Human Resource Service Center applies core values to bringing new hires on board

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways we could not imagine, and on March 13, 2020, the virus forced the closure of The University of Texas at Austin campus. The historic and unexpected campus closure and transition to our current modified open status became a catalyst for change. Staff and leadership at the Human Resource Service Center (HRSC) were galvanized to reinvent its operational model of service deliverables to our faculty and staff, modeling the Financial and Administrative Services core values of diversity, innovation, integrity, service, stewardship and teamwork.

The HRSC staff provide essential core functional support to the university employees by enabling our new hires to be onboarded (integrated into the university) seamlessly and complete required I-9 documentation. Staff provide notary services, respond to open records requests and assist customers with any questions. Even with reduced in-person office hours, the HRSC continued serving its customers strategically while adopting new safety measures of “social distancing” as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and respecting the diversity of the work and their clients. Additionally, in only two weeks, staff converted and digitized much of the day-to-day work into their ticketing system. This effort has enabled them to respond remotely in a secure environment while ensuring privacy, compliance and continued customer service excellence.

New Employee Welcome Orientation (NEWO) at UT Austin is a key interactive part of the employee onboarding experience. Through the NEWO orientation, new employees receive a Longhorn welcome, learn about UT’s core values, how to socially integrate into their new community, how to navigate Workday to set up their personal information and, most importantly, how to enroll in their benefit and retirement plans. Until now, this presentation has been held weekly and delivered in-person. To quickly transition this function to an electronic format required many central HR staff members coming together to get NEWO recorded so new hires could still experience the presentation and not miss a beat.

“What makes this transition innovative is that for the first time, NEWO will be accessible to all members of the UT community around the world,” said HRSC Director Marlo Kibler. “It also offers closed captioning resources for people who are hard of hearing.”

The HRSC is working toward delivering the content in modules soon. “The recorded content will be organized in a way that will allow faculty and staff to easily revisit videos for just-in-time learning. In other words, months or years after they have attended NEWO, if they need to address an issue covered in NEWO, they can still access the modular videos to refresh their memories,” she said.

Once the university returns to normal operations, NEWO will continue to be offered electronically, offering the flexibility to view the NEWO presentation at the employee’s own pace.

“We were very excited to be able to get this out there for employees. One of the best parts of this ‘first’ is we are even offering a Spanish speaking version to assist our Spanish speaking staff members, which represent a large population in our community,” said Kibler.

“COVID-19 has forever changed each one of us and our campus as we continue to endure what the virus’s presence has brought to our community,” she said. “One thing is for sure: the creativity, innovation, humanity, teamwork, leadership and responsibility demonstrated by the entire HRSC staff in support of our customers and each other is a shining example of how ‘what starts here changes the world.’”

UT Austin factoids graphic
The HRSC has launched an online, closed-captioned version of New Employee Welcome Orientation (NEWO). Viewers are able to see the presenter and a transcript as well as presentation slides.
April 3, 2020