June 2017. Implementation teams developed procedures, guidelines, training, and other resources to ensure the policy would be managed as intended. The Great Place: HR Redesign enrollment period ran from January 1 - March 31, 2018. During that time, 922 classified employees voluntarily enrolled in the new HR plan.
Through the HR best practices reflected in the new Working@VCU: Great Place HR policy, VCU is better positioned to connect employees with the university’s mission, vision, and core values, which creates a more vibrant learning and scholarly community – the Great Place – that will attract and retain highly qualified talent in an increasingly competitive market.