In spring 2021, the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) led a strategic process to identify key priorities and initiatives for the campus over the next five years. OSI leveraged an inclusive, human-centered philosophy of design innovation to engage over 700 members of the campus community in contributing to a vision for how CU Anschutz might continue to break new ground in health sciences education, research, patient care and community engagement. OSI convened a steering committee and four working groups centered on each of these mission areas.
In synthesizing the recommendations from these groups, a common theme that emerged was the need to invest in our people. Stakeholders identified the need to:
In 2022, the Holistic Hiring Task Force convened to assess current hiring practices and processes and make recommendations to implement holistic hiring efforts. That same year, the Staff Pathways Task Force was formed to assess current career pathway opportunities for staff and make recommendations (if needed) for improving transparency of and pathways for career opportunities.
In 2023, the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Task Force convened and is in the process of assessing current promotion processes and developing recommendations regarding campus promotion criteria and processes, with attention to DEI, innovation and community engagement.
Concurrent with these efforts, Human Resources and the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement have also been engaging in continuous improvement projects, detailed below.
The Invest in Our People strategic initiative is, in part, intended to create a strong sense of belonging for the diverse members of the CU Anschutz workforce. Fostering a diverse workforce helps to create spaces of belonging for employees from a variety of backgrounds.
To this end, the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (ODEICE) collaborated with campus partners, central offices, and the CU System to design the Campus and Workplace Culture (CWC) Survey. Administered to all faculty, staff and students in October 2021, this survey contained a section on “sense of belonging” that included questions to gauge whether these constituents feel as though they belong at CU Anschutz. The survey experienced a robust response rate of 31%.
Once the data was synthesized and shared, ODEICE began working with the schools and college to develop action plans with timelines based on the survey responses. The first round of action plan progress reports was collected in spring 2023.
ODEICE and the CWC Task Force are now working with the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness to design a pulse survey focused on sense of belonging. It will build on results from the action plans along with the baseline data. The pulse survey is tentatively targeted for spring 2024, before another full CWC survey is administered in 2025.
Significant progress has already been made on several recommendations that the Holistic Hiring Task Force advanced, including:
Dedicating resources to developing and implementing a proactive strategy to advertise job opportunities at CU Anschutz, particularly in diverse communities.
As part of the recent reorganization in Human Resources within Talent Acquisition and Compensation, the recruiting function and job evaluation functions that were previously assigned to one consultant are now separate so that dedicated consultants can focus on active recruiting. HR personnel have begun attending local job fairs to create brand awareness and attract new applicants. Recent job fairs include the Representative Crow Job Fair in Aurora and the Hiring Heroes event on the Buckley Space Force Base. The primary target of these job fairs is active, transitioning, and retired military and military spouses. We also attended the Denver Diversity Job Fair, which targets individuals from diverse backgrounds interested in job opportunities in the Denver Metro area.
In addition to automatically posting on CU Careers, HigherEdJobs, InsideHigherEd and Direct Employers, CU Anschutz implemented JobElephant as a new vendor. If schools or departments are interested in placing additional advertisements, JobElephant can create an advertising campaign recommendation based on the role and use data on ad placements to determine what will provide a higher yield for customers and reach more diverse audiences. Through the CU system, CU Anschutz will also feature jobs on HispanicsinHigherEd.com, NativeAmericansinHigherEd.com, and VeteransinHigherEd.com. This is a join effort between CU Anschutz and the CU system to provide further outreach opportunities for jobs.
Finally, HR is in discussion with a nationally recognized diversity recruiting provider to push 100% of university staff positions to over 600 job boards nationwide to assist in diversifying and expanding the reach of applicant pools.
Evaluating the success of the CU Search Advocate pilot programs at CU Anschutz, then scaling up the use of search advocates with a strategic and targeted rollout
The system-wide CU Search Advocates Program, modeled after the Search Advocate Program at Oregon State University, is intended to make the recruiting and hiring process more equitable, in order to increase the demographic diversity of applicant pools and, ultimately, the campus workforce. Search Advocates serve as non-voting members of search committees, and their role is to ensure an equitable search process.
