Monday, June 17, 2013

The web form to collect information for the second stage of the Staff Life Cycle is now closed.

The coordinators of the Staff Life Cycle project, Terry McMahon, Dean of Science, and Bruce Mitchell, interim Associate Provost, Human Resources, and the UWSA  thank you for your participation in providing feedback regarding: recruitment, career path & skills development, the USG classification system and our compensation system.

Bruce, Terry Carlos Mendes, President, and Gail Spencer, Executive Manager, of the Staff Association, and Amanda McKenzie, Executive Assistant to the Associate Provost, Resources are working on including  your web form feedback into a final document.

 A summary of the main messages and recommendations from the first stage  are provided below. The bolded text indicates information that was most frequently reported in each area.

1. How, most appropriately, to attract the best candidates to careers at uWaterloo

What works well   

  • Staff get satisfaction in contributing to the education of students   
  • uWaterloo is recognized as a good place to work and a respected employer
  • Pension Pan                                                                      
  •  Flex time and the opportunity to work from home (when feasible)  
  •  Leaves from work (e.g., study leave, compassion leave or emergency leave)            
  •  Coordination of benefits

Enhance brand– make uWaterloo identity more visible by increased promotion

  • Promote positive features of working at uWaterloo              
  •  Respect staff the same way as faculty and students are respected       
  •  Seek recognition through an employer recognition award         
  •  Market uWaterloo as an employer to students (regular and coop)

Attract candidates           

  • Provide competitive salary and benefits       
  • Work/life balance should be part of our culture    
  • Offer management compensation and allowances to find better ways to reward good performance                  
  •   Encourage health, fitness and nutrition as a priority for staff            
  • Improve parking locations and reduce the cost                              
  • Highlight job and organizational stability                                      
  •  Create a position to assist new staff with relocation, housing and/or childcare (like WatPort)

“The supported culture that faculty are more important than staff needs to be investigated. All UW members participate toward UW’s success.”

Hiring and recruitment process

  • Develop clear and simplified hiring practices                
  • Create more career path positions and provide guidance to departments  wanting to implement them                                                      
  • Improve on-boarding and staff orientation - make sessions mandatory  
  • Use clear and consistent job descriptions            
  • Provide a professional sign-on or “total compensation” package for new employees    
  • Give interview and feedback training to hiring managers                     
  • Promote uWaterloo with a “potential employer” webpage and advertise on its LinkedIn page

Applying for a job (myHRInfo)

  • Modify the myHRInfo system to be intuitive and easier to navigate        
  • Improve job search function so finding job postings is not so difficult         
  • Make the application process shorter, straightforward and clear         
  • When appropriate use “degree preferred or equivalent work experience” Use generic job descriptions which are linked with career progression    
  • Set realistic timelines and expectations with job postings and provide better communication to applicants - extended job postings leave everyone wondering what the status of the position is.                       
  • Improve the myHRInfo systems reliability when uploading a resume or CV  
  • Postings should include: Department/unit name , job range, a link to the USG scales and the full compensation package

HR needs to take a customer service approach

  •  Provide timely service to avoid losing good candidates                     
  • Ensure HR procedures and guidelines are understood across campus and applied       consistently                                                                     
  • Use professional external recruiting services                                       
  • HR representative should spend some time in each unit                   

Contract, Contingent Upon Funding & Temporary Authorization

  • Create guidelines and policies for contract and contingent upon funding staff 
  •  Contract time should count as uWaterloo employee if hired as USG staff, including “buy-back” into pension if feasible                                     
  • Provide opportunity to participate in training and development opportunities                                                                           
  • Contract staff should meet with HR when hired and attend the orientation for new employees                                                                        
  • HR should review the position with new staff to determine if further training is needed to do the job (e.g., FORE, PCard) 
  • Contingent on Funding Staff should have internal status after the project funding expires
  • Provide information about the future of a position and the potential for it to become permanent

Better benefits

  •  Cover 100% tuition for dependents and spouses                               
  • Allow holidays to be taken before working for one year                      
  • Make payroll deposits bi-weekly and be able to be split between accounts, if needed                                                   
  • Add vision care & flexible benefits                                                    
  • Increase the scope of negotiation for the starting salary and amount of vacation

2. How to enhance arrangements for staff to develop a career path, with particular attention to helping staff develop new skills for new times, and to support managers as coaches and mentors

