Shaping the Workplace

shaping the workplace initiative icon

shaping the workplace initiative graphicThe University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Human Resources embarked on an initiative to identify the broader workplace environment that it wishes to shape and maintain.

The foundation is a framework that characterizes the workplace as viewed through the lens of a prospective employee that is considering Pitt as a potential choice among competing alternatives, or a current employee with options for alternative opportunities.

We have engaged broadly with the University community, learning about initial conditions and garnering input on desired priorities for reshaping, and reporting back on input received.

We have identified a series of initiatives for implementing enhancements and we continue to socialize policy decisions with the University community to facilitate adoption and implementation.


All timing for the Shaping the Workplace initiative is approximate and subject to change with the flow of the initiative.

December 2019: Kick-Off Announcement

January - February 2020

Seven engagement sessions conducted throughout Pittsburgh and regional campuses, with online input offered as alternative.


  • Benefits: Implementation of student loan debt assistance program (voluntary benefit) through TIAA/Savi
  • Benefits: Launched discussions on program for diverting retirement savings contributions to student loan debt payments

In the news:

Spring 2020

Aggregate and report results from engagement sessions.


  • Recording and slidedeck of a report-out session, March 2020 (available via Pitt Passport)
  • Benefits: Implementation of MetLife Legal Services (voluntary benefit)
  • In response to COVID-19, shifted and adjusted prioritizations of certain elements and updates to provide resources and opportunities for the University community:
    • Benefits: Implementation of emergency sick day bank, with continued consideration of maintaining the program post-pandemic
    • Benefits: Various programmatic updates for time off, health, retirement, and education benefits
    • Work-Life Balance: Lifted the vacation accrual cap and made adjustments to the sick leave policy
    • Work-Life Balance: Development of Supervisor Support Chats (information via Pitt Passport) to provide supervisors with resources throughout the pandemic for remote work, staff engagement, and other professional development
    • Work-Life Balance: Developed and implemented PittCollab (information via Pitt Passport), which provides and asks for available work opportunities for staff

In the news:

Summer 2020

Share community input with Senior Leadership, along with a portfolio of planned projects to share our workplace. Socialize those projects with the University community and begin to execute.


  • In response to COVID-19, shift and adjusted prioritizations of certain elements and updates to provide resources and opportunities for the University community:
    • Work-Life Balance: Implemented and supported a variety of child and dependent care resources for employees
    • Climate, Culture, and Work Environment: Implemented access to data dashboards for Responsibility Centers to support recruitment and retention analysis

Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

Complete benefits benchmarking and compensation philosophy to present to Senior Leadership for approval; continue to execute ongoing projects, including the Compensation Modernization project, Supervisor Essentials program, and required performance evaluations for all staff.


  • Shaping the Workplace Initiative Update, February 2021: Document provides overview of initiative updates provided to Partners on February 5, 2021
  • Salary: Continuing job reviews, initial market matching, and new University job codes and nomenclature
  • Performance Review and Talent Development: Ensured 100% compliance of staff performance appraisal process, following University policy; developing more accessible and user-friendly appraisal process for pilot launch in FY21 and for full University use in FY22
  • Performance Review and Talent Development: Developed and launched pilot of Supervisor Essentials @ Pitt program (fall 2020), which addresses needs identified in earlier initiative sessions and that are encountered in human resources work; will be required of all individuals that supervise the work of others when launched University-wide
  • Climate, Culture, and Work Environment: Developing strategic and educational partnerships with Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the University community to create enhanced workforce development initiatives
  • Climate, Culture, and Work Environment: Creating a recruitment diversity statement and toolkits for recruiting best practices
  • In response to COVID-19, shift and adjusted prioritizations of certain elements and updates to provide resources and opportunities for the University community:
    • Work-Life Balance: Continuing review of needs and opportunities for space usage and parking/permits
    • Work-Life Balance: Flex/remote work policy revision underway
    • Work-Life Balance: Collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University to provide temporary family care proctoring service

In the news:

Summer 2021 and beyond

Implement approved benefits and compensation philosophy, along with corresponding projects. Complete all projects within the Shaping the Workplace portfolio by 2023.