Vanderbilt University’s People, Culture and Belonging division unveils transformative updates

Aerial campus image

Since its inception in December 2023, Vanderbilt University’s People, Culture and Belonging division has worked to enhance the staff experience and foster innovation. Today, PCB announces a series of updates aimed at revolutionizing operational efficiency and elevating the employee experience, solidifying the university’s commitment to its core values: belonging, self-direction, growth and collaboration. 

Enhancing Employee Experience 

PCB has launched a reimagined onboarding experience, aptly named the Vanderbilt Voyage. The experience is inspired by the concept of “Moments that Matter.”  Additionally, the Curious Bar, powered by an innovative chatbot, offers personalized support and a collaborative space for continuous learning. Employees are encouraged to join this summer’s activities at the Sarratt Promenade, where attendees can enjoy free ice cream every Wednesday in June (except for Juneteenth on June 19). 

Energizing Engagement 

To further engage the community, PCB has launched Illuminate, a digital magazine designed to provide staff with practical news and insights. This monthly publication aims to help staff learn, grow and thrive at Vanderbilt and beyond. Employees can sign up to receive Illuminate on the last Wednesday of every month. 

Forging our Future—Strategic Plan 

Inspired by a diverse range of feedback, insightful data and industry benchmarking, and deeply rooted in the values of belonging, self-direction, growth and collaboration, PCB has developed an ambitious strategic plan for the next 48 months, highlighting five transformative initiatives: 

  1. Project Polaris (Job Architecture): Clearly defines roles, skills and career paths, offering a transparent road map for career development. 
  2. Futures Learning Hub: Provides personalized learning resources and experiences for professional growth. 
  3. Talent Marketplace: Matches staff skills with internal opportunities, facilitating career mobility. 
  4. Performance Management System: Ensures continuous feedback and development. 
  5. Staff Ventures: Encourages staff to propose commercially viable ideas, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Unveiling the COE Model: Transformative Features and Positive Impact 

To enhance operational efficiency and revolutionize the employee experience, PCB is transitioning to a center of expertise model. This approach focuses on harnessing specialized expertise, fostering innovation and driving efficiency across the university, working toward significant improvements throughout the employee lifecycle. This model will include a number of changes, including: 

  • People Experience: Modernizes data- and AI-driven recruitment and talent acquisition through a strategic partnership with a leading global talent acquisition partner. 
  • Equity & Engagement: Implements strategies for inclusivity and a welcoming environment. 
  • Health, Well-Being and Belonging: Strengthens staff health, well-being and belonging, guided by the Surgeon General’s Five Essentials for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being. 
  • Futures Learning Hub (coming soon): Learning marketplace that offers more than 46,000 online courses in more than 50 languages. 
  • Strategy & Operations Innovation: Establishes measurable practices to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and employee experiences. 

Embarking on the Next Frontier 

“The university is leading the transformation of the employee experience, ensuring that every member of the community can thrive,” said Sydney Savion, vice chancellor for people, culture and belonging. “These updates mark a significant milestone in Vanderbilt’s journey toward further growing an inspiring and inclusive workplace. 

“As Vanderbilt University continues to evolve, these updates will bolster operational efficiency and elevate the employee experience, laying a strong foundation to democratize innovation, access and opportunity for all,” she said.  

Additional updates on PCB efforts will be shared with the campus community.