Since 2021, ODEICE has collaborated with CU System administration to recruit advocates at CU Anschutz for search advocate training. To date, over 50 individuals have been trained.
Furthermore, in fall 2022, ODEICE partnered with the Colorado School of Public Health to develop a Search Advocate training tailored to CU Anschutz. This first-year pilot program included implementation and evaluation processes that could be modified for rollout by additional units in order to scale campus-wide. A full competency-based online/hybrid training curriculum was developed to align with the principles and values of the OSU Search Advocate program. As of summer 2023, two cohorts have successfully completed the course, and plans are underway for scaling the program to the rest of the campus.
Requiring the use of a screening matrix or rubric in all searches to help evaluate candidates on objective criteria
HR continues to provide a screening matrix for all university staff searches and completes a screening matrix for classified positions. The HR business partner or search chair must also provide a search summary at the end of the process and disposition candidates in our applicant tracking system for each search. The search summary is required before the offer letter is approved by Central HR.
Including a statement on all postings that candidates are encouraged to apply even if they do not meet all the preferred qualifications
A few departments have begun to implement statements that encourage candidates to apply even if they do not meet all the preferred qualifications. An example is the following language included in job postings for the Office of Information Technology: “Do not meet every single requirement? At the Office of Information Technology, we are committed to building a diverse, inclusive, equitable and authentic workplace. If you are excited about this role, but your experience does not perfectly align with every qualification in the job posting, we encourage you to apply anyway. You may be the right candidate for this or other roles with us.”
Developing tools to attract candidates from industry to roles in higher education
Human Resources has updated the job posting template to be more applicant-friendly. The template is more tailored toward the applicant's interests to help better sell the role and help applicants imagine what it would be like working at CU Anschutz. It summaries the role with key responsibilities and includes a "Why Join Us" section for departments to highlight what is great about working in that unit. The format was also condensed to make it easier to read.
The Staff Pathways Task Force made recommendations across the following key themes, and the campus has made strides in these areas:
Training and Communication
More visibility for and communication about existing professional development opportunities
The Learning and Development team has been regularly updating its website and leveraging Salesforce to market professional development courses to CU Anschutz employees, alongside more targeted marketing efforts. The team also presents regularly at HR community meetings and publicizes offerings in presentations to other campus groups (Staff Council, individual department meetings, etc.).
Develop personalized professional development plans within existing opportunities
Several years ago, the Learning and Development team launched an online, self-paced manager certification program. Since that time there have been 158 participants from CU Anschutz and CU Denver. Following the success of this program, in-person and department-specific programs were launched in 2022 and 2023. The School of Medicine has advanced three cohorts (over 60 employees) through this tailored program. After a climate survey revealed the need for unified manager training in the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research (OVCR), the team trained two cohorts with over 40 total participants in 2022 and 2023.
Based on feedback from HR Business Partners and other stakeholders, the Learning and Development Team researched and developed a competency-based program for entry to mid-level HR professionals. Working with HR Business Partners within the Schools and College, 23 existing HR professionals were selected to attend the pilot of this 8-month program. The program will be announced and launched to the entire campus in late 2023 and launch in April/May 2024.
Coach employees on how to develop and implement career progression plans that are tailored to their individual development and growth
The Learning and Development Team has developed and facilitated a variety of specialized programs such as team retreats, specialized manager programs, and career coaching. In 2022, one-on-one coaching sessions took place, and by mid-2023 50 had already occurred.
The team also hosts programming tailored to the needs of campus units, such as:
Develop guidelines on how staff may progress in a variety of functional areas
Job evaluation consultants provide guidance to HR business partners and supervisors on how staff can progress through job families and levels for university staff and occupational categories and levels for classified staff.
Investing in Technology Improvements
Implement a learning system with better tracking and more robust capabilities
A committee has been formed to review the campus-wide needs of a new learning management system for professional development. In selecting a vendor, the committee is seeking the following requirements.
As of summer 2023, the recommendations of the committee are under review by executive leadership.
A task force has been charged with evaluating campus promotion and tenure processes to identify opportunities to reward achievements in areas such as DEI, community engagement, and innovation. Recommendations will be presented to campus leadership in fall 2023.