Hiring controls and working from home continue as the norm


Pitt’s hiring freeze earlier this year was never really a freeze, according to David DeJong, vice chancellor for Human Resources.

“Hiring controls remain in place,” DeJong said this week. “If there are mission critical positions to be filled, … those requests come into HR and they require the approval of the senior vice chancellor in the area — same protocols as before.”

Even with more than 450 people taking the staff early retirement package (see related story) and leaving Pitt at the end of September, there hasn’t been a surge in requests for new hires, he said.

Part of the reason might be because 156 of those who took early retirement have already come back to Pitt as All Temps to complete specific projects. For instance, in HR, several people working on the Oracle Cloud project that is set to debut in January took retirement, but their expertise was needed at this late date in the project.

DeJong said the Office of the Chief Financial Officer is currently looking at the breakdown of where the retirees worked to see if the departures have left any big gaps.

Working from home, still

With the Oakland campus moving from Elevated to Guarded risk posture, DeJong said the message about working from home remains the same.

“For all whose jobs are amenable to at-home work, they are expected to continue that way,” he said. That message was really stressed to supervisors, “because we didn't want supervisors to say, ‘OK, now you have to start coming back to work.’”

This is true on the regional campuses too, particularly Johnstown and Bradford, which both moved to the Elevated risk status in the past two weeks.

If a supervisor is pressuring someone to come back, who doesn't need to come back, “we should hear about it in HR,” DeJong said. His office then would have a discussion with the supervisor, to see what the needs are. “But if we agree that the person didn't have to be here, then we would maintain that stance.”

Working from home will continue as the preferred operating stance into the spring semester, he said. Pitt has already announced that Flex@Pitt will continue in the spring, which allows faculty members and students to decide whether they want to be in the classroom or remote as conditions allow.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at suejones@pitt.edu or 724-244-4042.


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