It wasn't long ago that I believed there was nothing new in employee training or professional development. My inbox was filled with emails about new employee workshops and online training programs covering the same old topics. And there were phone calls from consultants, bragging about this or that traditional training program.
"Leave your personal problems at the door." There are probably some managers who still support the antiquated belief that employees can shut off personal problems like a light switch once they set foot in the workplace. But how can a worker ignore the fact that he or she has lost a home, maxed out credit cards, drained the savings account, or stopped being able to pay the electric bill?
Remember the first day you came to work? For some people, first days are overwhelming—with new rules, processes, and software programs to learn, new coworkers to meet, and myriad choices to make, from which health plan to choose to the amount of taxes you want deducted.
When listening to employees talk about their jobs, school officials may hear questions, concerns, and even fears about health care insurance. How much more will I have to contribute this year for premiums? Can I afford it? Will my coverage shrink? While the spotlight is on health care, not much is being said about trends regarding employee voluntary benefits, such as vision, supplemental life insurance, and long-term disability.
Steep budget cuts. Skyrocketing health care costs. Layoffs. Furlough programs. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, colleges and universities around the country are facing a new challenge: how to reduce the frustration, dissatisfaction, or even anger felt by employees who haven't received a pay raise in several years.
So many choices, so many decisions. Campus HR professionals face decisions about how to enhance their technology systems to streamline business processes. Purchase new software or tweak existing HR modules? Help vendors build a compatible interface for a program or design it in-house?
As a successful wood-cut artist, Sheila Pitt taught at the University of Arizona for roughly 20 years when tragedy struck. In February of 2008, the experienced horsewoman became a quadriplegic after breaking her neck in a riding accident.
But her physical condition didn't stop her from doing what she loved best: teaching and creating art. The university provided her with two assistants - one to help her demonstrate art techniques in the classroom and another to work in her home studio so she could continue researching art techniques, producing art, and exhibiting her work.
Several years ago, there were two secretaries at Jacksonville State University (Ala.) who worked in different departments. Neither got along with their boss. Their supervisors wanted to fire them but couldn't—as nothing was wrong with their job performance. The problem was simple: They just didn't like each other.
Most higher ed institutions offer a wide variety of employee programs and benefits: health fairs, faculty and staff recognitions, tuition waivers, and more.
But are the programs at your institution reflective of current employee needs? And how can human resources professionals maximize the impact of these programs? Are there routine diagnostics to perform? Or does HR simply make a tweak here, a twist there, keeping the program objectives intact?