Senior Change Manager Fredrick Martin and the UVA HR leadership team are tasked with the implementation of Ufirst, a project that will merge more than 70 HR programs and 11 distinct HR offices in both the academic division and the health system into a single, seamless HR operation. Ufirst will also leverage new technology that will enable HR self-service for approximately 30,000 employees. It is an ambitious and complex project for the university, and the first in a new strategic effort to streamline university operations to make them more efficient, less costly, and best in class.
Martin brings with him experience as a change manager in a corporate environment. Academia presents novel problems because of its complex governance structure. Change in the academic context requires buy-in from many different stakeholders; they could also choose to "opt-out," which could prolong decision-making and derail implementation. Martin and his team must also contend with the complex regulations that govern hiring and workforce management. Martin needs to figure out how to support this necessary change to a new culture, in which HR professionals are strategic partners with the people they serve rather than transactional experts. In order to revitalize HR, Martin and his team must demonstrate to a large university community the power of collaboration and integration.
The case can be taught as a stand-alone discussion on change implementation, or as a discussion focused on managing crises that often emerge from such large-scale change initiatives. The case set is also conducive to a sequence of two 85-minute classes, or two parts of one three-hour class. The videos in this B case, "Crisis Scenarios," provide instructors with additional content for the latter discussion.