During the past few weeks, you have heard much about the university’s new Shared Services Center for financial and human resources transactions. We have some important news to report based on the most recent information from all the schools, colleges and administrative units. Because units have been planning for this and have not filled at least 50 open finance and HR positions on campus during the last several months, we can accomplish the transition to Shared Services without layoffs. Also, it is important to note that we expect staff who accept a comparable position in the Shared Services Center will not see their base salaries decrease.
That said, it is clear we were not sensitive or consultative enough in the planning and communication of this initiative. We deeply value every member of the university community, and regret that the early stages of the process did not live up to our shared values. We have heard significant feedback from faculty and staff that is helping us to re-shape our processes as we move ahead so we can be more inclusive and better reflect the needs of the community.
It is true that we sometimes have to make difficult changes to continue to protect the resources that are so vital to our core academic mission, but it is our responsibility to do so in the most respectful and supportive manner possible.
We know that our support for staff members directly affected by this change was simply not explicit enough across the university. We recognize that this is a significant change for employees who will move from their current work environments to create a new team of U-M human resource and finance professionals. We will provide support and training for every colleague who accepts a position in the Shared Services Center. Also, we conducted staff focus groups some time ago to learn more about the workspace features and environment that prospective staff would most value. The facility is now being renovated to incorporate most of the suggestions for a positive and welcoming environment. We expect the work to be offered through the Shared Services Center to be of the highest caliber, and the skills that our employees will bring are critically important for our shared success.
Provost Pollack will chair the governing committee for the new center, and we are committed to ensure not only the fiscal success of the effort, but also excellent service and the best possible climate for our colleagues to thrive in their new positions.
We understand that some of the employees moving to the Shared Services Center also handle other important functions within the unit. We will work with the schools and colleges to provide support and guidance as units identify gaps and re-organize the work that remains to be done after some staff members move to the new center, so faculty members can continue to focus on their students and their research.
We appreciate the input that we have received on this project. We will do much more outreach in the weeks and months ahead in a shared commitment to our long-held values of transparency and participation. This commitment will be central in all we do going forward.
Martha E. Pollack
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Timothy P. Slottow
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
E. Royster Harper
Vice President for Student Life