UCR Employees Want More Clarity About Jobs, Pay and Campus Change

HR and Staff Assembly team up to offer a webinar on survey results

Jadie Lee, associate vice chancellor of human resources, talks with Janna Le Blanc, president of UCR’s Staff Assembly. Kris Lovekin

Leaders of UCR Human Resources and UCR Staff Assembly worked together to organize a webinar on Thursday, Jan. 21 to report the results of a survey about employee engagement.

This UC-wide survey was administered by an outside group to assure confidentiality. It focused on the opinions of non-represented staff members. In this case, 408 UCR staff employees responded to the survey administrated in Spring, 2015. The Webcast is available online for those who were unable to watch in person.

“Staff raised four issues – staffing/workload, performance management, career development, and communication,” said Jadie Lee, associate vice chancellor for Human Resources, and one of four people on the panel for the webinar.

Employees who responded to the survey also wanted more information about how major campus changes will impact them. “It’s not simply what the decision is, but how we implement them,” said Elizabeth Sanchez, director of labor relations at UCR. “It’s very important that we support staff through the change process,” she said.

UCR’s Human Resources operation has redesigned the performance management process to address the very issues that staff have raised, said Lee. She said employee reviews will be consistent and those evaluations will be connected to raises. “The campus will have the ability to recognize and reward performance through a salary program based on merit, rather than administering salary programs across the board,” she said.

Employees raised concerns about training and career advancement in the survey, and Lee said that the Career Tracks program will increase transparency about how staff can best prepare themselves for higher level positions.

Career Tracks standardizes job classification levels and job descriptions across campus and systemwide, she said. In addition, it aligns UC jobs with similar jobs in the external marketplace.

“The creation of clear career paths defined by job standards will allow us to focus on development activities for each job,” Lee said. “It will help support our commitment to consistent treatment of staff, as well as transparency in policy and process.”

Lee noted that the survey results showed that people feel that workloads are too high.

“We are taking a number of steps to ease the burden on staff in two ways,” Lee said. “First, by expediting the hiring process, we can fill vacant positions more quickly. Second, we are streamlining our administrative processes and thereby freeing up staff time.”

Janna Le Blanc, president of UCR’s Staff Assembly, noted that another way Staff Assembly supports staff development is through a partnership with University Extension, which provides gift certificates to UCR staff who are celebrating milestones of service.”We also provide workshops, including resume development, personal finance. We work really hard to bring improvements to staff.”

Robert Wolfer, vice president of UCR Staff Assembly, said UCR has been praised for a relatively smooth implementation of Career Tracks. Already implemented at Berkeley, Merced, the UC Office of the President, and the Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, Career Tracks will eventually be implemented across the UC system.

He also said that Organizational Excellence efforts, including brain storming and collaboration sessions, will help all UCR staff members understand campus change more thoroughly.

The survey results that showed the most positive levels of employee engagement had to do with pride about working for the University of California, and good working relationships with colleagues.

Lee said the employee engagement survey will be repeated in the future, to track results over time.

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