UCL News


UCL Human Resources is changing: Talk to us

24 February 2016

Over the past few weeks UCL Human Resources has shared some insights into how we are changing.


This week we will focus on the new UCL Human Resources Strategy and Planning team.

What's changing?

In January 2016, a new HR Strategy and Planning Team was created bringing together the following services and activities. 

The Employment Policy Team is focused on modernising UCL's main HR policies and processes and ensuring they are communicated in a way that staff and managers feel comfortable about. The team is also focused on delivering employment policies and processes that help UCL deliver on its key priorities. This means consulting all staff on any changes, as well as senior managers and the trade unions.

The aim is to deliver policies that work for UCL, that are easier to find, easier to understand and, of course, easier to apply.  It also means ensuring statutory and legal changes are put in place and communicated to those who need to be aware of them.  The team also runs the two-yearly staff survey, disseminating results so that action plans can be developed and progress monitored.

A new Reward Policy Team has been formed to bring together a number of different elements of "reward" policy and process at UCL for the first time.  For instance, pay and grading policy have been brought together into one team; alongside academic promotions policy and coordination.

This team will manage the academic promotions and professional services staff grading processes that were formerly administered elsewhere in HR. The team is also looking to build on a number of recent initiatives such as the new Provost's Excellence Scheme and the introduction of voluntary healthcare provision.  

UCL plans to introduce other new benefits such as the additional purchase of annual leave, in due course. Mark Rice, Head of Reward Policy says more about his area in his personal profile section below.

The HR Systems and Business Process Team develops and adapts HR business processes and HR systems in line with UCL policy changes, organisational changes including restructures and mergers, legislative requirements and changing user requirements.

At some stage during their employment at UCL every member of staff relies upon the HR systems from using the online recruitment system to apply for a job, receiving their contract of employment or getting paid monthly and it is key to ensure that these systems are flexible enough to respond to the changing organisational environment.

Over the coming months the team will be working with customers and the Information Services Division (ISD) on implementing the new Oracle HR system in 2017.  The HR restructure means that the team will be able to focus on being more strategic and improving our systems as elements of more operational work are transferred into the Employment Contracts Administration team - which itself has the aim of delivering a more seamless HR service to staff.

Finally in the new HR Strategy and Planning structure is the Workforce Reporting and Analytics Team. This team, as restructured, will be more able to focus on producing management information that aids key decisions in faculties such as workforce planning, diversity initiatives, on-demand departmental data for Athena Swan submissions etc., and local workforce reports. It will be able to focus on UCL-wide and faculty level data analytics, assessing key workforce trends and advising senior management on these.

A key priority each year for the team is the Higher Education Statistics Agency's (HESA) annual statutory staff return. HESA operates nationally to advance education by collecting and disseminating data on all aspects of the UK higher education sector and the annual HESA staffing exercise is a substantial one for the team to coordinate.

Another responsibility of the team is to coordinate all changes to UCL's staffing hierarchies i.e. the staffing changes associated with each and every small or large departmental restructure. Finally, the team will be working with ISD to implement an enterprise style reporting tool making customer access to workforce data efficient and self-service enabled.

Contact for more information

If you have any queries about the changes, please do not hesitate to contact one of us.

For more information, please see the Human Resources website.

Geoff Lang, Director of HR Strategy and Planning

Spotlight: Mark Rice, Head of Reward Policy

What does your role involve?

Mark Rice

Working closely with a variety of Deans, Faculty Managers, Heads of Department to ensure reward strategy and practice underpins the UCL objective to attract and retain the best staff, whilst ensuring consistency of practice across UCL.

How long have you worked at UCL and in HR?

I have worked at UCL HR for almost 10 years now.

Where have you worked prior to joining UCL?

Before joining UCL I enjoyed working in a variety of HR/ Reward related roles in the public and private sectors.

What do you most enjoy about your job and UCL?

I enjoy the daily opportunity to think laterally and problem solve for the amazing individuals who are UCL employees.

How do you think the changes will improve the customer experience?

Elements of reward that sat in a different areas of HR, especially grading and promotions policy, have now been incorporated into a new reward team and we will be looking at these processes to see if they can work better and more efficiently.

Reward policy underpins much of UCL 2034 and we recognise the reward team needs to closely engage with that and all our employees, to understand what they need from us.

Combining compensation, promotion, grading and benefit provision (amongst other items) in one area will help to ensure reward decisions are taken holistically and consistently across UCL.

For example the perceived inability to reward individuals for excellent performance has at times put additional pressure on the grading process, where an employee has performed well but in a role that has stayed largely the same. Combining all the components of reward in one place will help us consider the best approach across all mechanisms available to any given problem or situation.