2002-03 Annual Report
2002-03 Annual Report
On May 14, 2002, Chancellor Ralph Cicerone gave the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Staff the following charge:
- Assess workplace conditions of staff
- Recommend action plans for projects related to staff
- Suggest implementation priorities
- Establish annual goals
- Monitor statistics related to staff demographics and workload
- Track the progress of recommendations
- Advise on a broad range of issues concerning staff management
The CACSS has taken this charge seriously with the overall goal of making UC Irvine Orange County's employer of choice. Our efforts during the 2002-03 academic year are outlined below. We end with recommendations for activities for the 2003-04 academic year.
To initiate our efforts, the committee met twice each month during the summer and then regularized our meetings to one 1.5 hour meeting each month beginning fall 2002. The committee quickly established seven subcommittees chaired by a CACSS member and with membership consisting of both CACSS and non-CACSS members. These committees are:
- Neighborhood Meetings (Mark Warner, chair)
- Communications (Susan Menning, chair)
- Community Building (Michael Chennault, chair)
- Human Resources (Gail Brooks, chair)
- Data (Marie Richman, chair)
- Annual Staff Survey (Gail Brooks, chair)
- Staff Assembly (Penny White, chair)
Chaired by Mark Warner, several CACSS members attended 11 noon-hour meetings located around the campus (Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Social Sciences and Engineering, Humanities, Arts, University Extension and Social Ecology, Administration and Student Services, Facilities Management, two with Housing – one with a Spanish language translator, and the College of Medicine) to solicit input from staff regarding workplace conditions and to identify key issues that affect staff performance and morale. Overall, anywhere from four to 30 staff attended each meeting and each was well received. In addition, the staff commented that these meetings were a useful source of information regarding timely issues on campus. We plan to annually hold three larger neighborhood meetings at different locations around the campus with all staff invited to attend.
There were several central themes regarding morale and job performance that were often repeated. These include:
- Lack of organizational information
- Complaints of lacking supervisor skills
- Career growth importance and a lack of awareness of how to develop a career at UCI
- More organized professional development opportunities
- Internal pay equity studies were not the norm
- New staff orientation to point out how each job fits into the big picture
- Faculty/Staff relations could be improved – just a "thank you" from faculty would be welcome
- Staff want to be equal partners in academic enterprises
- Staff want the ability to take university courses
- A universal calendar of events should be developed
An underlying mood was made clear: the increasing workload has begun to take its toll on what we found to be unusually high morale. Overall, staff are asked to assume more responsibility/tasks for which they are unable to provide their usual thoughtful and careful attention to detail.
As a result of these concerns, Human Resources and Communications have developed new programs that will be discussed below.
Chaired by Susan Menning and coordinated by the Communications Office, the objectives of this group were to develop a more focused and easily comprehended communications effort to keep staff informed of activities related to budget, planning, and to promote a bigger picture of what the university is all about. More specifically:
- Develop staff as informed ambassadors for UCI
- Provide for open and accurate information dissemination
- Help staff manage increasing amounts of information
Several focus groups were held and the new internal communications publication uci.brief was rolled out. This publication has received widespread staff support. Further, efforts have been made to organize and eliminate redundancy in staff communications. CACSS will continue to monitor effectiveness of staff communications.
The purpose of this committee, chaired by Michael Chennault and with members Jim Hay and Lorrie Minkel, and staff members Elaine Peters (Human Resources) and Judi Franz (School of Humanities) is to:
- Review the Staff Task Force Report with the interest of forwarding selected community-building recommendations to CACSS for implementation
- Identify and recommend practices and traditions which publicly acknowledge the service of staff campuswide
The subcommittee noted that there are already many activities currently being undertaken that contribute to community building on campus. These include the activities hosted or sponsored by Staff Assembly (e.g., Staff Appreciation Picnic, staff nights at basketball and baseball games, annual pancake breakfast, holiday dinner cruise, etc.) and other organizations on campus. In addition, comments arose during the Neighborhood meetings suggesting the campus reinstitute the Concerts in the Park series, make revisions to the staff recognition ceremony, initiate a quarterly "Read a Novel" event where staff and faculty would be encouraged to read and discuss a topical book, and better publicize the availability for staff discounts at arts and other campus events. New staff recognition events that have been instituted include the much-appreciated lunch with the Chancellor for the "Quarter Century Club" and the "Excellence in Leadership Award," both initiated through the efforts of Staff Assembly.
The group, chaired by Gail Brooks, has undertaken major activities in response to the Staff Task Force report and the input from the CACSS Neighborhood meetings.
