HR workstream

The HR functional review will define the people, processes, and technologies required to implement the new operating model for HR services across the university. A restructured and reorganized, university-wide network of HR services will safeguard cost-efficient, responsive, professional, and effective HR resources and services across all of our campuses. By streamlining and our service offerings, we can better support faculties and departments in fulfilling their missions, as well as help HR staff in building rewarding career paths.

Latest updates

Latest update

Service catalogue

Developed in consultation with staff from across the university, service catalogues provide a list of activities and services in a particular functional portfolio and determine where those services would be best placed within the model. For more information on the intent of the catalogues and how they were developed, please read this article.

HR Service Catalogue

HR stream approach

Our approach is collaborative and iterative with a focus on continuous process improvement. We are actively engaging HR experts and staff across the university to provide input into the current and future HR structure, processes, and services.

The functional review process will help us to better understand how HR work is currently being done at the university and determine how to transition work to the new operating model. The functional review is divided into three phases: discover, prepare, and implement.

The purpose of the discovery phase is to gather information about the current state of HR processes at the university and determine what kind of work is being done where. It is also an opportunity to discover good practices, systems, and processes within the faculties that can be applied more broadly to the institution. For an overview of the discovery process, view our presentation. In the prepare phase, we will be reviewing HR processes and identifying how the work can best be done in the new operating model. The final phase will consist of developing and implementing transition plans to shift HR people, processes, and technology into the new operating model. The entire project is supported by change management and communications.

We have an incredible set of talented professionals at the U of A who can help develop new HR processes and services that will better serve the organization’s HR needs long-term. Though significant change is needed, we are confident that together, we will establish a new HR model that achieves this vision.

We have prepared a presentation to offer more detail on the operating model for HRHSE, the HR Service Partner structure, and a further overview of the HR stream.


  • HRHSE Structure
    • October 2020 to January 2021: Design new HR structure
    • January 2021: Transition planning
    • February 2021: Establish service partners
    • February to early-March: Establish Centres of Excellence (CoEs)
    • Early-March onward: Ongoing process improvement of functions/transition to future state
    • Mid-March: New HRHSE centralized structures established
  • Processing Hub Structure
    • November 2020 to February 2021: Design new hub structure for HR services
    • March to June 2021: Transition planning of resources to the Transaction Processing Hub (dependent on Gap Assessment in Functional Review section)
  • Functional Reviews
    • Agile process redesign
      • October 2020 to January 2021: Discovery
      • End January: HR priorities confirmed
      • February to March: Process redesign (priority 1)
      • April: Gap assessment
      • May: Pilot
      • March to April: Process redesign (priority 1)
      • May: Gap assessment
      • April to May: Process redesign (priority 2)
    • Phased implementation
      • June: Implement
      • June: Pilot
      • July: Implement
      • June: Gap assessment
      • July: Pilot
      • August: Implement
  • Change Management
    • Training for working group members: February, March, and early-May
    • Training needs assessed and training developed (including in gap assessment): April, May, and mid-June

HR Service Partners

Service partners are integral to the new model. They provide strategic support, ensure that policy and strategy is applied appropriately and facilitate connection to services in the central functions. The following diagram illustrates the reporting structure of the Senior HR Service Partners and HR Service Partners. To learn more about the Senior HR Service Partners, including the recent appointments, read the update here. For more information on the structure of all partners within the new model, please refer to this organizational chart.

HR Service Partners

  • AVP HRHSE *university-level
  • Director HR Partners *university-level
  • Senior HR Partners *college/portfolio-level
    • College General Managers
    • VP Portfolios
  • HR Partners *faculty/unit-level
    • Faculty General Managers
    • Campus Managers

Career opportunities

To view upcoming position opportunities in HR, please check the SET Position Opportunities Page (otherwise known as “POP”) regularly. Once a position has been finalized and the competition launched, you can apply to it on the U of A Careers page.


The HR stream consists of the following project team members:

  • Demetres Tryphonopoulos — Dean & Executive Officer, Augustana — Executive Sponsor
  • Tanya Wick — Associate Vice-President, Human Resources, Health, Safety and Environment — Executive Sponsor & Initiative Lead
  • Susan Underhill — Project Manager
  • Raji Rajalakshmi — Business Analyst
  • Brendan Woychuk — Organizational Design Specialist
  • Thomas Hidson — Change Management Specialist
  • Zac Ashkanasy — SET Expert Advisor

