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Organizational Effectiveness unit geared, ready to support University

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Well, for Purdue University getting what it’s always gotten isn’t acceptable as we strive to improve the University’s functions and better ourselves overall.

In early 2015 Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Bill Sullivan articulated his vision that Purdue be publicly acknowledged as the best place to work in higher education as measured by efficiency, cost-effectiveness and employee satisfaction. Doing what we’ve always done wasn’t going to turn his vision into reality.

According to Trent Klingerman, vice president of Human Resources, this vision requires focused efforts from all parts of the University and it makes sense that Human Resources lead this effort for the Treasurer’s organization.

“In surveying the Treasurer’s organization, we determined that there were several small groups that were focused on different aspects of organizational structure and development as well as enhancing employee development opportunities and expanding employee knowledge, skills and abilities,” Klingerman said. “These groups were full of talented people and some efforts were made to informally network and share materials and ideas.  Several leaders in the Treasurer’s area discussed combining those groups’ talents on a more formal basis.” 

Ultimately, the decision was made to merge these groups.  With input from several members of the HR leadership team, as well as Director of Business Management Chris Martin and former Director of Business Process, Training and Communication James Johnson, the idea of Organizational Effectiveness was solidified. The new area combines Business Training & Communications and Workforce Learning & Development with several Human Resources areas: Leadership & Organizational Development, Change Management and Human Resources Communications. 

The next step in creating the new unit was to select its leader.  After an internal search, Kevin Vedder was hired as the senior director for Organizational Effectiveness. 

“My vision for Organizational Effectiveness is to leverage the capabilities and expertise of the various units into a collective, unified team that are all working together towards a shared purpose and common objective in supporting the University,” Vedder explained.

Klingerman agrees, adding that while the Organizational Effectiveness unit is housed in Human Resources, it really is accountable to the entire Treasurer’s organization.

According to Vedder, the top three priorities of the Organizational Effectiveness unit are:
1. Meeting the needs of our stakeholders and providing high quality, valued and responsive service and assistance;
2. Establishing recognition and understanding of the capabilities and services the unit can provide; and
3. Developing metrics to measure the Organizational Effectiveness unit’s impact and effectiveness in striving for results-oriented outcomes.

With the unit’s staff bringing a unique mix of talent, skills and experiences, the stage is set to turn Treasurer Sullivan’s vision into reality.

“It seems like we’re all excited to come together, leverage our complementary expertise and continue to ask “Why?,” “Why not?” and “How could it be better?” said Lindsey Farrell, instructional designer / trainer. “Organizational Effectiveness has the capacity and charge to affect effectiveness on a system-wide scale - the opportunity is challenging and exciting.”
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