Flexibility top concern at Shaping the Workplace sessions, DeJong says


Vice Chancellor for Human Resources David DeJong previewed the results of seven public listening sessions held on all campuses for Shaping the Workplace, HR’s efforts to rethink Pitt’s benefits and compensation systems.

Throughout the gatherings, the need for more flexibility in the workplace — from telecommuting to leave time — was a leading request from Pitt staff, he told the Feb. 19 Staff Council meeting.

And among employees at all levels, DeJong also heard a request for “more training for supervisors, maybe even mandatory training for supervisors.”

Other top suggestions voiced by Pitt employees were that all staff members get annual evaluations on which future salary rates are based, and that Pitt’s compensation philosophy, including job classifications, needs to be revamped. He assured Staff Council members that the changes would involve all employees, not just newcomers.

“Something that we’re already doing in response to the things we’ve already heard,” DeJong said, was partnering with Savi to help people navigate the federal student loan forgiveness policy.

He also said new parking options for Pitt employees also are being discussed, including the possibility of adding off-campus parking with shuttles or even new Port Authority bus routes to bring commuters to campus. On Feb. 17, DeJong met with representatives from Carnegie Mellon and four other local universities, as well as UPMC, to discuss teaming to find parking solutions. “If we could scale this up by a factor of six or more,” these local institutions could have more negotiating power to create such changes, he noted: “It’s a preliminary step.”

Pitt also is looking into increasing employee access to child care, he said, since four times the number of employees have requested child care at Pitt compared to available spots at the University Child Development Center. Joining with UPMC and CMU to look for new child-care options, he said in response to a question, might create increased options as well.

More than 700 people attended the Shaping the Workplace listening sessions, he reported, and HR received more than 900 suggestions for workplace improvements via the website. DeJong said he plans to issue an official report on the sessions by mid-March.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at martyl@pitt.edu or 412-758-4859.


Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.

Follow the University Times on Twitter and Facebook.