Carnegie Mellon University

Staff Hiring Freeze Approval Workflow

Adjusted Approval Guidelines for Staff Hires

Effective March 26, 2020 until further notice

Introduction

Effective March 26, 2020, Carnegie Mellon University implemented a hiring freeze that limits staff hiring and fixed-term extensions to those positions deemed mission critical (i.e., those that must be filled to ensure university safety, compliance, and core mission). Only mission-critical positions will be considered for approval during this time, and all requests require justification and additional approval beyond the standard approval flow.

Until further notice, CMU asks that hiring managers refrain from submitting requests to fill new or replacement positions or extend fixed-term positions unless the position is mission critical. Any current open positions should also be evaluated for criticality.

For the purposes of the hiring freeze, “mission critical” positions include the following:

  • Positions deemed critical to the university’s mission
  • Positions that safeguard the health and well-being of the CMU community and its people
  • Positions related to compliance risks

These guidelines establish the scope of the adjusted approval process, as well as temporary hiring rules and procedures. 

Scope

These guidelines apply to hiring of all new and vacant Carnegie Mellon University staff positions, including all part-time, full-time, and fixed-term staff positions. Extensions of fixed-term staff positions are included as well. Positions in the Recent CMU Graduates and Non-CMU Students job family are included.  

These guidelines do not apply to faculty, adjunct/instructional staff, or student workers. For information about hiring faculty, adjunct/instructional staff, please contact your HR business partner. Please direct questions related to the hiring of student workers to Pati Kravetz, associate director of experimental learning and student affairs, at pk13@andrew.cmu.edu.

Promotions, transfers, reclassifications, and additional assignments are not covered by these guidelines, but they are subject to restriction during the hiring freeze. Please consult your HR business partner for guidance before initiating any post-hire employment action that has or may have a budgetary impact on the university.

Evaluating for Criticality Before Submitting a Request

Prior to initiating a hiring request/fixed-term extension transaction, hiring managers/supervisors are expected to evaluate the position for criticality. As part of the evaluation, the hiring manager or supervisor should do the following before submitting the transaction:

  1. Exhaust all internal employee resources within their college/division for completing the work
  2. Consult their supervisor, division head, dean and/or vice president to confirm criticality
  3. Obtain written pre-approval from leadership to ensure overall departmental support

Providing Justification for Staff Positions

For the duration of the hiring freeze, all staff hiring requests and requests to extend a fixed-term position require an objective and detailed justification using the Staff Hiring Justification form.

The justification must thoroughly explain the following: 

  1. Funding source and duration of funding source
  2. How the position is critical to CMU’s safety, compliance, core values or mission
  3. Why filling the position should not be postponed
  4. Using detailed examples, why you were unable to secure internal employee resources within the division/college to assist with work during this time and/or why internal employee resources do not have the unique skill set to perform the duties and functions of the position

Temporary Processes

To ensure compliance with CMU’s staff hiring freeze, the following processes have been adjusted to require justification and additional approval. To minimize the added demands on senior leadership, the additional approvals have been inserted into business processes after all departmental approval and HR review. The approval process is expected to diligently cull transactions that are not in line with the current climate of suspended operations and financial due diligence before they reach senior leadership. For example, a request to extend a non-critical fixed-term staff position should not reach the VP/dean approval level.

The Hiring Request Process

New or replacement staff positions (including fixed-term positions):

  1. Before submitting a request, the hiring manager with the vacancy establishes criticality through the following:
    1. Explore all options to use internal employee resources to complete the work
    2. Consult their supervisor, division head, dean and/or vice president to confirm criticality
    3. Obtain written pre-approval from leadership to ensure overall departmental support
      1. Before initiating a hiring request, academic units require pre-approval, which is obtained by submitting the completed Staff Position Hiring Justification form to their dean and the provost (or delegate).
      2. Before initiating a hiring request, administrative units require pre-approval, which is obtained by submitting the completed Staff Position Hiring Justification form to the division head, who will obtain VP pre-approval.
    4. If criticality is established in step one above (including pre-approval): the hiring manager sends the Staff Position Hiring Justification form and the written pre-approval to the appropriate department initiator (DI) or HR generalist. The DI or HR generalist submits the Position Hiring Request form in Workday with the justification form and pre-approval attached. Note: If the justification form and pre-approval are not attached to the request, OHR will return the request to the transaction initiator.
    5. OHR creates the position and routes it for approval. The standard approval flow includes the supervisor, financial approver, next-level supervisor plus the temporary additional approvals of the dean and provost or vice president and president. Workday approval is intended to document and confirm approval that has already been obtained outside the system. Each approver in the approval path is able to approve or deny the request, and each can delegate approval authority.
    6. If a position is approved, the HR recruiter reaches out to the hiring manager to begin the recruitment process.

The Job Offer Process

No offers (verbal or in writing) are to be extended until the offer is approved by the additional approvers. 

  1. The HR recruiter creates the offer letter.
  2. The HR recruiter routes the offer letter through the standard approval path of supervisor, financial approver, next-level supervisor, and then the temporary additional approvals of the dean and provost or vice president and president. Each approver in the approval path is able to approve or reject the offer, and each can delegate approval authority.
  3. If the offer is approved, the HR recruiter works closely with the hiring manager to extend the offer and finalize next steps.
    1. Not that any changes to the approved compensation amount as a result of negotiations with the prospective hire during the offer process must be approved before extending the offer.
  1. If the offer is not approved, the HR recruiter notifies the hiring manager and discusses next steps.

The Fixed-Term Extension Process

Note:

  • Extensions covered by grant money require justification and additional approval through this process.
  • Extensions to existing TES placements in a department require justification and additional approval through this process.
  • Fixed-term positions for Recent CMU Graduates cannot be extended beyond the four-month maximum duration.
  1. Before initiating the Change Job business process to extend a fixed-term position, the supervisor with the expiring position establishes criticality through the following:
    1. Explore all options to utilize internal employee resources to complete the work
    2. Consult their supervisor, division head, dean and/or vice president to confirm criticality
    3. Obtain written pre-approval from leadership to ensure overall departmental support
      1. Before initiating a fixed-term extension transaction, academic units require pre-approval, which is obtained by submitting the completed Staff Position Hiring Justification form to their dean and the provost (or delegate).
      2. Before initiating a fixed-term extension transaction, administrative units require pre-approval, which is obtained by submitting the completed Staff Position Hiring Justification form to the division head, who will obtain VP pre-approval.
    4. If criticality is established in step one above (including pre-approval), the supervisor emails the completed Staff Position Hiring Justification form and the pre-approval emails to the appropriate department initiator (DI) or HR generalist.
    5. The HR generalist creates a fixed-term extension memo.
    6. The DI or the HR generalist submits the fixed-term extension transaction and attaches the justification form, the pre-approvals, and the extension memo. Note: If the required documents are not attached, OHR will return the transaction to the transaction initiator.
      1. If the transaction is initiated by the DI, the HR business partner is responsible for ensuring the required approval documentation has been attached.
    7. The transaction routes through the standard approval flow and then the temporary additional approvals of the dean and provost or vice president and president. Workday approval is intended to document and confirm approval that has already been obtained outside the system. Each approver in the approval path is able to approve or reject the extension, and each can delegate approval authority.

Questions

Please contact your HR recruiter with questions related to the hiring process, offers or the adjusted approval workflow. Questions about other staffing changes with budgetary impact, including fixed-term extensions, should be directed to your HR business partner.

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