FAQs

From the October 30, 2019 IT All-Staff Meeting

Is the internal hiring preference optional, or will central IT (Penn State IT) just be taking people and moving them?

We are not just taking people and moving them. Everything we’re going to do in Penn State IT will be posted, and if you’re interested you certainly can volunteer for these opportunities.

If a job in IT that is fixed-term is posted at a higher grade than my job and I want to apply for it, do I lose my standing position?

This is one of the things that we’re going to have to figure out. With Simba, there are some changes to the funding models for salaries and what we call “standing” and “fixed term,” so there is a lot of change coming with that.

How do you remove the political barriers of IT governance so talent management can be beneficial for all?

The idea is University leadership will be involved in making the decisions around all these changes either in an advisory role or in governance in making the decision. That impacts talent management, as far as what the impact of a decision is on staff, what skills and experience are needed to fill roles, or what a person is going to need when they move to a new organization. The University will be involved in making those decisions. We want to make sure whoever is impacted gets the support they need to succeed if they want to.

Can you talk about G Suite being made available to the University and any duplication of service with this and Office 365?

G Suite is free and gives people options to use the tools they want to. G Suite’s email and calendar are not coming in. Bringing G Suite in gives us the opportunity to possibly look at removing Box, which we do pay for.

Are there any conversations happening around a unified chargeback model for some of the centralized services we are going to be providing more of?

The model we have right now is not going to be a direct chargeback. A financial analysis team will be determining what the fully loaded cost of running a centralized service is out in the unit, and that will be the giveback amount. The giveback is a general term for money that either won’t show up in a unit’s budget or will be something that they have to give back to the Provost.

What do you mean when you say we will have 100 less staff in IT in three years? Does that mean people will be cut?

If we take 100 jobs and put a dollar amount to them, that’s what we are talking about. We are not talking specific jobs. Units will decide not to fill positions, and that’s one of the ways you absorb those budget cuts. If a unit decides not to fill a position, that’s one less person working in IT. I think that will happen over time over three years, probably around a hundred times.

Five new IT jobs were posted today. How are these and other IT jobs that will be posted soon be handled in light of the news about internal preference?

Until we have a good alternative, we couldn’t just announce no more external postings. There are too many logistics to figure out. We strongly encourage all hiring managers to think strategically about every job you fill and think if it is possible to hire internally and develop people to fill those roles. That’s what we are going to be doing centrally.

Are instructional design and design-related positions still being considered as part of the IT classification?

As of today, yes.

With the job redesign on hold, will it continue to also hold other related things such as salary corrections, position reclassifications and promotions?

We are going to allow job reviews to happen. The classification and compensation team will need to figure out how to deal with a tsunami of reviews coming in since they have been held for so long.

Any word on the permanent CIO role being filled? We like Don and want him to stay.

My marching orders are to lead for the long term so whenever I leave this role, I want to make sure it’s set up the best for everybody, whether that be next month or next decade. I’m going to do the best for Penn State and for you.

Will we see less IT job postings in the near future?

People will continue to leave. We’re going to still have to fill jobs. Hopefully, we’re going to be smarter about which ones we actually post. We’re still going to have gaps that we have to fill. We can’t leave critical units that are supporting these priorities without their resources.

How do we promote the right competencies and improve the diversity makeup of our workforce if we’re just shuffling the same existing makeup around?

Every new person that comes in is another number of our workforce. We want to make sure that we do the best we can. [Internal hiring preference] is an option and is not perfect. Penn State in general is not the most diverse [employee] population, so we have got to work on that as well.

Would there be consideration for an internal job board created just for the advancement of internal employees?

That will be part of the proposal by the end of the year. The only way we do internal postings right now is HR sends an email out with the posting and you submit resumes. If we’re still doing dozens of jobs, there’s got to be a better way. We need to figure out what we can do.

Has there been any further discussion on telecommuting being a type of cost savings for IT?

Not for cost savings. The way we handle telecommuting, if it’s right for the job, for the leader, and for the individual, we can make that work. But if it’s not right for all three, the default is you come in. Realistically I don’t see having empty cubicles would really make a difference.

Will there possibly be another early retirement incentive offered?

As far as I know, there is no early retirement option. The last I talked to the provost about it, he said we weren’t entertaining that. It doesn’t mean it might not change. Many of you who are closer to my age are valuable to the University and we are going to need you through this change. If we can make these cost cuts and keep the talented workforce we have, that is the goal.

Is there a possibility of returning to the old process for job postings where it was internal for a week and if there were no hires then it would be open for all?/

We have the idea in mind to prefer internal candidates. The process is what we’re going to figure out in the next six weeks or so.

There are job profiles that are too similar and don’t differentiate between different job duties, but salary bands are out of whack. Will you be addressing those?