What works

Staff appreciate the Skills for the Electronic Workplace sessions, OHD courses, lunch & learns and the Staff Conference 

Exposure to opportunities for career growth 

  • Empower staff to seek out new opportunities    
  •  Improve management of succession planning, utilizing uWaterloo’s talent pool                                                            
  • Offer networking opportunities for all staff such as meetings with others in “like” roles across campus to share experiences and insights                    
  • Encourage staff and managers to openly dialogue outside of respective areas to suggest suitable incumbents for open positions                  
  • Pursue inter-institutional secondments to provide enrichment opportunities

Create opportunities for staff development

  • Implement mentoring opportunities for all levels of staff                
  • Promote career path planning with clear expectations of the training, development and skills required                               
  • Include all uWaterloo courses and workshops as part of the tuition benefit Standardize financial support and release time for training (internal and external)                                                                                   
  • Provide better support for staff facing managerial issues                         
  • Create “training roles” for staff to rotate through various departments to help breakdown silos                                                                  
  • Provide specialized training on campus for “like” positions across the University     
  •  Encourage self-directed work time focusing on things that advance uWaterloo and its strategic priorities

“Word of mouth is important. If uWaterloo employees are happy, then the best candidates will come. Many of the successes seen on the Daily Bulletin or local news sources highlight students and faculty. There is a need to highlight the successes of our staff both on and off campus.”

Create opportunities for managers to develop

  • Develop a system for training managers
  • Encourage more mentoring and coaching from managers                     
  • Managers need the opportunity to interact with each other to share knowledge and experiences                                                      Consider the 70/20/10 option for learning and improvement- 70% doing your job, 20% supervisor interaction, 10% development                          
  • Allow more than 35 hours a year for training and development
  • Position descriptions for managers should include time and attention for mentoring/coaching

3. How to improve the USG classification system

HAY system limitations           

  • Ensure USG levels are consistent and transparent across campus to achieve equity                                                                             
  • Provide incentive for long-term employees who are at or above the job valuation level
  •  Create titles that correspond to USG grades (e.g., USG 9-11 Managers, USG 12-14 Directors, USG 15-17 Senior Directors etc.)                  
  • Explore options other than the HAY system
  • Managing coop students should have value when applying for management positions                                                                                    
  • Too many USG scales and overlap, and the job min., job val. and job max. ratings are confusing                                                
  • Ensure current system keeps up with industry scales

Job evaluation limitations

  • Inconsistent reviews of job value across campus                                  
  • USG reclassifications take too long 
  •  Managers are pressured to reduce performance grades, causing inconsistencies across campus                                                     
  • Clarify the link between USG level and compensation - the current formula is unclear 
  • Review of job descriptions and USG levels should be more frequent - perhaps every 3 years

Performance evaluations

  • Performance evaluations should be consistent across campus        
  • Performance evaluations should be based on goals and objectives when possible     
  • Recommend 360 degree performance reviews
  • Managers should encourage professional development                    
  • Coaching and mentoring should be on-going and not a once a year event  
  • Evaluations should happen every other year if there has not been any change to the job description or any observed performance issue    
  • Recommend removing the link between performance evaluation and pay
  • Propose that career planning discussions be separate from the performance appraisal

“There is the fear of losing a good employee … which overrides the desire to help strong employees use their skills and abilities to the greater benefit of the institution.”

4. How to improve the overall compensation system.

  • Reward outstanding performance of staff
  • Improve capacity to address under performers                                
  • Allow internal staff to negotiate salary just like external candidates     
  • Give employees options to choose what benefits fit their lifestyle         
  • Examine ways to improve compensation not directly tied to salary (e.g., more vacation, more training – it’s not just about pay, staff realize budget constraints)  
  • Replace merit with Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), plus incentives
  • Provide incentives for staff who have ideas that save money or improve efficiencies  
  • Address unpaid overtime – why is this allowed/condoned                    
  • Introduce a centrally maintained system for tracking overtime, training and absences   
  • Permit a compressed work week for individuals working additional hours   
  • Provide a professional development allowance (for courses, books, equipment or training)                                                               
  • Retain the early pension option                                                  
  • Increase the amount of counselling services for staff

“…some of the simple and fun events that managers were able to squeeze into a budget in the past have gone to the wayside in these times of restraint.  These events brought people together as a team, helped build relationships, gave opportunities for awareness of what someone else’s role in the department involves, and felt like a modest reward or recognition for hard work.”

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