Dear UT System Employees

Category: Features

Brian Dickens
Brian Dickens,
Chief Human Resources Officer

Greetings from UT System Human Resources!

As we move “Together, Forward” in preparation of our return to workplace beginning June 1, 2021, we are excited to present this issue as an additional resource to help navigate a safe and productive process for returning to our offices and in-person interactions. It is critical that we emphasize our intent to establish a “new normal” inclusive of increased flexible work schedules and alternative work arrangements to support both our employees and the needs of the University of Tennessee.

Employees and supervisors are encouraged to be flexible, accountable and reasonable in making these determinations. System HR will support supervisors and employees with resources for employees to decide on the most effective work place coverage strategy through a newly established website. We will continue to improve our processes that support our employees during the new normal and are optimistic about the future world of work at UT.

In August 2020, the University of Tennessee System embarked on an effort to identify and develop systemwide shared values. The process included evaluating existing values at each campus, surveying UT employees and conducting more than 13 focus group sessions with representatives including chancellors and cabinets, faculty, staff, students and volunteer leaders across the system. These values will guide the collective, strategic effort to ensure this is the greatest decade in the history of the University. They are also intended to shape culture across the system and build purpose, improve team cohesion and create a sense of shared commitment in the workplace. The values will be incorporated into the performance review process and will be integral to determining the President’s Awards in the future. We will share more about the Be One UT values later in this issue.

Lastly, as we continue our quest towards becoming the “employer of choice” for Tennesseans, as well as establishing this as the greatest decade in the history of UT, we have added Paid Parental Leave (effective July 1, 2021) to our already rich faculty and staff benefit offerings. System HR continues to reimagine itself, and we continue to explore ways to enhance our employee value proposition and improve the overall experience for our workforce across the system. With optimistic anticipation we are excited about our way forward together. I hope you enjoy this issue of For Your Benefit.

— Brian K. Dickens