Carnegie Mellon University
**Please note, the approval guidelines have been updated effective June 2, 2021

Staff Hiring Freeze Approval Workflow

These adjusted approval guidelines for staff hires take effect March 26, 2020 and will remain in effect until further notice. Please note, the approval guidelines have been updated effective June 2, 2021. 

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.  

These guidelines apply to hiring of all new and vacant Carnegie Mellon University staff positions, including all part-time, full-time, fixed-term staff positions and extensions of fixed-term staff positions. Positions in the Recent CMU Graduates and Non-CMU Students job family are also 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. For faculty related questions, please contact the Vice Provost for Faculty. 

Promotions, transfers, reclassifications, and additional assignments are not covered by these guidelines, but they are subject to close review and approval 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.

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

Please note that you no longer need to obtain written pre-approval. 

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 [pdf].

The justification must thoroughly explain the following: 

  • Funding source and duration of funding source
  • How the position is critical to CMU’s safety, compliance, core values or mission
  • Why filling the position should not be postponed
  • 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 Workday, and the justification form must be attached to the request. Therefore, a request that is not in line with the current climate of suspended operations and financial due diligence should not reach the VP/dean approval level.

Fixed term extensions and extensions to existing TES placements in a department will require justification and additional approval. Fixed-term positions for recent CMU graduates cannot be extended beyond the four-month maximum duration. 

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.
    1. For both academic and administrative units, the department will complete the Staff Position Hiring Justification Form [pdf]
  3. The Staff Position Hiring Justification Form is sent to the appropriate department initiator (DI) or HR generalist. The DI or HR generalist submits the Position Hiring Request form in Workday attaching the justification form. Note: If the justification form is not attached to the request, OHR will return the request to the transaction initiator.
  4. OHR creates the position and routes it for approval which includes the recruiter, the supervisor, next-level supervisor, financial approver, plus 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 deny the request, and each can delegate approval authority.
    1. If a position is approved, the HR recruiter reaches out to the hiring manager to begin the recruitment process.
    2. If the position is not approved via the denied or send back functionality, the HR recruiter will discuss with the hiring manager and/or approver to make corrections or cancel the requisition entirely. 

Before submitting a request, the hiring department will obtain necessary internal approvals (as needed).

  1. For research funded positions (fully funded research dollars, not split research funds and budgeted dollars), a staff position hiring justification form is no longer required.
  2. The DI or HR generalist submits the Position Hiring Request form in Workday and must indicate in the comment section the position is Research Funded.
  3. OHR creates the position including the comment that the position is Research Funded. This comment will be visible to all approvers in the workflow. OHR will route the research-funded position for approval, which includes the recruiter, supervisor, next-level supervisor, financial approver, plus 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 deny the request, and each can delegate approval authority.
  4. If a position is approved, the HR recruiter reaches out to the hiring manager to begin the recruitment process.

If a job offer exceeds the budgeted amount that was initially approved during the job requisition process, no offers (verbal or in writing) are to be extended until the offer is approved by the additional approvers. Your recruiter will assist with this approval (either VP/President or Dean/Provost approval) outside of Workday, via email.

  1. The HR recruiter generates the offer letter.
  2. The HR recruiter e-mails the offer letter to VP/President or Dean/Provost approval.  
  3. If the offer is approved, the HR recruiter will route the offer letter in Workday through the standard approval workflow (supervisor, next-level supervisor and finance approver). 
    1. To adhere to the compensation guidelines, additional approvals may be added if a salary exceeds certain thresholds.
  4. If the offer is not approved, the HR recruiter will notify the hiring manager and discuss next steps.

Before submitting a fixed-term extension for a non-research funded staff position, the supervisor 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, as necessary.
  3. Before a fixed-term extension transaction is initiated, the supervisor will complete the Staff Position Hiring Justification Form [pdf] and email the form to the appropriate department initiator (DI) or HR generalist.
  4. The HR generalist creates a fixed-term extension offer letter using OHR approved templates. 
  5. The DI or the HR generalist submits the fixed-term extension transaction in Workday and attaches the justification form and the extension letter. 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.
  6. The transaction routes through the standard approval flow 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 extension, and each can delegate approval authority. Note: The extension letter should not be shared with the employee until all approvers in the approval flow have approved the transaction.

For research funded positions (fully funded research dollars, not split research funds and budgeted dollars), a staff position hiring justification form is no longer required for fixed term extensions. Before submitting a request, the hiring department will obtain necessary internal approvals (as needed):

  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, as necessary
  3. Before a fixed-term extension transaction is initiated, the HR generalist creates a fixed-term extension offer letter using OHR approved templates.
  4. The DI or the HR generalist submits the fixed-term extension transaction in Workday and attaches the extension letter. 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 memo has been attached.
  5. The transaction routes through the standard approval flow 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 extension, and each can delegate approval authority. Note: The extension letter should not be shared with the employee until all approvers in the approval flow have approved the transaction.