Behind the Scenes at UVA HR

What Does an LSP Do for You?

You'd be Pleasantly Surprised. Ask Chris LaMonda.

The UVA Local Service Provider (LSP) program is a collaborative partnership between UVA Information Technology Services (ITS) and IT professionals serving departments throughout the University. LSPs maintain active systems and access for staff and recommend IT solutions for their departments. In addition, they test new technology within their groups before ITS rolls it out to the UVA broader community. In short, they help guide the technological advancement of the University.

Chris LaMonda is a member of the LSP team that supports HR. We caught up with Chris recently to learn more about how LSPs serve employees across Grounds.

Q: How do LSPs improve employees' daily work?

We help bring new technology solutions to employees across Grounds that address their unique needs. For example, our team helped test Zoom at the University and assisted with setting up Zoom webinars for the Hoos Well team, which are now offered across Grounds. We also helped coordinate the launch of Workday and helped migrate FEAP to the Academic side and deployed mobile solutions for the whole team so they could better serve the UVA community from their offices or home.  

We helped implement the More Secure Network (MSN) at UVA Health, which facilitated HR's migration from UVA Health to Academic domains while still being able to access the UVA Health network in medical buildings. We also helped test and implement the UVA Health Alertus app for Academic staff so they could still get alerts from UVA Health on an Academic device. And we’ve provided HR staff with training in remote tools such as Zoom and LogMeIn Rescue to better support their customers during the pandemic. 

There’s no playbook for moving an entire academic enterprise online in a week. Our success to date can be attributed to the commitment and dedication of our IT teams, our pedagogical experts, and of course our faculty. Everyone has pulled together to make this the best experience possible for our students. Archie Holmes, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Q: How do you prepare yourself to serve employees at UVA?

I came to UVA in 2017 with a background in various sectors including IT, fire prevention, carpentry, hospitality, and customer service, and have come to realize that I am at my best when serving others. I try to bring my spiritual attitude to my daily life whenever possible, and as a practicing Buddhist the guiding principles of kindness and compassion dictate my interactions with my fellow beings.

My spiritual practices help me stay calm, present, and mindful of both my emotions and my customers’ state of mind. I don’t really get stressed out. When I’m learning about a new problem, I’m also learning about the person with the problem and their attitude towards the problem. I like to think of it as respect for the whole space. I see my interactions with employees as an opportunity to positively contribute to their day. I get to know my HR colleagues on a personal level, and sometimes hear their life stories while working with them. I feel joy when I can make someone’s day a little bit better, whether through a support need that is fulfilled, a joke, or just a smile at the end of our conversation.

Q: What is an example of a tough challenge your team has tackled?

During the HR integration project last fall, our team coordinated on the HR 2420 Old Ivy Road new building construction, integration/deployment of new AV and IT technologies and equipment for the building, and the actual move itself, while maintaining general IT desktop support tasks during the months of construction and three weeks of moving. This was extremely complex! Some HR groups couldn’t move until after Open Enrollment concluded, and the size of HR required a 3-phase move. We also helped coordinate system migrations and application transitions from nine different locations and computing environments into the single academic HR environment. While our team managed the technical side of this huge project, we also coordinated closely with HR Business Operations and HR Communications, to keep our customers and stakeholders informed. Employees knew in advance that we would pack up their equipment on Friday and have a basic setup ready to go on “Move-In Monday,” which greatly reduced their anxiety about continuing time-sensitive work. This showed respect for the whole space – the emotional, mental and physical needs of my HR colleagues.

Members of the LSP team led by Young Kim and supporting HR include (left to right, top row first:) Jon Colemon, Chris LaMonda, Terrie Griggs, Alan Peer, Shaun Portlock, Stacey Kenney, Mustafa Mukhtar, and Kostas Tselios

Q: How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted or changed your work?

We made a huge effort in the last two years to get HR employees on laptops with mobile solutions, and we had geared our LSP staff and systems to work remotely, so quickly moving HR to a remote working paradigm was not as difficult for us as for others when the coronavirus pandemic moved us off Grounds. Our challenges have been finding ways to stay secure while being remote and managing interactions that typically need to be done face to face.  Things take longer to accomplish remotely, which is adding workload and time to everything we do, and lots of projects are on hold. However, ITS has launched many collaboration tools like Teams/Office 365, Zoom, and authentication in DUO. The huge efforts from ITS and HR in standing up Workday has helped tremendously in minimizing the impact of these changing work environments. The IT community at large has done a fantastic job moving classes online and enabling departments to work remotely in such a short amount of time. This exemplifies the dedication and expertise of ITS and the LSPs across Grounds, and their true caring for UVA and the community as a whole.

Q: What are some takeaways you would love your UVA colleagues to know about a UVA LSP?

We are here to help and support our users, our friends and colleagues, and the UVA community. Technology can be very rewarding and very challenging. LSPs are here to make the computing environment safe, easy to use, and productive in the office or at home remotely. As you let us in to your world, you help us learn about you and offer you solutions that fit your unique needs.

These are challenging times and we have seen what the human potential is capable of during times of change. Thank you for your patience as we work with you remotely, and for acknowledging and thanking the IT folks who do things behind the scenes ­– your LSPs and ITS admins, web designers, developers, programmers, network engineers, helpdesk representatives, executive staff, and others. ­By doing so, you help make this University great, and this community a better place that thrives even in COVID times.