Systemwide shared service center to be set up at UC Riverside
[Update: March 6, 2013]
The "go-live" date for UCLA and other Wave 1 sites to transition to the new UC-wide payroll and human resource system has been revised. The new date for implementation is July 2014.
A systemwide initiative to reduce costs and gain administrative efficiencies through streamlined operations moved forward with an announcement today by the UC Office of the President that a universitywide shared service center will be set up at UC Riverside.
The UCPath Center will handle all routine transactions systemwide related to payroll, benefits, leave management and workforce administration. The project is a key element of UC’s Working Smarter initiative
, an effort developed to help preserve academic quality in the face of deep state budget cuts. In its first year alone, the initiative accrued $157 million in new revenue and cost savings from a variety of operational changes.
The new center will open its doors in July 2013 and initially serve five locations: the UCLA campus and UCLA Health System, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced and UC Office of the President. All other campuses and medical centers will make the transition by October 2014.
The center is part of an ambitious effort to transition the entire UC system to a single payroll and human resources system — a move that is expected to save the university as much as $100 million annually once the system is fully deployed, UC officials estimated.
"We think this project is likely to pay for itself within five years, and UC could be accruing over $100 million in annual savings by the eighth year," said Peter Taylor, UC’s chief financial officer. "We also expect to deliver HR and payroll services with increased efficiency, accuracy and quality."
The UCPath project is one of the most complex operations ever to be undertaken systemwide because it requires that human resource, benefit and payroll transactions as well as many of the business processes now used on each campus must be standardized. Over the years, these processes and practices have changed so that today, they vary greatly among the campuses and medical centers.
"The payroll and human resource systems at UCLA will change dramatically in the future," explained UCLA’s Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Lubbe Levin. The move will also shift human resources into a more strategic role while minimizing the time spent on transactions, she said.
Many critical HR functions, however, will remain at the campus level, including, for example, hiring and retention, performance management, employee and labor relations, training and development, and other non-transactional business activities such as counseling services.
Over time, the new payroll and HR systems are likely to require fewer positions in the core areas of transactional processing and customer support for payroll, and routine HR and academic personnel actions that require data entry into the new PeopleSoft system. But the impact on employees will vary by function, department and location, Taylor said.
"Our goal is to minimize involuntary layoffs through attrition, retraining and re-alignment of responsibilities," said Nathan Brostrom, UC’s executive vice president of business operations. "To the extent that some employees are affected, we hope they will consider applying for jobs at the UCPath Center. We want to provide job opportunities for as many of our people as we can."
Qualified UC staff will have priority consideration for all UCPath Center jobs, other than a handful of top-level management positions that will be filled through a national search, Brostrom said.
While it is too soon to estimate how many jobs at UCLA may be affected by the UCPath project, Levin and UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor and Controller Allison Baird-James of Corporate Financial Services said they are already taking steps to plan a smooth transition for staff members in their departments.
"If we can handle this through attrition, by offering affected employees other available positions or by placing them in the new UCPath Center, that would be best," said Baird-James. "That’s our goal."
"We want to make sure that the employees who might be affected have the best opportunity both before and after the change occurs in July 2013 to take advantage of all available options," Levin said. "They may be interested in positions at the new UCPath service center, other open positions on the campus for which they qualify or in using this transition as an opportunity to develop their skills for a new role."
At the departmental level, employees whose duties include handling payroll and personnel transactions could also be affected by the transition. It will be up to each organization to decide how those jobs will be restructured. Campus Human Resources will be available to assist departments with the transition.
"The expectation is that by summer this year, we will know much more about how the work will be changing at the departmental level. Then we’ll be able to partner with those departments to discuss what options they have to reorganize the work there," said Baird-James.
More details about staffing, including roles, job descriptions and staffing levels at the new UCPath Center, will be shared with campuses and medical centers during July. Jobs for the UCPath Center will be posted on the UCOP Job Board, and recruitment will begin this fall.
Qualified UCLA employees, who will receive first consideration along with other UC staff should they apply, would contribute much to the success of the operation, Levin said. "We certainly recognize that having employees there with a strong base of knowledge, expertise and experience will be helpful as the center starts up."
About two-thirds of UCPath Center staff will work in the operations side, while another third will work in a customer service call center fielding questions regarding payroll, benefits and other employment-related transactions.
UC employees will be able to call or email the center to receive consistent, accurate information about systemwide policies, such as employees’ options for taking maternity leave. But more complex issues that require individual consultation or counseling, such as setting up an employee’s retirement plan, will continue to be handled at the campus level by local benefits counselors, Levin explained.
Levin and Baird-James are part of a core group of UCLA officials meeting regularly with their counterparts from other UC campuses to advise the project consultants and the Office of the President project management team, including Oracle, the vendor chosen to implement the new central system. Among the UCLA officials participating are representatives from the Health Sciences Controller’s Office, the Academic Personnel Office, Health System Human Resources and Information Technology Services.
The initial design of the system is in progress, but there’s still much more work to be done before the transition takes place, Baird-James explained. As specific plans take shape, additional information will be made available to UCLA organizations. As the planning process proceeds, the campus integration points with the UCPath system will be further defined and tested, she said.
In the meantime, the campus has already begun to prepare for the move. A website for the UCLA UCPath initiative
was launched last month where employees can find a timeline, news updates, key dates to watch for and related links to detailed information about the project and its goals, as well as frequently asked questions.
A campus office to manage the project, headed by project manager LeAnn Story, who reports jointly to Corporate Financial Services, Campus Human Resources and Information Technology Services, has been set up to implement the project and provide guidance and direction to teams in departments. And a broad-based campuswide advisory group representing administrative and academic organizations is meeting monthly to discuss project updates and status so that their units can support the project.
Currently, UCLA’s Project Management Office is reaching out to many campus departments to find out how each department is using payroll and human resource data so that "we can work with departments through the transition so they can still get the data they need to do budgeting, projections or other important tasks after the change occurs," Baird-James said.
To meet the requirement that all UC employees use a Web-based time-and-attendance reporting system, employees in departments that were not reporting time online are moving to the new Web-based Time Reporting System.
Also in advance of the changeover, non-exempt employees who are currently paid on a monthly cycle will switch to a bi-weekly pay schedule on July 1, 2012. To help these employees make the transition, the campus is offering two temporary assistance programs
, including an interest-free loan program for up to a maximum of $1,000 and a cash-out option for use of accrued vacation up to 40 hours. These options can be used in combination.
"One employee told me that being able to cash out 40 hours of her vacation was such a relief," said Jani Quintero, personnel manager for Capital Programs. "She had been in a panic about trying to figure out how to make the transition work for her. Being short on cash for even one week in a month would be challenging for her family."
While staff making this change may still have to reschedule payments to lenders, banks, landlords and others, UCLA has made sure the transition won’t become a financial burden for employees, Quintero said.
Read more details about the UCLA UCPath initiative
here. You can also learn more about financial assistance programs for non-exempt employees affected by the transition at that website.
To see frequently asked questions about these assistance programs, see this
. Have questions about how UC Riverside was chosen for the new UCPath Center? See these frequently asked questions