Consultation and engagement events

  • May 17-28, 2021: Process Redesign Workshop-Design/Feedback Working Group for Recruitment 
  • May 10-21, 2021: Process Redesign Workshop-Design/Feedback Working Group for Time and Labour 
  • May 10-21, 2021: Process Redesign Workshop-Design/Feedback Working Group for Job Evaluation 
  • March 22-26, 2021: Workshop/Feedback Sessions for Employee Appointment/Re-Appointment (Academic Staff)
  • March 4-10, 2021: Process Redesign Workshop-Design/Feedback Working Group for Employee Appointment/Reappointment (Support Staff)
  • January 19, 2021: Ask SET Anything: HR Edition
  • January 6, 2021: Shared Discovery Results with Human Resource Partners
  • November 30, December 1, 2020: HR Discovery Kick-Off
  • November 18, 2020: Review of Planned Discovery Approach with Human Resource Partners
  • November 10, 2020: Review of Planned Discovery Approach with FMC
  • November 4, 2020: Review of Planned Discovery Approach with Dean’s Council
Be sure to check the UAT consultation page for upcoming events.

Frequently asked questions

What is the career advancement trajectory within the new model?

The new operating model offers individuals with greater potential and a clearer career advancement path. While there may be fewer “generalist” roles, there will be more opportunities to specialize in HR, finance, procurement, etc. and gain specialized skills with a clear trajectory within each area. In addition, by working in the centre, you are working for the UAT vision of one university, with the opportunity to learn more business operations across the entire university bringing exciting new opportunities to move horizontally with that whole of university perspective.

The introduction and use of a Job Family approach will also support career development. Jobs are grouped logically into families based on similar characteristics, similar purpose, and the requirement for similar but progressive knowledge, skills and abilities. This allows for a broader view of work and career progression.

Can you share any GBA+ discoveries made while developing SET program’s Human Resources Principles.

It is important that our staffing is equitable, diverse, inclusive, and representative of the community we serve. We will be working with the university’s EDI unit to identify opportunities to gather disaggregated data so that we could conduct GBA+ analysis going forward, but at this point, our staffing data does not include that level of detail. However, even absent of the data, we will be applying a GBA+ lens as we develop new processes, policies, and procedures to ensure they are not gendered or reinforce bias.

One tangible step we will be taking towards this is to confirm that the working groups that will be assisting us with the Functional Reviews are diverse and represent groups that are traditionally marginalized.

Note: information on the GBA+ tool can be found here.

What procedures will be put in place to facilitate the transition of personnel records, processes, and procedures, physically and electronically so HR professionals can hit the ground running in their new roles?

We are working closely with the records management office to create standardized practices within Alfresco. Everyone will move to an electronic format, which will reduce duplication. This was piloted within HRHSE and we’ll share more information in the weeks ahead.

Do you have any sense of how many HR role layoffs there will be?

The ongoing "discovery process" will help us in determining how many positions will be affected.  There are many roles across the university where a portion of the work is related to HR, and therefore we cannot do an exact calculation. Layoffs at this time continue to be up to each faculty and department to meet their reduction targets. We anticipate that the new HRHSE structure will include 55 new roles to be created in the centre (including positions at the Centres of Expertise, service partners, and the Shared Services team).

Has there been any consideration in reviewing our technology and systems during this restructuring?

Yes, we are looking at technology as a component of the greater SET program. We have invested a lot of time and funds into our ERP (PeopleSoft) system, so it is not something we can change easily. However, we are working to build front-end systems using simpler applications that would enable complementary workflows to HCM and make sure that we are streamlining that work.

How are you determining priority for transitioning to central roles and whether an employee’s qualifications fit the new role?

At this time, we are still determining the timing of posting and moving positions to ensure everyone has opportunities to apply for positions that they are qualified for, or have interest in. We are currently working on creating more generic job families to work from in the future. This way we can standardize roles, and each time a position needs to be created, it does not have to be from scratch and individualized.

We are in discussions with NASA and AASUA about this and hope to post Expressions of Interest (EOI) on the general career board (currently, they are held within a department, faculty, or unit, which restricts them to that particular area) so everyone has better visibility.

An HR associate program that would rotate HR professionals through different specialties would be really helpful to junior HR professionals deciding where to take their careers. Is this something that was considered?
Ensuring access to career paths and career development is an important aspect to the new administrative operating model. While an associate program has not been considered, cross training and development opportunities are very important, and part of the planning for position transition and creation plans. The SET HR team will take this idea and others that are received as we begin operationalizing the model and developing training and professional development opportunities. You can submit ideas through the HR Forms page.
*NEW* What level of authority will the colleges/faculties/departments have as it relates to the recruitment of NASA positions? How do you see the role of the HR Service Partners fitting into this?
The budget owner (faculty) will have the authority to hire but they cannot duplicate services that are already provided by the centre. HR Service Partners will assist with recruitment as needed, leveraging the expertise in the Centres of Expertise and Shared Services to support the college/faculty/department/unit.

[Updated June 24, 2021]