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New and Improved: Hiring Process Changes on the Horizon

Changes are underway to make the hiring process at the University more efficient. Administrative staff members from across the institution have been working collaboratively to create and implement improvements to the University hiring process.  These changes are intended to increase the efficiency of obtaining approvals at all stages of the process, as well as increasing the accuracy of information needed to fully establish selected candidates as new University employees. 

“We knew there were changes that could be made to the current system to make the hiring process easier and more efficient for those involved,” says  Mychal Coleman, director of human resources. “We are pleased with what the team came up with, and we feel we are headed in the right direction.”

The initial goal of the project is a 60 percent satisfaction rate when the improvements are fully implemented. That goal was established using assessment documents from people using the new system and the information will be used to evaluate the success of the changes.  Based on these findings, further alterations to the process will be made until the original goal has been reached.

During the collaborative process to create the new system, the project team identified small, easy to implement changes which target specific inefficiencies in the current process. These changes include improvements to the format of existing forms such as the Position Authorization Form (PAF), new instructions to guide users through the completion of these forms and checklists for reviewers to verify the accuracy of submitted information. 

The team also identified the “normal” turnaround for each step in the process that will be documented so managers can plan their hiring activities more effectively.  The Affirmative Action Coordinators across campus will play an important role in the implementation of these changes.  Members of the project team met with the AACs in April to explain the new process tools and to solicit their input.

The team will periodically measure the effectiveness of the changes with the aid of several assessment documents, which are designed to measure the level of satisfaction with various aspects of the hiring process. Specifically, there is a targeted assessment document available for Affirmative Action Coordinators, hiring authorities and new employees. These documents will be distributed to the AACs throughout the summer in anticipation of the first process assessment this fall.

All these changes are a result of the University’s first Kaizen process improvement event in April, and is the first of several Kaizen events planned for the coming year to target critical University business processes. 

Kaizen is made up of the Japanese words “kai” (meaning “to break apart”) and “zen” (meaning “to continuously improve”).  The key features of this process improvement methodology are to eliminate non-value added process elements through small, manageable change and to achieve sustainability through ongoing assessment and improvement.

The first Kaizen team was made up of staff from human resources, academic colleges, service departments, the provost’s office and ITS. The event was led by a consultant from Rucker & Associates. 

The team learned techniques for evaluating business processes to identify normal variation, unnecessary effort and delays and missing or inefficient transitions between participants.  The group also learned how to prioritize identified issues, document standard work and design process measures for continuous improvement and sustainability.

The first formal measurements will be taken in September.