In February, the Board of Governors approved the final scope and budget for the R2R (Recruitment to Retirement) program. The program will implement Workday, a state-of-the-art software tool that will support HR and Academic personnel management across McGill’s campuses. The program dovetails with Principal Fortier’s commitment to My Healthy Workplace (one of her five priority areas), which aims “to embrace continuous learning and change, to inspire and encourage new ways of doing things, and to empower administrative staff to use their knowledge and expertise to make McGill a more agile and effective organization.”
R2R’s two executive sponsors – Professors Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), and Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) – spoke with the Reporter about the program and what to expect in months ahead.
What stage is the R2R program at now?
Christopher Manfredi: We’re only a year out from full deployment, so there’s been a lot of activity. In April, we began the Configuration and Prototype phase, in which the R2R Program team validates the configuration and the business processes against real McGill data. This phase also involves gathering information from the community, with the help of the change network, to build the organizational structure (Supervisory Organization) and assign security in the system. In the fall, we’ll start several months of testing, leading into the launch in summer 2020. We want to emphasize, all the work happening in tight collaboration between the R2R Team working at 550 Sherbrooke and the involvement of the University community. Thank you to everyone!
Can you talk about the timing of R2R? Why now?
Yves Beauchamp: Right now, the University relies on multiple systems and processes for recruitment, hiring, compensation and all the other facets of the employment cycle. Some of these are manual, some are automated. These systems are not all integrated with each other, which is inefficient. It’s also hard to access meaningful data to support decision making particularly at the local level.
On top of those issues, many of these systems are outdated and no longer being supported.
R2R is an evolution, we are creating and strengthening standard practices and shaping the future of HR at McGill, together.
What is Workday?
YB: Workday is a cloud-based human resource management software system. It’s used by major North American universities, including University of British Colombia and many institutions from the Association of American Universities such as Brown, Yale, Cornell, Georgia Tech, New York University, Penn State, Texas A&M, Ohio State, University of Southern California, University of Washington, and the University of Chicago. Workday will provide all McGill employees with a single source of accurate real-time information relevant to their own employment situation. It will also allow managers and other HR professionals to access customizable reports, and dashboards to enable data-driven decision-making.
Will Workday replace PurelyHR for managing time off?
YB: Yes. For the first time, we will have an integrated, University-wide solution for managing personal time off, such as vacations and sick days, as well as longer leaves of absence where necessary. Employees will be able to put in absence requests themselves and see real-time updates of their time off balances. Managers, in turn, will be able to see aggregate views of their team’s upcoming time off.
Will Workday change how McGill employees are paid?
YB: Yes and no. Employees won’t see a difference in how they are paid. We will all continue to be paid according to the payroll schedules currently in place, and deposits will continue to be made to bank accounts on record.
The back-end, however, will change. Right now, the University has multiple payroll input systems; Banner is used to pay permanent staff, for example, while POPS (Payroll One-Time Payment System) is used for casual, overtime and miscellaneous payments. Workday will integrate everything into a single payroll system. This will create efficiencies and reduce the likelihood of manual errors.
How will R2R affect recruiting?
YB: It will be more streamlined and guided with recruitment workflows, approval queues and real-time recruitment status. CVs will be more efficiently triaged, and the units will have more autonomy to post positions on their own schedule and on two separate career pages (internal and external facing).
Does that include academic recruiting?
CM: Yes, Workday has functionality for supporting academic recruitment committees. In fact, the implementation of Workday and the realization of the R2R program objectives will also speak to certain goals articulated in the 2017 Strategic Academic Plan, particularly a commitment to invest in building and maintaining a smart campus organized around data and a robust physical and digital infrastructure to facilitate the full spectrum of University activity.
How will McGill employees be supported through the upcoming transition?
CM: In several ways. First, there is a change management team, which is being co-led by Leigh Yetter, Senior Director, Strategy and Operations in my office, and Diana Dutton, Associate Vice-Principal of Human Resources. This team has planned all the change activities until summer 2020. They will coordinate and follow all the undertakings to support the University community.
The change management team will also be working closely with the 30 people that we’re calling “Champions,” and another approximately 140 “Change Agents” representing all Faculties and Administrative Units. Assisted by the R2R Organizational Change Management (OCM) team, they will support the implementation of change management activities in their respective units.
What is the difference between Champions and Change Agents?
CM: Champions are senior members of a unit’s administrative staff who are already familiar with and in many cases responsible for local HR and academic processes and systems, and are in direct communication with unit leadership. These Champions support and are in turn supported by the Deans, VPs or AVPs, and act as R2R ambassadors.
Subsequently, these Champions have identified and engaged Change Agents from within their units. The Change Agents facilitate the roll-out of R2R change activities and transition plans within their unit. They advise Champions on local R2R impacts and issues, and attend regular local change team meetings. One of their major responsibilities will be to ensure that everyone in their unit understands the changes and impacts.
What are the Champions and Change Agents doing right now?
YB: They have been busy understanding the R2R Program and providing critical information for configuring the new system, such as Supervisory Organization naming and assigning Workday security roles in their units. This summer, they began to look at the new business processes and other changes likely to impact their work organization.
What can we expect this fall?
YB: This fall, you can expect an increased communication effort, such as live demonstrations to present the new system to different employee groups who will be impacted by the deployment of Workday. We’ll also be launching the Academic Engagement Group, which will act as a sounding board to prepare faculty and researchers for this implementation. We’ll be ramping up our training preparation during the Winter semester, and in Spring 2020 we will roll out comprehensive training sessions.
CM: The support doesn’t end when R2R goes live in Summer 2020, either. There will be a host of post-training support initiatives, including drop-in labs and practice assignments. The McGill community will be hearing a lot about R2R in the year ahead.