New Employee Orientation
The New Staff Employee Orientation program was revised and implemented on July 1, 2003. Key objectives include: Convey the mission, values and culture of UCI; foster a positive, information-rich welcome experience; and provide an opportunity to meet and network with other new staff members. The orientation is held twice per month and new employees register online via the Human Resources Web site under "Development & Training." Feedback from new employees has been extremely positive.
There are video welcome messages from Chancellor Cicerone and Gail Brooks, as well as a campus virtual tour. Through an interactive exercise using the Web, employees receive information about UCI and the resources available to them. This demonstrates how employees can find the information they need as new employees. A benefits overview and presentations from Environmental Health and Safety and Campus Parking round out the day.
The next phase of development will include tools and resources supervisors can use at the department level to ensure a more complete and consistent orientation.
Since January 2003, the Exit Interview Task Force has met two to four times per month to formulate recommendations for improving the exit interview process currently being used at UCI. The task force researched best practices from other UC campuses, held focus groups with UCI managers and supervisors, invited representatives from two private companies and one campus department to make presentations on the exit interview and survey services they provide, and surveyed exiting employees about their satisfaction with the current process.
From this information, the task force formulated recommendations in a comprehensive final report entitled, "Exit Interview Task Force Report – Recommendations for Improving the Exit Interview Process." The report has recently been distributed to Gail Brooks and Kirsten Quanbeck, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, for their review.
The next steps of the task force will depend on which of its recommendations are accepted for implementation. Two of the major recommendations are that the exit interview process be outsourced and that the administration and coordination of the process be moved from OEOD to Human Resources. The task force will work on reviewing and revising the current survey to obtain better data.
Alternate Work Schedules
In response to a recommendation from the Chancellor's Task Force on the Recruitment and Retention of Staff, Human Resources researched and developed a "how to" process to guide UCI departments in implementing alternate and flexible work schedules.
This process was made available to the campus in April 2003. Along with the process, a variety of supplemental documents, including checklists for employees and supervisors, guidelines for implementing alternate work weeks or flexible schedules, examples of weekly and monthly schedules for ensuring coverage and beginning implementation, sample union notification, and sample continuation letters were also made available. The supporting and sample documents are all linked to one SNAP implementation page and can be accessed from that page for a comprehensive set of resources. Human Resources consultants are available to answer questions about the process and to assist departments with planning the implementation of alternate or flexible work schedules.
Employee Development and Training
Training and development of employees has been designed and planned primarily at the department level with the exception of core business courses. These have been coordinated centrally. The Chancellor's Task Force Implementation Plan sought to bring more visibility to training and provide greater opportunity to employees by recommending several skill and career development initiatives including leadership training for supervisors and managers. The following outlines some accomplishments to date.
A Learning Management System, scheduled for rollout in early 2004, will be the foundation for making career development a reality. It will allow all campus units delivering training to list their training in one central, Web-accessible catalog. This same system will facilitate online enrollment and encourage the creation of a learner- focused development plan that can be created and managed cooperatively between employee and manager. The system will have the capacity to deliver and track e-learning courses.
UCI LEAP funding continues to provide UCI Extension resources for campus employee professional/career development while adding two specialized study certificate program offerings to join the Administrative Management Certificate. They are the Supervision/Leadership Specialized Studies Certificate and the Information Technology Specialized Studies Certificates.
Supervision Leadership/Leadership Institute is a set of three courses that provide each participant with identified strengths and development opportunities, frame what every organization needs from its managers, and identify the skills every manager needs in fulfilling those responsibilities. These courses form the foundation of the LEAP Supervision/Leadership Specialized Studies Certificate Series to which participants add elective courses meeting needs identified in their individual development plans. The foundation course, Elements of Supervision and Assessment, includes a 360-degree feedback instrument to identify a participant's management strengths and development opportunities. This information is used to shape the selection of elective development courses.
The three LEAP specialized studies certificates in Information Technology are focused in the areas of desktop application usage, Web support, and Web design to assist staff in their technology responsibilities in various campus roles.
Other development programs provide opportunity for employees to prepare for new roles. As a result of a one-year grant, the Women's Opportunities Center offers career-counseling programs to campus employees. Here they explore/understand their current skills and interests and then create career development plans.
Six-month pilot programs such as the SkillSoft e-learning course delivery have demonstrated employee interest in alternative development venues.
Research and Graduate Studies offers certification in its Research Administration Management Program (RAMP).
Organizations such as Academic and Professional Women and Academic Business Officers Group also provide programs for employee benefit.
The Executive Vice Chancellor's Office sponsors a semi-annual Leadership Seminar featuring guest speakers on current leadership topics.
