Phase 2 Work Team Draft Recommendations, May 15, 2012

A message from the Human Resources Design Project team about the Phase 2 recommendations


Employee Development

Phase 2 Work Team draft recommendations translated into TibetanHmong, and Spanish language

The Employee Development team emphasizes the need for shared commitment and clear expectations related to employee development—by employees, supervisors, and university leadership. This commitment should be supported through consistent policies, guidelines, and practices as well as more robust, consistent communication and leadership support. Based on input from the campus forums, the team specifically emphasizes the importance of supervisor training and proposes that all supervisors be required to take introductory supervisory training. More broadly, the team also recommends that the university offer some type of employee tuition assistance benefit in addition to existing departmental training support. As a benefit, it would be available to all eligible employees and not dependent upon individual department resources or supervisor discretion, provided that work responsibilities could still be fulfilled. The team acknowledges the importance of supporting employee development and the team proposes creating some type of central funding to support employee development in divisions/departments with less financial resources. The team recognized the existing training resources in the Office of Human Resource Development (OHRD) and in other divisions. The team proposes expanding OHRD’s existing resources for developing curriculum, assisting with development plans, and supporting mentorship and onboarding programs. The team also recommends an investment in tools and technology to support the tracking, communication, and delivery of employee training and development.
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Performance Management

The Performance Management team emphasizes that the university has a commitment to provide an environment where employees can flourish. The team sees the supervisor/employee relationship as a key component to managing and developing employee performance. They concluded that performance management should not be viewed as a one-time annual exercise, but rather a continual process that occurs throughout the year. The team recommends that every UW–Madison supervisor (including faculty) and employee, regardless of employee category, participates in a performance evaluation process that involves setting goals and discussing and receiving performance feedback. From an infrastructure perspective, the work team recommends developing a central performance management toolkit that can be adapted to the needs of different units. The toolkit would be supplemented with comprehensive performance management training, with particular focus on training managers and supervisors. Challenges with consistency, transparency, and equity would be addressed through the creation of a standard discipline/appeals process that applies across employee categories. Moreover, the team emphasizes that improving the performance management process across the campus will be a significant culture shift. For a new approach to be widely adopted and accepted at UW–Madison, it will need support from campus leadership, governance groups, and other stakeholders.
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Transition and Succession

The Transition and Succession team developed recommendations addressing employees’ transitions both during their careers and at the end of employment. The work team recommends that UW prioritize succession planning through more data-driven organizational and strategic workforce planning and through investing in training and development. The team recognizes the importance of job security and aimed to make recommendations that maintain or increase job security while also meeting the other objectives of the project. The team proposes a simplified set of appointment types—permanent, project, limited-term appointment, and fixed-term instructional appointments. All new permanent appointments, including promotions and transfers, would have minimum probation periods. Current layoff policies differ between academic and classified staff. The team recommends, however, that layoff policies and processes be as consistent as possible across employee categories. The team proposes a minimum 30-day notice period for all layoffs, a central mechanism to appeal layoffs, and career assistance services available to staff who have been laid off. The team recognizes seniority as a consideration for layoffs, but prioritizes consideration of the operating needs of the unit. When separation is related to performance, the team recommends a more consistent process across employee categories that provides a clear notification to the employee of the issue and allows a minimum 3-month opportunity for improvement. Finally, the team proposed enhancing retirement planning through greater employee education and through fostering honest dialogue about retirement plans between managers and employees
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Workplace Flexibility

The Workplace Flexibility team suggests that, while some current policies exist to support workplace flexibility, the use of flexibility on campus should be expanded. The team identifies several approaches to promoting flexibility for employees in the areas of scheduling, education/training, appointment/job flexibilities, wellness, social events, and telecommuting. The scheduling options suggest alternative ways for employees to coordinate their work commitments in order to balance work and personal activities and participate in campus life. The education/training options specifically recommend scheduling flexibility for employees to pursue personal and professional development. The appointment options, such as phased retirement, job sharing/overlap, reduced appointments, or unpaid leave, seek to facilitate job transitions and succession or to allow employees to balance their work and personal commitments. The work team recognizes that existing policies already allow many types of workplace flexibility, but based on input received during the campus forums, these flexibilities are not used as broadly or consistently as possible. While operational needs in different departments/divisions may limit workplace flexibility for some employees, the work team suggests that greater education and thoughtful dialogue between supervisors/managers and employees could promote the use of workplace flexibility. In addition, the team also recommends instituting an oversight panel to allow employees to appeal manager/supervisor decisions regarding the type and scope of flexibility available for a particular position
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