The classification team is working on how we’re going to navigate the next two years. There are certain things that they can do right now to provide a little more clarity. As a whole, we know a big change is coming.

Our area’s director has discouraged us from sharing our feedback with Don and your team. We were encouraged that feedback should be sent by the director of our area. Would you clarify if non-management are encouraged to share feedback directly with you?

I want you all to feel free to get in touch with me directly. I will do my best to answer. Obviously there are some things I can’t share with you. I don’t want to undermine the leaders, and I think the normal mode for feedback is up through your leadership chain. That’s where it is going to be the most effective because most problems really are down at a local level. However, I don’t mind if you get in touch with me. If it’s an issue I can answer fairly quickly, I will. In other cases I can push it back down the leadership chain where it’s best addressed. It’s important that we all feel free to communicate with each other but also that we all respect our leaders and what they’re trying to accomplish and the constraints they’re working under.

Will there be any additional positions for the senior leadership team hired in the future?

We’re contemplating some consolidations of different duties right now, but it’s generally pretty set. There’s some possibility that we will take a number of positions and consolidate them under one person as a way to be more efficient and effective.

What resources might be available for staff members looking to either hone or expand the skills that they have?

Once we have the profiles in place, you’ll know for any job you want to go into want those needed skills are. The talent management SharePoint site has links to trainings that are free. We are also looking at job shadowing and on-the-job training as well as knowledge sharing. We will help you identify where those skills gaps are. You’ll have a roadmap, but you will have to take an active approach to asking for and seeking the help.

Additional questions from the October 30, 2019 IT All-Staff Meeting

 

The case for reorganizing jobs for similar skills, will that be across the University or just central?

The University is interested in changing the model for classification and compensation University-wide, and the goal is it will happen within two years.

When Gartner determined that we need to cut $15M in IT spend, did they account for the difference of general IT spend vs. research grant spend?

University leadership charged us with reducing our IT spend by $15 million. This was based on findings from several studies, including Gartner and the Huron consulting task force. Research computing was not considered when determining our reduction amount.

Is IT Management included in the pool of potential position phaseouts to reach the goal of 100?

We are not planning to phase out positions to help us reach our bottom line. Each unit will determine how to best absorb their cuts. Within Penn State IT (Central IT) management positions are being considered. What we are going to do is think strategically about every opening to determine how or if we fill it.

Will we or should we be looking more intensely at job shares and partnerships to fulfill resource needs?

All options are on the table when it comes to finding the necessary resources to do our work to support the University. We want to make smart decisions with every hiring. Job shares are one innovative way to adapt.

Are there any early-exit strategies for miserable employees?

Unhappy employees are typically not the most productive employees. Anyone who is unhappy in their current role is always encouraged to look at other openings that might be a better fit. Performance management is a tool that leaders have always had and should use when appropriate.

Can we keep a “people counter” in all of our break rooms that helps us track the 100 folks who retire over the next three years so we don’t have to worry about involuntary separations?

We don’t know that there will be 100 retirees or that we will need 100 retirees over the next three years. We will communicate our progress toward our $15 million in cuts.

Are we going to foster working remotely more openly to help keep talent that moves away from the area or state?

Remote work needs to be right for the job, the manager and the employee. We have a number of instances where this is successful, and we will continue to examine requests on an individual basis.

Why is the impact on faculty a higher priority than the impact on IT staff?

Our role is to serve the University and provide the best information technology to support the needs of our faculty, students and staff. Without faculty and students, we wouldn’t have a University.

What about PHI Box? Is that being considered in the retirement of box.psu.edu? Will there be a replacement?

Yes, we expect OneDrive to be able to handle “high risk” information as Box does now. We have not decided to retire Box; we are going to study and decide soon.

What is the message to IT leaders across campus with respect to adopting core cost-saving IT services? Is adoption optional, encouraged, incentivized, or required?

Incentivized.

What is the average rate of attrition per year now?

We are trying to get the accurate data right now and will share it along with the proposal later this year.

Would it be possible for HR to have less radio silence? It seems when there are unknowns, such as IT job redesign or GSI (general salary increase) timing, HR says nothing instead of reaching out to let employees know more information will be coming as soon as possible.

Yes. Valid point. We will work on the right mix.

At least one of the jobs that was posted recently (cloud architect) is a reposting of a job that had been posted over the summer and then closed. If there is a preference for internal hiring now, should people reapply?

If you see a job you are interested in, whether or not it was posted before, you can feel free to apply. There is no plan in place right now for how to handle the internal hiring preference. Again, we will have a proposal for a plan by the end of the year.

If a leader undertakes a job review (in-level increase or level increase), do we use the same job descriptions and current classification levels to promote the change?

The classification model has not changed. More information on job reviews will be communicated next week at the IT Advisory Council (ITAC) meeting.