Working with campus representatives, job specifications were redesigned for both represented and non-represented positions with a focus on competencies instead of tasks. We have redesigned approximately 50 percent of the job specifications. The goal is to develop new classification specifications for all titles within the Professional and Support Staff group by Dec. 31, 2003.
Classification specifications describe a series of jobs within a job family (a group of jobs that share the same nature of work) and identify the various levels of skill and responsibility within that family. Classification specifications are tools for management planning and analysis as well as for employee career development. The use of competencies provides consistency through job families, are general enough to change with technology and time, and allow for career development between job families.
In addition, employees will be able to use the new competency based classification specification to help guide their career development. Employees can identify those competencies they already have, want to develop, or want to market. They can then look for job families that include those competencies. Employees will discover areas to either focus training or to market their competencies. For example, an employee with analysis skills will find that the following job families require that competency: programmer/analyst, administrative analyst and accountant. The employee can then determine which of these three job families best fits their interests and desires, and either find the appropriate training programs to enhance the other skills required for that job or expand their career search to include jobs in those areas.
Pay Equity Study
The objective of this study is to provide tools and resources to aid managers in addressing pay equity issues and to ensure consistency throughout the campus. This project will identify equity issues from classification or other organizational issues; provide a process to evaluate whether employees are paid based on experience, skill set and in relation to other employees in similar positions; and, provide managers with a set of principles they can use to ensure consistency within their budgetary restraints.
To date, pay equity guidelines have been developed for campus use and an electronic Web-based wizard-like program to help guide managers through the pay equity review process is being developed. The goal is to begin a pilot test of the new program late fall 2003.
With Marie Richman as chair, this group quickly established a standing campus data committee consisting of members Carol Jun, Cathy Ta and Ron Stern, and staff members Ramona Agrela (Human Resources), Sheldon Kim (Analytical Studies) and Gwendolyn Kuhns (OEOD).
This committee meets monthly and provides an overview of all campus staff data. Its goals are to develop time-dependent data to track trends and to establish an annual "State of the Staff" report. Appropriate data will be annually compiled and published on the Web in order to keep the staff accurately informed and to (in-) validate cultural myths. This data will track:
- Recruitment summary (top 10 title codes)
- Separation summary (top 10 title codes)
- Compare external versus internal hires
- Career staff and totals over 10+ years
- Numbers and pay for staff by broad job group by coordinating point
- Staff by fund source
- Demographics over 10+ years
- Staff profile (years of service, average salary, age, etc.)
- Salary expenditures as total of campus expenditures
Contextual bullet/trend analysis for each of the topics will be linked to appropriate graphs/tables.
With Gail Brooks as chair and members Candice Garretson, Meredith Lee and staff member Anita Iannucci (Center for Statistical Consulting), this committee has established a short and stable annual questionnaire that will track changes over time and whose data will be used for the "State of the Staff" annual report. We expect this questionnaire will be given to the staff every February with the "State of the Staff" report being published early in the Spring Quarter.
It should be noted that the chair of Staff Assembly (Lorrie Minkel in 2002-03; Penny White in 2003-04) is an ex-officio member of CACSS. This encourages a flow of information highlighted through CACSS about areas of staff interest or concern that Staff Assembly can use to help focus its activities. Because Staff Assembly is an organization to which all staff of the university are members, this allows staff members in essence to directly help address these interests or concerns themselves. Staff Assembly works with many individual departments on campus to help disseminate information of general interest to staff and to support campus staff. In 2002-03, for example, Staff Assembly hosted two Executive Vice Chancellor forums on the "State of the Budget," a career development workshop, and awarded 21 educational scholarships of up to $300 each to staff.
Proposed Activities for 2003-04
- Hold quarterly Neighborhood meetings
- Roll out the Staff Data Web page
- Distribute and evaluate the Annual Staff Survey
- Prepare the first annual "State of the Staff" report based on the data and survey
- Promote campuswide salary equity studies
- Determine tactics to better train staff/faculty in supervisory roles. Determine tactics to identify and handle the most dissatisfied staff group on campus
- Begin succession planning; determine future needs for key staff positions and provide the staff opportunities to prepare themselves to fill these future positions
- Continue to hold monthly CACSS meetings to monitor staff activity
On June 6, 2003, CACSS co-chairs Mark Warner and Ron Stern gave a well-received presentation to the Council of UC Staff Assemblies regarding the activities of CACSS. Representatives from other UC campuses commented that they would recommend to their administration to create a similar committee.
CACSS members have found their involvement in the committee to be a worthwhile and rewarding experience.
Assistant Vice Chancellor
Research and Graduate Studies
School of Physical Sciences