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General HR

OneHR: A New Vision and Plan To Meet HR Challenges at NC State

Tim Danielson

Last month, I marked my one-year anniversary as the associate vice chancellor for human resources at NC State. One of my goals during my first year was to establish a plan that unites NC State’s HR professionals to meet the HR-related challenges our university faces. 

These challenges require us to have a strong strategic plan with bold goals and a vision for how functions will operate. At the university level, we have that plan and those goals formulated in Wolfpack 2030: Powering the Extraordinary, NC State’s strategic plan. Within the HR community, we’ve established OneHR, an operating model that calls for our community to partner innovatively to solve critical HR issues. Together, this plan and model will help us navigate the path ahead.

The Challenges

Like most employers in the United States, NC State faces HR challenges that are large, evolving, complex, and judging from the last three years, unpredictable. The challenges include the following:

  • Recruiting employees. In July 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the unemployment rate in North Carolina was at 3.4%, which labor market experts regard as full employment. The rate increased to 3.9% in December 2022. While the rate indicates a slight cooling of the labor market, a bureau report showed that at the end of 2022, there were 1.7 job openings available in this country for every available worker. In higher education, an industry that traditionally pays less than private-sector employers, this presents a challenge for institutions such as NC State that need to recruit talented employees who can continue our record of excellence.
  • Retaining employees. The College and University Professionals Association for Human Resources conducts an annual survey of higher education employment in the U.S. In July 2022, CUPA-HR released the results of its most recent survey, which indicated 57.2% of higher education professionals are at least somewhat likely to seek work elsewhere in the next year. 
  • Flexible and remote work. Companies like Twitter and Goldman Sachs have insisted employees return to in-office work. Google has instituted a hybrid (part in office, part remote) arrangement, while others are marketing themselves as fully remote operations. No one knows what the future of work will look like, which presents unique challenges. My colleague Ursula Hairston, assistant vice chancellor for HR Strategy, wrote an excellent piece on this topic in the November 2022 Howl You Know.


OneHR has the following characteristics:

  • An HR community that works together to serve the faculty and staff of NC State.
  • Idea generation that focuses on raising the effectiveness of HR.
  • Business processes based upon best practices and greater standardization.
  • Innovative partnerships that are based on trust and expand the breadth and depth of HR expertise.

I’m proud to say HR professionals across the university have embraced those characteristics and are partnering to meet the challenges our university faces. Here are some of our early successes: 

  • HR professionals across the institution have identified a variety of tactics to support our efforts to recruit and retain the employees we need.  
  • HR professionals are developing an employee value proposition that will help current and prospective employees see what is distinctive, rewarding and great about working at NC State.  
  • A work group is making plans to formalize career paths and counseling to help staff  have a full and enriching career at the university.  
  • Institutional leaders now have access to dashboards with rich HR data to help them make decisions with HR impact.  
  • Through a partnership with the Office of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity, the HR community is exploring opportunities to enhance belongingness among our faculty and staff. 


NC State has an excellent strategic plan and a bold set of goals. In HR, we have an operating model based on innovative and trusting partnerships, broad idea generation and business processes based on best practice and greater standardization. Both the strategic plan and our operating model require that the HR community operate as OneHR.   

Tim Danielson

Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources